My 2 year old won't feed himself - Mothering Forums

My 2 year old won't feed himself

crunchymamatobe's Avatar crunchymamatobe (TS)
09:18 AM Liked: 20
#1 of 12
01-07-2009 | Posts: 1,565
Joined: Jul 2004
I posted about this a few months back in this thread, but since then, DS has gotten even more reluctant to feed himself.

He's 26 months now. Starting around 20/21 months, he was hesitant to feed himself, either with his fingers or a spoon/fork, both of which he'd previously been adamant about doing himself. I kept thinking, "It's a phase, he'll grow out of it." But six months on, he very very rarely feeds himself. He absolutely won't use a fork, even if I 'pre-load' it. He will occasionally use a spoon only if it's to eat his favorite treat, a baby-food-type pureed fruit. He will eat a select few foods with his fingers: individual peas, cookies if he has them, and bananas.

His favorite foods are toast and pasta, but he will work himself into a hysterical state rather than pick up the piece of toast himself. He insists, "Mama do it!" over and over. My DP 'played chicken' with him at breakfast when I was sleeping in last weekend, encouraging DS to eat his own toast. But apparently DS just sat at the table and whimpered, "Papa do it" for 30 minutes. We had pasta for dinner last night, shapes that he chose, but he would not eat anything unless I fed him.

He eats lunch at day care, where they also feed him. He's the only kid in his age group that doesn't feed himself. Unless they are having fish & chips, in which case he will eat the chips.

I am sort of worried that this is a sensory issue - he generally freaks out if he gets crumbs or jam on his hands. But he will happily feed himself the occasional crumbly cookie.

Am I worried for no reason? Will he get over this? Any ideas when?
ShyDaisi's Avatar ShyDaisi
01:37 PM Liked: 0
#2 of 12
01-07-2009 | Posts: 1,289
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At this point, I think that I would have him evaluated just to be sure. He could just be a strong-willed, persistent little guy that knows what he wants, but I don't think that it would hurt him to check for sensory disorders/problems. Plus, it could be really beneficial to him if there were some therapy or treatment that would help him out.

ETA: It seems that he USED to feed himself, but for the last 6 months or so, he has refused and insists on you feeding him. This would be another reason why I would take him in to be evaluated, just to be sure. If he had never fed himself, it may have been that he just never understood that it was his task to tackle, but the change makes me think it might be more sensory -- that as he became more aware, he changed his behavior...
pbjmama's Avatar pbjmama
02:21 PM Liked: 51
#3 of 12
01-07-2009 | Posts: 3,200
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Get the eval. Therapy will help with this and probably quickly. Maybe this is his only issue - but maybe not. The sooner you start on this the easier and faster the treatments will progress.
crunchymamatobe's Avatar crunchymamatobe (TS)
08:20 AM Liked: 20
#4 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 1,565
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Thanks for the feedback, mamas. I hadn't really realized that this had been going on so long until this week and I got to thinking that six months is more than a 'phase.'

I am baffled because he did used to feed himself and will still feed himself, but only a very few select foods.

I think we will see about an appointment to discuss it with his doctor...
ShyDaisi's Avatar ShyDaisi
02:58 PM Liked: 0
#5 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 1,289
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Good luck! And, let us know how it goes.
pbjmama's Avatar pbjmama
04:14 PM Liked: 51
#6 of 12
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I'm interested in what your doctor says. Let us know what you decide to do.

