4yo and eating "steadily" - Mothering Forums
 2Likes
  • 1 Post By luckiest
  • 1 Post By EnviroBecca
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 17 Old 01-27-2015, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
cww
 
cww's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
4yo and eating "steadily"

Our 4yo DD is mostly very mature and well-behaved (for a 4yo!), and our attempt to parent with logical consequences has worked with most things, but we are still really struggling with eating. For example, if we tell her that she has to try a new food, she tries it, and if we tell her that she has to go to bed if she doesn't want to eat any more dinner, then she goes to bed (mostly) without complaining or temper tantrums. However, where we run into problems is when she needs to eat over a specified period of time. Every night at dinner, she dawdles and repeatedly stops eating, and plays around and tries to negotiate. She almost never wants to eat. Here are the things we have tried, and the ways in which they have failed:

We have put up a timer, where she can see it as it moves around to zero, and get a sense of how much time she has. When the timer is done, she goes to bed. This doesn't work because she just insists that she has plenty of time and doesn't eat, and then when the timer gets close to zero she tries to eat everything in a mad rush, but can't possibly because it is not physically possible, and then she has a meltdown when she can't finish before the time. This happens no matter how much time we put on the timer. She pleads not to have the timer on when she eats, so I have tried the agreement that the timer stays off as long as she eats reasonably steadily, but that doesn't work either, because while she will take one or two bites right away, she then simply falls back into the pattern of not eating, and then when I put the timer on as a consequence, she gets very upset.

We have simply sent her to bed as soon as she stops eating steadily. We have tried this both 1) as a temporary time out (she can come back as soon as she can eat steadily again), but that doesn't work because she comes back in, takes a bite, and then goes back to not eating again, resulting in another time out, and another, and another, until dinner is over; and 2) as a permanent trip to bed, which backfires both because she this does not bother her and because she wakes up in the middle of the night with a blood sugar crash, weeping desperately and yelling inconsolably until we can get some food into her (which she typically resists at this stage).

We have tried to make a game of it (e.g. who can finish their dinner first), but while she might start trying to play along by taking a bite or two, she inevitably falls back into the pattern ignoring her food for the rest of the meal.

We have explained to her logically why eating is important. We have made a rule of not badgering her at the table about eating (but she constantly tries to negotiate with us about what she will eat and when she will eat it, even when we tell her that we are not discussing it past a simple explanation of what is expected at the beginning of the meal).

I'm particularly baffled because 1) She needs to eat--if she doesn't she ends up hungry and/or with a blood sugar crash later and 2) she does eat when we tell her to in a given moment. The problem is that she just will not eat of her own volition over any period of time. (For example, if I were to tell her when to take every single bite of her food throughout the whole meal, I could get her to eat her dinner, but for obvious reasons this is not a reasonable solution.) She is also a kid that has no trouble completing complex tasks in other areas and doing self-directed projects in her play (for example yesterday she decided to construct her own book from cut up pieces of paper, using tape to make a binding, and then "writing" up the history of a local building in as the text, all by herself, just because she got the idea that this is how books are put together by looking at her own books).

This also doesn't seem to be a matter of not liking the food, because while she will eat a little bit more of dishes that she likes, she has exactly this same pattern of behavior with both dishes she likes and ones that she doesn't like.

Help! Does anyone happen to have any ideas about how else we could handle this? I really want to be able for us all to simply sit down at the dinner table with no drama, and for our DD to simple eat some reasonable portion of food at dinner each night at the table with the family, over a reasonable period of time...

Thanks in advance for reading my post!

DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014
cww is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 17 Old 01-28-2015, 04:33 AM
 
lauren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Gorgeous Vermont
Posts: 7,580
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 185 Post(s)
It is first thing in the morning so this will not necessarily be well thought out..... because this is eating you are talking about, and not compliance with clean up or whatever, I need to ask if there is some medical issue that you are trying to address by engaging in all the power struggles around food. Is there a doctor involved in this problem?

If not, and if this is just related to your wish for her to eat in a timely manner, I would seriously consider completely backing off on issues related to food consumption. Children do eat when they are hungry enough to eat. A high quality multivitamin will cover your bases for her if you are worried. On a behavioral level, she is getting a ton of mileage and attention out of this issue. By your sig I see you have a new-ish baby who is likely 'eating up' (pun intended) a lot of your time. Your 4 yr old may have found a way to consume just as much of your energy as you strategize and plot her next meal.

