Mommy Dearest: Trying to get child to eat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 03:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This isn't about nutrition or toddlers...it's about the best way to approach the discipline aspects of my toddler not eating, which is why I'm putting it here.

My toddler is a picky eater! Bet you've never heard that before, right?

If she doesn't eat dinner, is it okay to let her go without any other food until breakfast? Someone just suggested this to me, but it reminds me of that scene from Mommy Dearest (girl wouldn't eat a rare steak. Mother wouldn't let her have anything else until she ate it, even served it for breakfast).

If she "doesn't like it" (without even trying it, of course) and throws a fit that she doesn't want it but says she's hungry, do I tell her "this is dinner, eat it or wait for breakfast" ? If she asks for a PBJ, do I tell that sweet face "no"?

I want her to eat better but I don't want to be horrible about it. I've tried bribing (I know, I know...but I'm desperate) with candy and treats. Told her, "eat just ONE pea and you'll get candy!" No deal. I don't think there's anything I could bribe her with to eat ONE tiny bite of a veggie.

ETA: Sometimes I'll serve something that I know she likes but then she plays the "i don't like it" card anyway. This, I would feel more comfortable telling her "you don't eat it, no food until breakfast" because at least this, I *know* she's just being difficult.
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#2 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
This isn't about nutrition or toddlers...it's about the best way to approach the discipline aspects of my toddler not eating, which is why I'm putting it here.

If she doesn't eat dinner, is it okay to let her go without any other food until breakfast?

If she "doesn't like it" (without even trying it, of course) and throws a fit that she doesn't want it but says she's hungry, do I tell her "this is dinner, eat it or wait for breakfast" ? If she asks for a PBJ, do I tell that sweet face "no"?
Eating isn't a discipline issue. Trying to make it a discipline issue can cause kids to have issues with food later on.

It's not okay to withhold food because your DD wasn't hungry at dinner time. It's your responsibility to offer healthy food for meals and snacks and your DD's job to eat when she's hungry. Letting a child self regulate is the best way to avoid food issues and obesity because humans instinctively know how much to eat. When we impose our ideas of what and how much to eat on our children they learn to ignore their bodies cues and eat for social reasons. Research has shown that toddlers will eat a balanced diet if you look at what they've eaten in a week instead of just one day. Being picky is developmentally normal. Being picky protected toddlers from eating strange sometimes poisonous plants when we still lived in wilder environments.

On a more personal note, my DD went through a picky period starting about 18 months and through most of her second year. Now at just 4 she eats a much larger variety of food and has been eating green veggies again since abit after turning 3. She likes sitting at the table during dinner even when she doesn't want to eat any of it.
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#3 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 04:18 AM
 
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No advice but I really like this blog for children and eating http://itsnotaboutnutrition.squarespace.com/

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#4 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 04:24 AM
 
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Modeling is important. If everyone else is eating it, it shouldn't be much of an issue...yes maybe on some things, but not everything. My daughter eats kale, collard greens, spinach. However, I must also add that we have abstained from a lot of traditional fair like mac and cheese and other processed foods that have sugar, fat and salt.

One thing that you might want to try is green smoothies. Blend a raw green of your choice with fresh fruit. Maybe start with 2-3 leaves of green with a couple of bananas and maybe an orange. No dairy. Tonight we had a whole head of spinach with 2 bananas, some pineapple and mango and chia seeds...oh and add ice to make sure it is chilled. You could add a frozen fruit, but no canned fruit. She ate it like a soup. Sometimes she wants to drink it like a smoothie other times eat it like a soup. Once you incorporate this into her diet, you can up the ratio of greens to fruit.

One thing that I love to do is take kale....destem and put the leaves in the food processor until they are the size of small confetti. Then add them to soup, mashed potatoes, and just about anything...I suppose if mac and cheese were a favorite, you could add it to that too. There is not a huge difference in the taste when it is confetti sized pieces and does not present a problem with chewing/choking. I have been doing this since she was about 10mo. :-)

I guess I would keep offering different healthy items fruits and veggies until she does get hungry enough. Until then if she chooses not to eat then she is not hungry. Even mine, who eats all of these good things, often will not eat much at some meals and then other times watch out because she is scarfing 3 helpings. I think that this is the nature of some kids and their growth patterns. I trust that she knows what she needs and she will not starve.

There is also a cookbook or several that show how to make many mainstream fair with hidden veggies in them.

HTH
P.S. I agree with you bribing does not work and is not good for so many reasons.

Edit: I should have asked what kind of peas? Canned? If so, can't blame the kiddo...yuck. I told my SIL that I love frozen peas...frozen and she gave them to her young one once and he would never eat cooked peas again. Likewise, you can also take green smoothie and make popsicles with them.
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#5 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 10:09 AM
 
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I'm not sure how old your DD is or just how picky, but I'll give you our experience. My DD is now 2.5 and starting to come out of a picky phase, but she was pretty bad for a while there. Dinners were the big problem -- breakfasts and lunches were either familiar to her or she was allowed a choice.

