Thanks for reading everyone! We're having some difficulties with 16 month old DD right now with eating, and I'm not sure where to start!!!! Right from day 1 we struggled with nursing. She had a bad round of GERD that made it painful and uncomfortable, we never got a good latch, and she preferred the bottle by three weeks. By 4 months she had weaned herself and has never looked back. To make things more complicated, because of the GERD, we had to give her yucky tasting medicine for the first 9 months of her life -which the only way we could get in her was via spoon. Hind sight is 20/20 but now I realize how stupid that was because she associates spoon with something yucky that she's forced to take. SO needless to say starting solids was difficult and she has always preferred finger foods that she can manipulate herself rather than eating via spoon.
So NOW that she's 16 months, she still loooooves her bottle. She'll honestly starve herself throughout the day, until she can have her bottle (which is nap time and bedtime) when she'll guzzle down 8-9 ounces in one sitting. This is not a pickiness issue, because she eats everything (peas, carrrots, hummus, meat, pasta, etc etc) but this is when she's willing to eat, which is usually one day a week. She'll pick here and there and you can get food in her by chasing her around as she's playing and popping things in her mouth as she's distracted, but surely this isn't setting up good eating habits? And it happens all day everyday and I never even know how much she's really taking in.
I've read "How to get your child to eat, but not too much" which stresses family meals, scheduled eating, and just relaxing in general about how and what the kid eats, but I feel like we could still be doing something different. Why doesn't she associate real food with meals? Why will she only sit in a high chair for 3 seconds before saying "all done" and gettting down, although I KNOW she's starving? Should I be weaning her off the bottle because she's filling up with milk, but how do I do that? I don't want to just make the bottle disappear, I don't believe in that kind of approach.
I'm also struggling with timing. How long does your toddler go between meals/snacks? DD get's up at 8:00, I make a breakfast of oatmeal, or eggs and toast, fruit salad, whatever around 8:30. She eats 2 bites and then wants to get down. I then pack a bunch of snacks (sliced ham, cheese, fruit, crackers) in the diaper bag and we head out for the morning. I'll usually get her to eat some of this stuff in the car on the way home around 11:00 if she hasn't had some before then) We arrive home at 11:30 and she's exhasuted so I have no time to make her lunch, so I make her a bottle and she takes a nap. Here's issue number 1...should I try to get home 1/2 an hr earlier? do I make the bottle only half the amount so when she wakes up she's hungry for lunch? But she wont go to sleep if she's hungry...so then because she's had 9 ounces of milk, she isn't hungry again until 3:30 when I'll attempt to feed her again, two bites later she's back to running around. BY 5:00 I have to start the tub and bedtime routine so when do I give her dinner? I offer her food at 3:30 and 4:30? And then when she doesn't eat, she gets a thickened feed bottle around 5:30 and another regular bottle at 6:30/7:00 on her way to bed. And I don't wanna feed her after her tub, because it makes SUCH a mess, I like to do that before.
AAAHHH, I'm so frustrated, you all see where I'm going with this. Any suggestions would be MUCH appreciated! I'd love to know how your toddler's eat, or don't eat. What's your eating schedule? thanks!