My suggestion: put away the timers, incentives and threats to go to bed. Provide grazing opportunities for her to get nourishing foods she likes into her body. Some people (even grown ups) do not like to have a big meal, but are more into shorter, smaller eating time. If dinnertime is an important thing for your family (which is supported by research) give her her smallest and most desirable meal then and only ask her to sit with you for a set amount of time for family communication purposes, not for eating per se. In fact, don't even bring up whether she is eating or not, just have an enjoyable time together.

You and your partner can take the struggle right out of this.

Your current scenario, honestly, sounds like a bit of a set up for an eating disorder and it makes me nervous.

My two cents!

 









Here from the very beginning of Mothering online forums. Proud to say gentle parenting works; the kids are grown or nearly so.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


User Agreement--
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauren is offline  
#3 of 17 Old 01-28-2015, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
cww
 
cww's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thanks for the reply, lauren. The family meal is important to us, and we have tried essentially what you suggest (which may not have been clear from how I explained things in my original post) where we all sit at the table and don't talk about food, and she goes to bed after 30-45 minutes of this whether she has eaten or not. I would be fine with this approach if it worked, by which I mean she didn't suffer any ill effects from not eating. But the problem is, if we do that, she doesn't eat anything (or she eats practically nothing), and then she wakes up in the middle of the night crying hysterically with a fantastic blood sugar crash. At that point, we can't get any nourishing food into her--we have to give her whatever she will eat when she is in this totally irrational state, which typically means milk or yogurt (which by itself is perfectly healthy, but if 60% of her food intake is milk, yogurt and cheese, this is in my opinion not healthy). Aside from my feeling that waking in the middle of the night every night with a fantastic blood sugar crash is not a good for her health or for the family dynamic, I feel that giving her some of her favorite foods every night in the middle of the night in lieu of her eating a healthful and varied dinner is an incentive for her to not eat at dinner, and keeps the cycle going. But of course I also cannot just not feed her during a blood sugar crash. Hence the vicious circle...

I think part of the problem is that while I practiced baby led weaning, my mother in law cared for her during the day for the first three years of her life and fed her most of her meals--she was always very concerned about getting food into her (because of the blood sugar crashes) and therefore spoon fed her until she was three years old (despite my attempts to convince her not to do this). So for example, if I were to spoon feed her the whole meal, she would eat most of it, most of the time. She just won't put the food into her own mouth. I thought that if we just gave her time that she would get over this and start feeding herself, but that has never happened, and now she has just turned four, and I'm not sure how to get her to learn to feed herself.

If she truly weren't hungry, I wouldn't be concerned about her not eating at dinner. But the problem is that she does need to eat, but just won't. (I too have blood sugar problems, so I feel I understand a bit the dynamic of her crashes. But at least as an adult, I know that I need to eat, even when I don't feel like it, and so I almost never have a crash myself. But being four, she really isn't able yet to really process cause-effect relationships where the effect comes hours after the cause...)

DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014
cww is offline  
 
#4 of 17 Old 01-28-2015, 06:56 AM
 
luckiest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: TX
Posts: 1,164
Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 84 Post(s)
My perspective as a nutritional therapist would be to get a handle on the blood sugar issues. Young kids should have a healthy enough pancreas, liver and adrenals to avoid those huge crashes. It could be as simple as changing her macronutrient ratios (more fat and protein, fewer carbohydrates), maybe a supplement or two to support blood sugar regulation. Because I agree with Lauren - food battles are almost always made worse by engaging in them.

What about a bedtime snack? Something with protein she can munch on while you're doing bedtime routine? I understand not wanting to go there, making it even less likely she'll eat dinner if she knows a snack will be available before bed, but it might be better than giving the dinner thing a lot of attention and potentially exacerbating it that way. Some nut butter and a piece of apple, or a slice of turkey or a mug of broth might get her through the night if she hasn't eaten dinner (bedtime snack wouldn't be a bad idea for anyone who has blood sugar issues).

If it's really an issue of self feeding, an OT might be able to help. It might be that you could go back to spoon feeding her and then transition to self feeding with help from an OT.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
lauren likes this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


Living and loving in ATX with DH (of 7 years) and DS (3.5)
luckiest is offline  
#5 of 17 Old 01-28-2015, 07:58 AM
 