At dinner, I made a point of choosing a main course that she was generally familiar with (for instance, some form of chicken, but maybe with different spices or sauce) and at least one veggie that she liked (most of the time, broccoli was the only veggie she'd eat). The entire meal was available on her plate, but we didn't push her to eat it. I didn't make a separate meal unless we were having something completely new (for instance, on potsticker night, she got half a potsticker on her plate, but also some nuggets). If she finished all her veggies or tried one new thing, she got a (small) dessert.

We also went through a few months were she claimed to not like things she'd liked earlier. And when she wouldn't try ANYTHING new, not even something like stuffing! And the nights when it seemed she didn't eat a thing.

But I reassured myself by making notes of what she'd eaten over the course of a few days, and sure enough, it balanced out pretty well. And she was sleeping well, so she couldn't have been starving.

After a few months with no end in sight... one day, she started eating again. And now she'll even try new things! Not everything -- cheese still seems to be off limits, unless it's on pizza (she had a dairy intolerance, so she didn't grow up eating cheese). But she requested some sour cream off DH's plate last night, and ended up eating the rest of her taco meat with sour cream.

That's our experience, for what it's worth. She's still doesn't eat many types of veggies, but in general it's pretty balanced.

Jen, former sys admin and current geek , wife to DH , SAHM and Montessori homeschool teacher to DD "Nugget" (05/07) and new arrival DS "Sprout" (03/31/10)
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#6 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Don't have much time, just wanted to reply real quick.

DD is 2.5 years this month. I mainly use frozen veggies with the exception of some canned...like baby sweet pea's. It doesn't matter, she won't even try them. The fresh (from the farmer's market) corn on the cob was heavenly. It was so good I told her, "It tastes like candy...try it!" She actually tried it and spit it out.

I made a chicken stir fry with veggies and sauce (soy sauce, flour and beef broth). It was restaurant-good. Delish!! She would not even try it. Sigh. I spend money and time making food and she won't even try it. I never cooked for just myself--just ate frozen entrees, canned and boxed stuff. I cook for dd....and it's pointless.

I tell her whatever it is that she's afraid of, "Just try it. If you don't like it, you can spit it in my hand. Just try it." 9 out of 10 times, she won't.

I made her babyfood with frozen veggies, all steamed and delish. She gobbled it up when she ate purees. Picky eating started around.....oh I don't know....1.5 yrs or so. It's just so frustrating.

She doesn't like green food. I love fresh baby spinach. I put it on turkey/cheese sandwhiches and it tastes just like lettuce. It's basically tasteless when it's fresh. I've chopped it up and hid it in her pbj before. She ate 1/2 a pbj with spinach sandwhich one day. THEN, she SAW the green and said she didn't like it.

Smoothies used to work....then she decided she didn't want those anymore. And I make GOOD smoothies....with extra honey so it's sweet for her. Nope.

Frustrated. Gotta run.
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#7 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 10:30 AM
 
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Get the books "Child of Mine...Feeding with Love and Good Sense" and "How to get your kids to eat.... but not the much". They will change the whole dynamic.

The auhtors adage is: "It is the parents responsibility to make and offer healthy nutritious meals/snack and it is the childs responsiblity to eat or NOT as they see fit".

Kids truly will eat when hungry. While there are rare medical exceptions with children actually starving themselves to death or to the point of illness it is very rare. And if you monitor what a child eats over a week or even a month they most eat very balanced diets just not neccesarily they way we would like to see it (fruits/veggies/carb/protien daily)

So let it go. Stop bribing, cajoling, one-biting (I know easier said than done!) and instead offer good/healthy food and let her decide what and when to eat.


This article ran recently. While I don't agree with offering the same meal again later in the day/night the rest of the advice is pretty good.

http://www.boston.com/community/moms...earold_wo.html

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#8 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 11:30 AM
 
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I don't know about discipline, but if you wanna make sure she eats right just remember it's about getting enough healthy stuff in them, not about making well balanced looking plates every meal.

