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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.
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"?
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
Pardon me while I
|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).|
|"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.|
DS 2006 DiaperFreeBaby March 2010, DD 2011
"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?
|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.|
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?