Asiago's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,910
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
I would feed her then....it seems far more important to get the food into her than struggle over how it gets in her mouth. It sounds like that has worked in the past.
My son is 5 y.o. and I feed him if he doesn't feel like doing it. He's quite happy when I do. He often does feed himself but there are times, like dinner, which comes right before bed, when he's tired having been up 11 hours. I will then spoon feed to make sure he doesn't go to bed hungry. Often he'll say, 'thanks I can do it myself now'. Other times not and I certainly don't mind....if it means a full belly versus being hungry. He has excellent fine motor skills and used utencils to feed himself early, he's very capable in that aspect. He literally just appreciates when he is fed. I see my friends doing the same with their kids, feeding them. Their children are young; 3,4,5.
Some people may object to it but I read that it is often cultural. Indian and Asian cultures feed young children 5 or more years. I've read about many other cultures that do the same. Some cultures believe in autonomy, independence and self reliance for young children, others just follow along and let the child do it when they are willing and ready. My own belief is just to do what works for the individual child.
Now if she doesn't wish to eat when you try to feed her dinner, clamps her mouth shut, or shows that she isn't hungry then I would not do this. It would be unkind and forceful.
The poster who mentioned small grazing meals and just a small dinner (for the family ritual) had a great suggestion. Tiny tummies can't always handle the volume of three square meals. Finger foods versus needing utencils may also make dinner easier, especially if she is tired.

Last edited by Asiago; 01-28-2015 at 08:41 AM.
Asiago is offline  
#6 of 17 Old 01-28-2015, 05:18 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
What time do you guys eat dinner that she goes right to bed afterwards? I liked the bedtime snack idea, but I am not sure how that would play out if she goes to bed directly after dinner. Could she maybe snack while you read a bedtime story or watch a small video? Alot of kids will eat without even really thinking about it in those scenarios. Good luck, it sounds very stressful for everyone involved!
SparklePony is offline  
#7 of 17 Old 01-28-2015, 06:51 PM
 
newmamalizzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,461
Mentioned: 59 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Sounds very similar to my DD (nearly 5) who will pick at her dinner but then not be able to fall asleep because she's hungry. Small dish of yogurt and bam. Out like a light. In our house it's just me and the kids at dinner, so I usually put on kids music or a story on CD for her. It seems to keep her focus on the meal a bit. Other strategies I've used are having a "dessert" that I actually wouldn't mind if that was all she ate. She likes little parfaits with small bits of fruit, full fat yogurt and a drizzle of honey, squares of very dark chocolate, etc. I shoot for very dense foods. In your daughters case, maybe a smoothie would work? Is she better with drinking than eating?

I totally empathize, because I am generally totally hands off with my DD about food, but dinner is just too consequential for us.

Curious, does your daughter have other blood sugar issues? Mine will turn into a crazed screaming banshee who can't stop crying and two sips from an applesauce pouch turns her normal again in a snap.
newmamalizzy is offline  
#8 of 17 Old 01-30-2015, 10:25 AM
 
EnviroBecca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 5,455
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Making more food available BEFORE family dinnertime may help. Is there a time of day when she does eat steadily? Different people have different eating patterns; my son, since he was 2 or 3, has done best with 3 meals/snacks between about 4pm and 9pm, whereas he eats very little earlier in the day.

I agree with the suggestion to feed her, or at least offer to do so. It may give her "babying" that she needs with a baby sibling on the scene, and/or it may be that she is still transitioning away from her grandmother feeding her as you mentioned. My son didn't need to be spoon-fed past babyhood, but he refused to dress himself reliably until he was 6! It was frustrating because we knew he was physically capable of putting on clothes, but he just wouldn't do it and would wander around finding other things to do or "try" to get dressed by flapping the clothes stupidly. So we "helped" him get dressed, because it had to be done so we could leave the house.
SandiMae likes this.

Mama to a boy EnviroKid
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
12 years old and a girl EnviroKid
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
3 years old!
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
EnviroBecca is offline  
#9 of 17 Old 02-05-2015, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
cww
 
cww's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thanks to all of you for your responses. There is a lot here that I've been thinking over this past week.

luckiest, I appreciate your perspective as a nutritionist. All the women in my family have issues with low blood sugar (either after eating sugar, or if we skip meals)--this hasn't seemed to lead to any other health issues (no one in my family has diabetes, for example), so I've never worried about it other than making sure that I get enough of the right kind of meals and try to avoid any large amounts of sugar. I definitely need fat, protein, and carbs at every meal in order for my blood sugar to stay balanced, and so that is what I have tried to teach my daughter. Left to her own devices, she mostly wants to eat fat and protein (but then I worry that she is not really getting enough fruits and veggies). For example, her favorite foods are cheese, full-fat plain yogurt, almond (or any other nut) butter, nuts, and sausages. She also like whole grain bread. She eats fruits and vegetables, but they are not typically what she chooses if unprompted.