Ya know a grown-up only needs one serving size of meat the size of a deck of playing cards one time a week to get all the possible nutritional benefit we can get from meat. Most people eat way too much. Try to quit cooking pastas. There mostly filler and little to no nutritional value. I know you wanted to hear about the discipline part, not the nutrition part, but part of the discipline is looking objectively at what needs to change. Try to learn about nutrional requirements and don't look at them as "daily requirements" as much as "monthly requirement". Out of the things you were supposed to eat did you get a well-balanced diet over the last three weeks? It's less of a struggle. Keep fresh fruit. Always eat as much fresh fruit and vegitables as you want. And if the kid doesn't want what you're serving there is nothing wrong with bannanas three days in a row. You know how many vitamins is in bananas? IDK why people think you have to have hurry up and finish your vitimins all in one day. Is our digestive track on a timecard that it checks out at five o'clock. Eating healthy is a lifestyle that shouldn't be confined to "daily requirements".
We don't make a big deal about junk food. It's around sometimes and we eat it then it's over. Someone once said that overweight people just put too much thought into their foods. That makes them have a love/hate relationship with it. It could have been "the biggest loser" before I had cable, I don't remember. Maybe adapting this attitude will help. We eat to live. We don't live to eat. Healthy eating habits is a lifestyle not a "single daily serving". If her tastebuds aren't set on whatever you're serving that day feed it to the dog, open a can of peaches slice them real quick and put them on her plate. Sit down and you can both enjoy eating dinner with the family. Maybe she'll like what you cook tomorrow.
Oh yeah. Ds is two years old. Yesterday for lunch he ate all the broccoli out of one of those frozen Asian orange sauce green giant freezer bags. Some weeks he won't eat anything but fruit for a whole week. Yesterday he even told me to stop eating so he could pick off all the broccolli off of my plate before I could eat it.
I just go for the "dinnertime family environment" like I said. If he won't eat what I cook I dump his plate and serve him a can of fruit so the family can eat dinner togeather.
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#9 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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My toddler pretty much doesn't eat, but I know if I let this become a power struggle we will both lose. I have food issues because of how I was raised, and I definitely do not want to pass those on. I love to cook and try new things, so I do, whether DS is going to eat it or not. I don't care. More for me! If he doesn't want what DH and I are having, he can have something else but I'm not going to cook. Usually he will get a choice of leftovers, crackers and hummus, turkey and cheese, banana, etc. I do try to play around with his favorite foods so that we all enjoy them and they don't get monotonous (macaroni and cheese, risotto, lamb chops, kofta, salmon cakes).

FWIW, he'll try just about anything once, but he still doesn't eat many times. Even food he likes. I just have to hope that by modeling good eating habits he'll eventually pick them up.

Mama to DS1 (2/08) and DS2 (9/10).
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#10 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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A favourite book of mine is Deceptively Delicious.
Both hubby and son are bad with their veggies....now I hide it in food without their complaining.
A favourite of Tyr's is my macaroni...I use a boxed (Usually Annie's) mac n cheese mix...then when mixing it...I omit butter, use the powdered sauce, add 1/2-3/4c of shredded cheese and a junior sized jar of butternut squash. The colour isn't altered it is nice and rich and everyone gets a healthy serving of dairy and veggies.
Another fave is my tacos and my spaghetti sauce...I add a jar each of carrots, squash, green beans to the browned ground beef (plus Classico spicy red pepper tomato sauce for the spaghetti)
I also opt for healthy subsitutions when I can...he loves Rice Crispies...I found a brown rice organic one that he doesn't know the diff, and Gorilla Munch instead of Corn pops,etc (I put in container right away so not to see box)

I always try and make at least one part of the meal as something I know he likes...

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#11 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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Toddlers will eat very little for about 3 days then a lot one day then back to very little.

They also like to graze rather than eat meals.

Is your child failing to gain or underweight? If not, I really wouldn't worry about it. Just offer healthy food whenever hungry. Let them trust their own bodies to tell them when to eat.

DD, at age 5, is just now starting to eat about the same amount each day, like adults do, rather than the 3-days off 1-day on pattern of many younger children. Her weight is 50th percentile and height is 75th. She seems totally fine.
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#12 of 54 Old 12-10-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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I don't make my kids go hungry. I offer food. I give them choices. They eat when they want to. I don't think it's worth making a big issue out of it.

Live and love with your whole being.
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#13 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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"Your child will eat when s/he is hungry. A healthy human will NOT starve themselves." I hear this ALL THE TIME, but it just isn't 100% true.
I was a seemingly healthy 12 month old when I suddenly refused to eat or drink anything other than apple sauce. REFUSED. There was nothing my parents could do to get me to swallow anything (I would chew and spit out bacon too, apparently). I ended up in the hospital at 13 months with severe malnutrition and dehydration. I almost died from starving myself. My parents (obviously not very proactive about my health ) thought I just a picky eater and would eventually eat when I got hungry.
Well, I was in the hospital for nearly 2 months. They did every test on me they could come up with, but they never did find anything. I was on a feeding tube in the hospital until one day I just decided to eat again. I was never diagnosed with anything other than being stubborn . I am still a very stubborn person today.
It scares me to death when my dd gets too picky for her own good. But, what do you do?

Wife & Momma to Echo 2/20/08 and HP 6/11/13
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#14 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 04:35 PM
 
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There's a wide variety somewhere between bacon and applesauce. Try canned harvest spice peaches, Raw cherries. Fresh grapes.
Canned Glory Food brand Lima beans. Refried beans. Peanut butter on a spoon. Kraft Singles. Fresh strawberries. Sometimes avacados. Fresh cubes of tomatos. Ds doesn't like cucumbers but some kids do. Blueberries from the produce section.
Sweet potato fries. Sauted corn and mushrooms togeather.