Our ped, who I really like for medical stuff, did not get it when I talked to her about DS's issues. She told me he wasn't autistic. Not very helpful. I ended up doing alot of work to figure out what was going on with DS and getting us in a place that worked with only ped OT and ST.
LittleMonkey's Avatar LittleMonkey
04:39 PM Liked: 0
#7 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 44
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Are you really worried about this or are there other issues? From your other thread you mentioned that he likes to play with toys and he's distracted so you feed him. Seems normal to me. Our little one is the same, wants toys and is distracted by them, will eat a bit by himself but mostly wants Mommy to do it. I say 'whatever works for you'. Who cares what others do? You won't be spoon-feeding him when he's 10!! I guess I don't see a problem with it, but maybe there's more to it than you've written ? To be honest, I was surprised to see pp's mentioning getting an evaluation for this?!
pbjmama's Avatar pbjmama
05:26 PM Liked: 51
#8 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 3,200
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LM, I can see where you are coming from. Sensory issues can be very difficult to understand. But in this case the mama might be feeding her baby from a spoon at 10 if he does have a sensory processing issue. I feel it warrants an evaluation because it is interfering with every day life and the mama thinks there might be more to it. It isn't behavioral, this kiddo can not bring himself to touch food. Maybe the therapist will say there isn't anything to it - but if there is, early intervetion will be the easiest for everyone.
LittleMonkey's Avatar LittleMonkey
05:55 PM Liked: 0
#9 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 44
Joined: Apr 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post
LM, I can see where you are coming from. Sensory issues can be very difficult to understand. But in this case the mama might be feeding her baby from a spoon at 10 if he does have a sensory processing issue. I feel it warrants an evaluation because it is interfering with every day life and the mama thinks there might be more to it. It isn't behavioral, this kiddo can not bring himself to touch food. Maybe the therapist will say there isn't anything to it - but if there is, early intervetion will be the easiest for everyone.
You are a kind and gentle Mama. Thanks for your clarification on why to recommend an evaluation.
crunchymamatobe's Avatar crunchymamatobe (TS)
06:41 PM Liked: 20
#10 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 1,565
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleMonkey View Post
Are you really worried about this or are there other issues? From your other thread you mentioned that he likes to play with toys and he's distracted so you feed him.
He doesn't generally bring toys to the table anymore. So the toys/distraction at the table have decreased whilst the reliance on us feeding him has increased.

I hope I'm not still feeding him at age 10!

As a PP mentioned, our doctors are great for medical problems and concerns, but I wonder what they will say about child development issues...
NiteNicole's Avatar NiteNicole
06:53 PM Liked: 1344
#11 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 4,580
Joined: May 2003
Quote:
this kiddo can not bring himself to touch food.
It sounds like he can if it's a food he likes enough (crumbly cookies, gritty from salt fries, sticky bananas).

My daughter was very excited to feed herself when it was a new thing, then I helped her along a bit mostly to avoid mess and speed up the process AND because left to herself, she'd take two bites and flit on to something else and I can't be feeding/providing food every half hour. After that, she had a long time where she just couldn't be bothered to feed herself. If I had pushed it and insisted, we'd still be fighting about it because she's just that kind of kid. Now she's back to feeding herself and not needing or wanting me to do it, mostly because I started telling her I was busy eating or my hands were full or just a minute whatever and suddenly it's just not worth waiting on mama.

I wonder if you could maybe just back off having him do it himself and do it for him for say, a week. Just don't even bring it up. Give him the food and the spoon/fork and ignore it, then if he asks, feed him but be distracted. Don't focus on it. I'd always wait till he asked, unless that became an issue. After a few successful days, I'd be less and less snappy in my responding, making him wait a bit. I wonder if he too wouldn't just decide oh heck, it's easier to do this myself.

This approach has worked with my daughter on other things. I may be totally off base, but as he CAN feed himself other things, I'd see if this hasn't just become his personal power struggle first.
pbjmama's Avatar pbjmama
07:26 PM Liked: 51
#12 of 12
01-08-2009 | Posts: 3,200
Joined: Sep 2007
OP, I doubt you will be spoon feeding at 10 but I hope you understood my point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleMonkey View Post
You are a kind and gentle Mama. Thanks for your clarification on why to recommend an evaluation.
Aw, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
It sounds like he can if it's a food he likes enough (crumbly cookies, gritty from salt fries, sticky bananas).
I see value in what you are saying here but I disagree. I don't think it is food he likes enough (to eat) it is food that he gets certain input from touching. Crumble/gritty are the same texture, sticky is different but still they are all high input experiences. I'm probably sounding crazy by now responding to this over and over, I guess I'm taking this on as a personal thing because everyone said my sons stuff was normal/behavioral for so long and it wasn't. So, I will stop now! OP please do check back with us and share what you find out.
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