Asiago, you have a good point about feeding being cultural. I have been thinking about this. I have resisted this because I feel like it turns her eating into something that we have to "make" her do if we put the food into her mouth instead of her doing it herself. She doesn't resist when we do this, she just resists doing it herself. I'm just not sure how I would feel about this dynamic yet. I think I am not comfortable with this approach right now because we precisely want to make eating her responsibility instead of our responsibility, because making it our responsibility was part of the problem in the first place. I don't know. I will need to keep thinking about whether I feel that this is the right approach for her or not--I have been mulling this over and I just don't have a definitive instinct about this yet.

SparklePony, you are right, we eat right before bed, so there isn't time for a snack after dinner (she often goes to bed late precisely because she takes too long at dinner). I like your suggestion about the video/story, and we have tried this, but the problem is that the exact opposite happens--she gets caught up in the video/story and stops eating entirely. Even just talking with us at the table can distract her too much to eat.

newmamalizzy, thanks for letting me know that you are going through something similar. She will almost always eat milk products (yogurt, full-fat yogurt, milk) and nuts/nut butters, so I do sometimes just give her one of these with some fruit for dinner, and that works well. But I'm just not ok with her doing that every night, since it isn't a balanced diet. Her blood sugar issues during other times of day are better than when she was younger (part of the reason she got spoon fed for so long was because we were all paranoid about her sudden crashes during the day if she hadn't eaten enough). Now though she does seem to be ok most of the time during the day, although if she goes too long without eating she does start to get resistant and unpleasant (but that is better than the huge tantrums she threw when she was younger). Because I have taught her about her blood sugar issues, she is also much better at saying to me that she needs to eat something when she is getting cranky, which I am very impressed by. If only she could better understand that eating dinner is directly connected to her waking very unhappy at night!

EnviroBecca, she does seem to have this general resistance to eating at all times of day, especially for any "sit down" food. But it only tends to be an issue at dinner because she then has to go to bed (which she also of course wants to resist), and then at that point, she won't have other chances to eat anything. During the day, she does graze somewhat, but it isn't enough to make up for skipping dinner if she doesn't eat. We also usually stop the grazing in the last hour or so before dinner, so that she will be hungry for dinner. If we let her eat up until dinner then she isn't hungry (and the foods that she grazes on, while healthy enough on their own, tend not to include fruits or veggies, so they aren't very balanced on their own). I laughed at your descriptions of dressing your son--we have a bit of this, too, especially when it comes to picking out the clothes. Leaving the house has always seemed to be a bit of a pain, although it has gotten significantly better with time (unlike eating).

Here is what we have tried this week, and I'm not sure if it has helped or not: It occurred to me that she might respond better if I let her serve the food onto her plate herself, so I let her do that this week. I think she likes this, but whether it makes her eat more on her own volition, I don't know. It does still seem necessary to remind her to take another bite about every 3 minutes. This is what I can't figure out--she isn't resistant to eating (if you tell her to take a bite of something, or if you put it into her mouth). She just won't eat unless we tell her to, or do it for her. I really don't understand why.

DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014
cww is offline  
#10 of 17 Old 02-05-2015, 12:46 PM
 
JamieCatheryn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SW Pa
Posts: 5,288
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
My husband comes home from work late and we've had to stop having a family meal with him, and instead serve dinner sometimes between 5-7 when we get hungry and save him leftovers. Time limits for eating become stressful with a slow and inconsistent eater, my 5 year old is like that. He's always been a tiny kid but several family members were small until puberty, so as long as I'm putting the food in front of him I try not to stress about it anymore. Some meals I'll have to feed him some quick last bites before I take the nearly full plate away after half an hour or so. He'll eat yogurt, fruit, nuts, and quesodillas between meals, the meals are mostly meat or eggs plus some veggies. I second the adding fat and protein ideas, when I used to eat more carbs and less fat I would crash with no energy and a headache every afternoon. And kids know fats are delicious, extra butter makes everything good. Coconut milk ice cream or smoothies is amazing too. Whey, pea, or hemp protein powders can be a handy boost as well.
JamieCatheryn is offline  
#11 of 17 Old 07-01-2015, 03:07 PM
 
JadePlant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
My 3.5 year old DSS does the same thing, and has for pretty much as long as I can remember, unless it's a "treat" (he usually gobbles those down). We remind him to take bites every minute or two and will occasionally put a forkful of food in his mouth. I get irritated by it, because he's been able to feed himself for a long time, but shows little interest. I keep it up because a) I just need to get food into him and b) I'm assuming he'll grow out of it at some point. He's improved a bit over time, mainly because we're consistent with reminders and I think he doesn't like being nagged about it.