Ditto mama mko. Keep quick foods like these so they have some choice if they don't feel like what everybody else is eating. Not saying your kid isn't picky. Just listing some things ds will gladly eat when he's being too picky to try what's for dinner. Every kid is different though. Some days it seems like ds only wants to drink juice or milk and not eat. If this Happened more regularly it would probably scare me too.
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#15 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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I agree with all the prior advice to try and let go of the reins a little, it usually straightens a picky toddler out. Our rule at home is that she doesn't HAVE to eat anything and she MAY eat as much of a set of staple foods we keep on hand (that take little to no effort on our part) as she likes. Right now our basket for foods she can eat whenever she wants, as much as she wants, holds bananas, apples, almonds, tomatoes, some revolving citrus fruit, milk, and a good string cheese. If we've made something we know she won't touch, like yam curry lately, we resign ourselves to making her a couple of eggs for protein. She also breastfeeds a ton right now, so I'm not that concerned about nutrition.

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#16 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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ds is the ultimate picky eater, and I can completely understand the frustration and worry that goes along with your kid not eating.

I got some really great advice here that helped me tremendously. It's my job to feed ds healthy foods, but it's his job to eat them.

I give ds well rounded meals. If he eats it fantastic, if not, no problem. I've found that if I just leave it on the table for awhile after everyone else has finished, he'll graze on it on his own terms. I also leave a snack tray out for him on our coffee table that's full of nuts, dried fruit, baby tomatoes, etc...I never actually see him eating from it, but I know he does because each night I fill it back up.

I guess for ds, it is an independence thing. He wants to eat what he wants, and when he wants, and who can blame him? He keeps growing, so he must be getting enough.

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#17 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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If she doesn't eat dinner, is it okay to let her go without any other food until breakfast? Someone just suggested this to me, but it reminds me of that scene from Mommy Dearest (girl wouldn't eat a rare steak. Mother wouldn't let her have anything else until she ate it, even served it for breakfast).
There is a big diffrence between saying this is the meal and this is what were having and its the last meal for today so plese eat so you wont be hungry before breakfast. There is one thing to saying well if your hungry between now and bedtime your dinner will be in the fridge.. and then playing some kinda evil mind game purposly giving a child the exact same plate of food for such a long time that the food goes bad (which is what happend to Christiana) because your determiend to "win" is another. Here new meal new day new chance.


Quote:
"Your child will eat when s/he is hungry. A healthy human will NOT starve themselves." I hear this ALL THE TIME, but it just isn't 100% true.
I can happen though my DD actually stopped nursing as a newborn and self starved I was told ohh she'll eat when shes gets hungry nope. I know it was an extremly rare thing but yes it can happen. Things are a LOT better now therapy and just time hs made that threat pretty much go away but I still hold memories of watching my child literly starve herself.

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#18 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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I just got these books from the library...this one is awesome:

The baby food bible : a complete guide to feeding your child, from infancy on / by Behan, Eileen.

This one is great too:

Just two more bites! : helping picky eaters say yes to food / by Piette, Linda

Both reiterate not forcing, bribing, etc. and giving the child healthy food options and the child decides how much or if to eat them.

I always try and make sure DS has at least one familiar food item that he likes on his plate at mealtimes (a healthy one, usually a veggie)

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#19 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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I have 3 kiddos... DD 7, DD 4 and DS 2 1/2. We've btdt multiple times with the whole picky eater thing. Until I saw a show with a nutritionist talking about children's eating habits (sry I don't remember what show). She showed appropriate portion sizes for toddlers and also explained that it was important to feed them bits of different foods and not fill up their plates or it might be too overwhelming for them. That plus getting into the Bento style lunches for my kids over the past year have really helped me make meals aesthetically pleasing as well as yummy and good for them. Here's a dinner example:

2 or 3 bacon wrapped chicken bites (chunk of chicken with half slice of bacon around it on a toothpick)
2 raw broccoli 'trees' with ranch
fruit & cheese kabobs
rice 'mountain'
steamed carrot coins (approx 10)

*I make the fruit & cheese kabobs using berries (strawberries, blueberries or raspberries), apple chunks, pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, grapes & cheese cubes - usually 2 or 3 different fruits, depending on what's in season. I use the little plastic 'party picks' for them and wash them off afterward so it's not wasteful.

The kids get small portions of everything and if they choose to have seconds of broccoli and not touch the carrots that's fine. My oldest is not a big meat eater but eats a ton of veggies, my middle loves meat and fruit and my youngest will pretty much eat everything he's served and then finish his sisters' meals too.

I've had other moms (in my mommy group or at preschool) tell me it sounds like so much extra work but really I can get all the veggies and fruit/cheese prepared while the rice is cooking.

