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My 20 month old won't eat.

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#1 Arial


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Posted 15 February 2014 - 07:47 PM

Emmett has always been on the lighter side, but meal times at the moment are becoming a massive power play. He won't eat more than a few mouthfuls and at at nearly 21 months is 11 kilos. He wakes up overnight I suspect because he is hungry. I don't know what to do. I try being firm, pretending I don't care, making him sit, bargaining, Offering other food. Nothing. Works!!!!!
I am beyond frustrated and a bit stressed about his nutrition. The even more frustrating thing is according to his grandparents he is a fantastic eater with them. Food they give him he spits out at me. I make stuff I know he loves, like tonight it was pasta that he loves. I have been here for over an hour for 5 mouthfuls. 5!! He is such a lovely boy but this is so frustrating. Especially considering he will be up at 2 for a bottle cause he didn't eat his bloody dinner!!!
Does anyone have any suggestions? I am (as you can probably hear) very much over it.
It doesn't help that I am pregnant, cooking makes me vomit, exhausted and hubby is away with work.
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#2 Daybreak


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Posted 15 February 2014 - 08:00 PM

As a non-parent, I can't offer much, but I do know my niece's dietician (niece has a protein processing disorder) told SIL not to make food a battlefield because you can't win. You can force food into their mouths, but you can't make them swallow!
Can you offer him a glass of milk before bed (well away from dinner time) to keep him full through the night?
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#3 Tigridia


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Posted 15 February 2014 - 09:26 PM

Our main issue is with DD being slow and mucking around at dinner time (she is bad at other meals but worst at dinner). I now set an oven timer if she is mucking around too much and when the timer goes off she gets down and no more dinner. She is not a fan of that and it's only happened a few times since.

I've had a few friends with kids who are still having overnight milk at nearly 2 (or even after 2) and they are all poor eaters. I know you probably worry about him not getting enough calories but can you just give milk before bed (and in the morning if you wish, we do a cup morning and night still) and just give water overnight. It's likely the fact he knows he is going to get milk if he wakes up hungry is reinforcing the bad dinner habits.

My only other suggestion (which you may have already tried) is to get him involved in the cooking. DD is much more willing to try meals if she has helped cook them. She loves cooking and is happy to help make all sorts of things. She often helps make our dinner too (we don't always eat the same meals) and will ask to try it and quite often discovers something she likes. In general she is a good eater so I don't have the issues you do, but we still have mealtime battles. I think it's a power struggle thing at that age. she will often refuse to eat something she loves just because she can.

I usually just try to make sure she has eaten at least something and then tell her she can stop eating if she wants. If you stop fighting them they often start eating of their own accord. Dinner times can suck though, tired toddlers are not fun!
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#4 ~AnA~


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Posted 15 February 2014 - 10:36 PM

DD is about 11kgs and is 21 months old. She's always been small though, but I have the same issue as you.

I find giving some milk before bed helps. She still sometimes wakes in the very early morning but usually goes back to sleep. Sometimes we have give her milk though.

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#5 Arial


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Posted 15 February 2014 - 11:53 PM

Thanks for the reassurance all. It is great to hear we are not alone. All his little friends are such good eaters I feel like I am doing something wrong when he won't eat! Puggie I find that he tends to get so distracted by the tv he doesn't eat anything, but will let me feed him. He does eat better when we eat as a family. So I guess we probably need to get back in the habit of eating super early and eating with him. He still has a bottle at bed time. I think I will only offer water over night to see how that goes. Thank you.
He is actually quite tall for his age but just very skinny!
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