I've also found that all 3 kids are more apt to eat 'new' foods if they've helped me prepare it. Yes, it may take me twice as long to fix dinner but they really enjoy helping Mommy. Even my 2 yr old can stand on a chair and help me fill a pot with water. Or he can help me count out 10 carrot coins.

HTH,
Beth
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#20 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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I wanted to second the Ellyn Satter books. In "How to get your child to eat... but not too much" she does mention some experiences with kids with really serious eating issues, because she has the breadth of experience, so you can kind of read it and figure out where your kid is at and relax.

I think every family will approach it slightly differently. Here's what we've pretty much done since our son was mostly on regular food:

- each meal there's either something available that I know he will eat (whole wheat buns, for example) or I will make one super-simple other thing (not Satter recommended but it goes with our philosophy), like reheat leftovers or spoon out some yogurt.

- every week I plan our meals and our son picks one meal for the roster

- most nights (or mornings when using the crockpot) he's welcome to join me as I cook...he actually gets a good chunk of his veggies this way as he nibbles on the raw ones as I'm chopping

- we all start off at the table together, and my husband and I eat what we eat and pretty well completely leave my son alone, except for help if he needs it. We notice what he eats but we just don't get into it much.

- most (not all) of the food in our house is food we're happy for him to eat. I don't stock junk food and most of the time we don't have dessert, unless there's company. When we do it's mostly fruit. So we don't end up cajoling over dinner before sweets. We do eat sweets from time to time, but not after a meal.

I do allow a bedtime snack but if I find it's getting bigger and bigger and dinner is getting smaller, then I mention it to my son. When he was littler though, I just made bedtime snack healthy, because I felt he was not really able to deal with the consequences of not finishing dinner at dinnertime. Now (at 4) I feel like he is more able to do so.

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#21 of 54 Old 12-12-2009, 11:00 PM
 
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I've always let my daughter choose what to eat for meals. She's 4 now and still doesn't like anything I like. That said, we don't keep anything in the house that I'm not okay with her eating for a meal(we don't do "snacks" or "treats"), so it's always healthy food. She did go through a stage where she was not only picky, but just plain not hungry, and from talking with other parents I realized it was typical for that age(toddler).
I never prepare food for someone without asking them what they want first, so that's made it pretty easy.
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#22 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 02:14 AM
 
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BTW I did want to say I didn't catch your childs exact age but you did say toddler. SO I'm assuming 2 or younger? At that age I'd deffiently re offer the dinner or something you approve a few more times before or at bedtime. A toddler still lives in the "hear and now" and there brain really can not process the idea of hunger latter. SO while they might really just be stubborn and refusing to eat the meal they also can't think ahead to humm If I don't eat SOMETHING now I'll be really hungry latter. Its jsut not something I toddler gets and they will not learn that by missing a meal. Like you can't say remember yesterday when you didn't eat dinner you woke up hungry? Its jsut more than a toddler can get. An older child yes but not a toddler. That doesn't mean you have to run out and order Chicken nuggets from Mcdonalds though I'd just make a blanced meal offer a reasonable choice consider taste and texture with in a healthy boundry.. but in the end its still there job to eat it.

Deanna

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#23 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 02:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by echoecho1528 View Post
"Your child will eat when s/he is hungry. A healthy human will NOT starve themselves." I hear this ALL THE TIME, but it just isn't 100% true.
I was a seemingly healthy 12 month old when I suddenly refused to eat or drink anything other than apple sauce. REFUSED. There was nothing my parents could do to get me to swallow anything (I would chew and spit out bacon too, apparently). I ended up in the hospital at 13 months with severe malnutrition and dehydration. I almost died from starving myself. My parents (obviously not very proactive about my health ) thought I just a picky eater and would eventually eat when I got hungry.
Well, I was in the hospital for nearly 2 months. They did every test on me they could come up with, but they never did find anything. I was on a feeding tube in the hospital until one day I just decided to eat again. I was never diagnosed with anything other than being stubborn . I am still a very stubborn person today.
It scares me to death when my dd gets too picky for her own good. But, what do you do?
When people say an otherwise healthy child won't starve themselves, they are not talking about a 13 mo baby. Historically (and anthropologically) speaking a 13 mo is a baby that should be getting a large portion of their calories from nursing. As long as a baby is nursing they can go without much else a be perfectly fine. My baby ate almost no solid food at 13 months. If she hadn't been nursing she would have certainly been malnourished. Frankly I think picky eating is pretty universal among toddlers. Even my daughter (she'll be 3 in feb) who likes a variety of things can be particular about when she'll actually eat them. And she often seems to subsist on very little food. But she still nurses twice a day, so I know she's getting some good nutrition there.

As far as dealing with food at our house, this is what we do. We never tell he to take "just one bite." At dinner we put a little of everything on her plate and if she asks us to remove it, we do. I always offer her any food I am eating, but for lunch and breakfast I don't make her a plate of it unless she asks for some, otherwise she eats off my plate. If she asks for yogurt or a banana she can have that at almost any meal. I stopped buying crackers and cereal because when it was around she would fill up on it. I found if its not around she doesn't miss it and she'll eat something healthier. Making and enjoying food for myself and really not caring whether she eats or not seems to be the best way to encourage her to eat. I thought I'd be one of those parents to re-serve the same plate of food to my kid until they ate it, but I'm not. I'm not up for the battle. I won't cook a new meal for her if she doesn't want what I made, but if she just eats a banana, some (whole wheat sourdough) bread with butter, and/or some plain yogurt w/a bit of honey, that's fine by me. I figure there two things you absolutely have to give control of to your child and the first is what goes into their body (food), the other is what comes out, but that's for another thread.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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#24 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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OP, a lot of posters here are talking about methods to get a child to eat more healthy food, and there are some great ideas. But based on your post in the other thread, it seems to me that you'd be better off making LESS effort to get her to eat, not more. I have a friend who did things similar to what you were describing in the other thread...begging child to take just one bite, offering candy if child would just eat one pea, etc....and her child at age SIX still throws a fit over dinner almost every night. Refuses to eat even when he's hungry if it's not exactly what he wants. Asks for a banana, eats HALF of it, and then asks for another banana because he's done with first one. Asks for an apple, eats one bite and then throws it on the floor. Just...crazy.

For me personally, the biggest issue about that is wasting food, and the second issue is taking advantage of Mom. A lot of people are criticizing the idea of giving the same meal over and over, but I do that all the time. I cook a couple of times a week, so if DD doesn't eat the dinner I cooked one night, she will probably get the exact same plate again for lunch the next day. I never force her to eat it--and I do give her a choice of something else easy, like a beef organic hot dog. And I always give her REALLY small portions (like teaspoon sized). She eats the same thing we eat, all the time. When it's just me and her (breakfast and lunch), she gets to pick what we eat from a couple of choices. For dinner, I cook for DH, and she eats it if she wants.

The thing is, by offering endless choices to your DD, you're making the whole food thing into a game for her. It's normal for toddlers to want independence and power, to want to manipulate their environment--including people. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But IMO, when it turns into wasting food and lots of extra work for Mom, that's totally unfair to the family and not a good thing at all. When you're stressed about getting your DD to eat, then she can control you by not eating. And the thing is, eating is ultimately HER responsibility, not yours. It's her body. Her hunger pains. Her health. Your have no responsibility to make her eat--only to provide sufficient healthy food. You are doing that.

I don't think there's anything wrong with continuing to offer more food when she won't eat the first time. The real issue for me would be "I want an apple." "Ok, here you go." "No, I want raisins!" "Ok, here you go." "No, I want chips!" Um, no. I would not go past the apple. If my kid asks for something, that's what she gets. Period. She doesn't want that, then she must not be hungry. It's not fair to YOU, the mom, to have to jump to her every changing whim like that.

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#25 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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Just wanted to add another recommendation for Ellyn Satter's "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense". I'm not into some of her recommendations for babies, but her overall devision of responsiblity in eating is great. It's hard to trust your child when they don't want to eat, but it's worth it. Good luck!
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#26 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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The real issue for me would be "I want an apple." "Ok, here you go." "No, I want raisins!" "Ok, here you go." "No, I want chips!" Um, no. I would not go past the apple. If my kid asks for something, that's what she gets. Period. She doesn't want that, then she must not be hungry. It's not fair to YOU, the mom, to have to jump to her every changing whim like that.
I agree now while I get toddler speech can sometimes say one thing and mean a diffrent and I'm fine with clarifying requests and such I wont play the no I changed my mind games eaither. SO if its an apple thats decided I get it out if she suddenly says NO chips! I jsut say were havign an apple this time if you'd like it it will be right here.... If not then go play and then I let her have all the big feelings shes wanted over that situation. Again its wasn't NEVER allowing a changed mind NEVER offering a choice or clarification but just not constantly playing the I want something else game.
Another is once my DD was old enough I used to pack a few simple snacks in little baggies all ready to go and leave those and a few take and toss "sippy" cups with water on the door of the fridge. DD knew that shes could chose one of those little baggies snacks or water cup at any time it allowed me to choose portions and waht shes ate and shes still have "free range" access with out excessive waste. What was there was simpily the choice the end...

Deanna

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#27 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 02:14 PM
 
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This first sentence contained (I believe) the nub of the issue:

"This isn't about nutrition or toddlers...it's about the best way to approach the discipline aspects of my toddler not eating, which is why I'm putting it here."

I have very strong opinions on this. First, if it's not about nutrition, then what's the big deal. And secondly I believe there is no "discipline aspect" of a toddler not eating.

If you make it about her not "obeying" you or responding to the candy bribes, then it is about her eating for all the wrong reasons and I think you can expect eating problems later on.

As long as you are providing you with healthy choices that ultimately get the right nutrition into her, she will eat. The idea that she should eat what is put in front of her makes it about you, and about power, and obedience and all sorts of other stuff that's external to her. Expect her to eat (badly) in rebellion later. If it's about bribing with junk, then she will eat for THAT wrong, external reason...to get the "prize." Can anything good come from her not following her own prompts? If all else fails, get her vitamins or something, but seriously, like the other ones here have said, there are many great ways to get good quality nutritional food into a little one.

I think it's way too easy to get into the power struggle aspect and to forget what eating is really for. BTW the reason I am so passionate about this is I want my child to listen to HIS OWN BODY later in life when peer pressure says "come on, just one more drink" "come on, just try this drug" or more likely, some corporation hammering him "Have it your way! Super size it! I'm lovin' it! Follow the crave!".

I want my son to be VERY used to making up his OWN mind about what goes into his body, and what feels right and healthy to him, listening to his own body's cues. A lifetime of eating right and feeling satisfied with quality food is going to build that strong foundation. We don't forbid junk, but we don't buy it and bring it into the house. He is USED to fruit for "dessert" more often than cake or pudding. Candy's only a part of holidays. He will KNOW when he's ingesting too much or too much JUNK later on, because he will know what setting his own limits feels like, etc.

Right now I feel very frustrated with him because he really does get picky too. I wonder how to get green veggies into him, mainly. But he gets his vitamins, and oddly enough sometimes he says the oddest things. Like the other day when I said "what are we going to have for lunch...you don't LIKE anything any more..." and he said "Spinach! spinach!" How odd, I thought. But I sauteed some chopped frozen spinach, added some garlic for flavor, and then used that with shredded cheese in a quesadilla. He loved it. And lo & behold, he got greens!

I came from an authoritarian home, by the way, we were TOLD to finish what's on our plate and could risk getting whacked for not doing so. I never developed internal discipline because every move I made was determined by others, outside of me. I paid very seriously for all the associated rebellions that I went through over the years.

Thank you for listening, and I hope you didn't feel too slammed. But it's serious business, right?
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#28 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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I put out healthy foods at meal times, and they can eat it or not, their choice. But nothing else is offered. If they don't eat dinner, I do wrap it up. I will offer it to them later in the evening when they complain of hunger. I do NOT offer it for breakfast though. At meals we all get served the same things, I will not single a child out with food from a previous meal while everyone else has moved on to the next meal's foods.

Ofcourse something different needs to be done if there is a SN of some kind involved.

I write a menu for the month before I go shopping. Giving someone a PB & J when it's not on the menu will make that PB & J unavailable for that person when it IS on the menu. I do leave room for second servings of things etc. But not to that extent. The whole point of writing a menu and sticking to it is to be able to aford enough healthy food for my family.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#29 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post
This first sentence contained (I believe) the nub of the issue:

"This isn't about nutrition or toddlers...it's about the best way to approach the discipline aspects of my toddler not eating, which is why I'm putting it here."

I have very strong opinions on this. First, if it's not about nutrition, then what's the big deal. And secondly I believe there is no "discipline aspect" of a toddler not eating.

If you make it about her not "obeying" you or responding to the candy bribes, then it is about her eating for all the wrong reasons and I think you can expect eating problems later on.

As long as you are providing you with healthy choices that ultimately get the right nutrition into her, she will eat. The idea that she should eat what is put in front of her makes it about you, and about power, and obedience and all sorts of other stuff that's external to her. Expect her to eat (badly) in rebellion later. If it's about bribing with junk, then she will eat for THAT wrong, external reason...to get the "prize." Can anything good come from her not following her own prompts? If all else fails, get her vitamins or something, but seriously, like the other ones here have said, there are many great ways to get good quality nutritional food into a little one.

I think it's way too easy to get into the power struggle aspect and to forget what eating is really for. BTW the reason I am so passionate about this is I want my child to listen to HIS OWN BODY later in life when peer pressure says "come on, just one more drink" "come on, just try this drug" or more likely, some corporation hammering him "Have it your way! Super size it! I'm lovin' it! Follow the crave!".

I want my son to be VERY used to making up his OWN mind about what goes into his body, and what feels right and healthy to him, listening to his own body's cues. A lifetime of eating right and feeling satisfied with quality food is going to build that strong foundation. We don't forbid junk, but we don't buy it and bring it into the house. He is USED to fruit for "dessert" more often than cake or pudding. Candy's only a part of holidays. He will KNOW when he's ingesting too much or too much JUNK later on, because he will know what setting his own limits feels like, etc.

Right now I feel very frustrated with him because he really does get picky too. I wonder how to get green veggies into him, mainly. But he gets his vitamins, and oddly enough sometimes he says the oddest things. Like the other day when I said "what are we going to have for lunch...you don't LIKE anything any more..." and he said "Spinach! spinach!" How odd, I thought. But I sauteed some chopped frozen spinach, added some garlic for flavor, and then used that with shredded cheese in a quesadilla. He loved it. And lo & behold, he got greens!

I came from an authoritarian home, by the way, we were TOLD to finish what's on our plate and could risk getting whacked for not doing so. I never developed internal discipline because every move I made was determined by others, outside of me. I paid very seriously for all the associated rebellions that I went through over the years.

Thank you for listening, and I hope you didn't feel too slammed. But it's serious business, right?
Exactly that! That is exactly what we do, and for the same reasons. I could have written this!

I also don't want DS to have to struggle with food the way I do now. I want my DS to eat in a healthy manner as an adult. Most of us eat out of hunger, boredom, it tastes good, its there, its a social situation...I could go on. I have no idea what satiated feels like. I only know what "I'm about to blow!" feels like. DH is the same way. Surprisingly he's thin and I'm only hanging on to a little "baby" (he's almost 5 =P) weight. But we are in our twenties. We are having to relearn how to eat so that we won't be huge or unhealthy down the road. Its a hard lesson to relearn a healthy relationship with food.

Its nice to see someone as passionate about this subject as I am, NellieKatz

Kelly, wife to J and mama to our precious A, HE'S 5! and the parasite will emerge on or before Sept 24, 2010!
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#30 of 54 Old 12-13-2009, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really need to clarify something here.

I started this thread because of THIS thread on "being child centered". The examples of being child centered described our home life perfectly. Someone on that thread suggested to me that I serve dd dinner and if she doesn't eat it, she doesn't get any new food until breakfast. I asked, "Can I really do that?" Which brought me here to ask these questions.

I've never let DD (age 2.5) go hungry and I give her whatever food she will eat. When I serve something I *know* she likes and she says she doesn't like it/won't eat it...that makes me really mad. ....and then I will make her whatever she asks for (after I had already taken time to make the first meal).

I know most of you don't like the term "brat" or "spoiled" for that matter.....

But my kid is slowly turning into a spoiled. brat. Something's gotta give or she's going to be a nightmare. Her dad is mostly to blame. Gives her every single thing she wants. She expects the same with me---and THATS where her and I have "power struggles".

I'm trying to find middle ground to make her and I both happy. If she won't try a new food, I will make her a pbj (or whatever she wants). If I serve something she DOES like but she won't eat it....I don't think I will make something new for her anymore.

She is daddy's little princes.....and mommy is like the evil mommy who makes her behave and stuff......

Yesterday her dad and I took her to the Science Center to see the dinosaurs. We went to the build-a-bear shop afterwards, with the intention of getting her ONE small (cheap) toy. The Princess picked out two identical toys that she wanted. I tried talking calmy to her about putting one back. She ran from me. I chased her around the store. When I finally got close enough to her, I grabbed her arm and turned her around to face me. I told her she does NOT run away from me when I tell her to stop. IMO, she should not have gotten ANY toys the way she acted.

I talked calmy to her and told her she could chose ONE toy....or NO toys. She looked at daddy with a pouted lip and crocodile tears. He tells her, "It's okay sweetie. Daddy will buy them both for you....."

That is what I compete with. AFTER the fact, daddy realized that he did the wrong thing. Funny thing though......

We all went to walmart afterwards. I was off by myself, dd was with daddy. When I met up with them, dd was holding a ball and told me she got in trouble. She saw that ball behind all the bicyles. She ran back there to get it, after daddy told her not to. Then she ran away from him and hid, while he told her to stop........

....then he bought the ball that "caused" the defiance.

Maybe I'm just mean, but after the defiance and attitude at build-a-bear, dd would NOT have gotten any toys. Period. She also certainly would not have gotten the ball that "caused" her to run and hide. Why should she get a "prize" for behaving that way? OH....that's right.....because daddy is a push over and gives her whatever she wants when The Princess cries.

Soooooooo.......yes, we do have "power struggles" at home. If I let her have her way with everything like he does, the kid would be out of control.

It's just getting to be too much.....and over everything. Time to get dressed? She runs so I can't catch her. Time to brush teeth? She tells me "No I don't want to" and hides under a blanket. Chicken (which she loves) for dinner? "I don't WANT chicken! I want a pbj!" Time to brush her hair? She throws herself on the floor and rolls around so I can't.

So really, you tell me.....when AM I supposed to draw the line? Let her teeth get yellow and rot? Let her leave the house with soiled clothes and knotted hair? Bow down to her and give her cookies instead of her turkey sandwich? Candy canes for breakfast? (Daddy would and does do all of these things). Call me a "control freak" if you must....but this kid can't and won't (at my house) run the show. I didn't think about "disciplining" over food until someone mentioned it to me in the other thread, which is why I asked over here.
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