I've also found that snacks have a direct relationship to how well he eats. I've seen other parents in this thread recommending MORE snacks, and I will say that doesn't work for my family at all. DSS, like most preschoolers I imagine, prefers to graze on snack foods rather than sit at the table and eat as a family. If he gets snacks before dinner it's an all-out battle to get him to eat. I find that he eats dinner way better when I don't give ANY snacks after 3 pm or so. (We usually eat around 5:30-6).

I don't think the timer is a bad idea, but maybe it would be better used in conjunction with some other approaches. You said that she doesn't seem to connect her middle-of-the-night freakouts to not eating dinner, so it might be helpful to connect the dots for her, over and over. Set the timer, with plenty of time, and then remind her every few minutes to keep eating. Gently remind her how upset she gets when time runs out, and continue giving her frequent reminders to keep eating so she can finish before the timer goes off. If she's making good progress (regardless if it's just because you've been reminding her constantly), give her lots of praise. My DSS seems to really respond to "remember when this happened last time and you got really angry/sad/frustrated? You didn't like that very much, huh? This is what needs to happen so that doesn't happen again. I'm here to help you!" Remind, praise, repeat endlessly. Annoying? Yes. Effective over time? I think so.
JadePlant is offline  
#12 of 17 Old 07-03-2015, 06:27 AM
 
elliha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Sweden
Posts: 266
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
For a while my daughter couldn't do family meals without protesting in various way so she had her meal in the kitchen and we had it in the livingroom. After a while she could handle it again but now she has started up again but I hope I do not have to resort to keeping her in another room again.
elliha is offline  
#13 of 17 Old 07-03-2015, 08:31 AM
 
NiteNicole's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,612
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Have you ever checked her blood sugar (or yours) during these crashes? Because that's not something to blow off. I hear a lot of people throw around "blood sugar crash" who have never actually checked their glucose regularly and I suspect they're confusing blood sugar "crashes" with just being plain old hungry or tired (or both). Repeatedly crashing blood sugar is something your pediatrician needs to know about.

Apart from that, I think I've read every possible book on kids and food and they mostly come down to this: parents decide what and when, kids decide if and how much. So put the food out there, sit at the table, let your child serve himself if you'd like and when it's over, it's over. Clean it up and move on. Yes, there will be hunger but that's how we learn. This completely took the stress out of our meal times, btw, because I was like you - worried that she wasn't eating enough (or sometimes worried that she was eating too much, or not trying new things, or stuck on asking for the same things over and over). It takes more than one day, but it gives your child control and takes the responsibility and stress off of you.

I do agree that offering a small and not exciting snack before bed (cheese, yogurt, banana, something filling) might help fill the gaps but again, put it on the table, decide how long it should take, and when it's over, it's over. Move on.

Some kids just aren't big eaters or go through phases of not being all that interested. I'm a little suspicious of this "blood sugar crash" because either it's something your doctor needs to know about or your kid is just hungry/tired.
NiteNicole is offline  
#14 of 17 Old 07-03-2015, 11:11 AM
 
chiefmir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 232
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I agree, I'd would get a glucometer and (with the ped's consent and advice) get actual blood sugar readings during the suspected low blood sugar crashes. Actual low blood sugar episodes at night after missing a meal or having a small meal are extremely unlikely with a healthy pancreas and repeated low blood sugar episodes that aren't treated appropriately can have long term effects (the kind I know about are cognitive since I'm a neuropsychologist). I have had two actual low blood sugar episodes overnight in my life during pregnancies (with gestational diabetes that was insulin controlled) and it was a horrible feeling and completely different than feeling hungry, ravenous, tired, sick, grumpy, etc. If that is actually what is happening you definitely want to know!

On the other hand, it is possible that your DD is waking up hungry and tired (who wouldn't be? its the middle of the night!) and freaking out. Knowing that there isn't a medical emergency part to the episode may help you decide how to handle it behaviorally. I know that I would be much more comfortable telling my youngest DD (also 4) "this snack is your last food until breakfast", and then sticking with it, if I knew that the possible 3 am tantrum wasn't indicating a medical emergency than I would if I hadn't checked her blood sugar a few times.
chiefmir is offline  
#15 of 17 Old 07-06-2015, 05:56 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 164
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cww View Post
Thanks for the reply, lauren. The family meal is important to us, and we have tried essentially what you suggest (which may not have been clear from how I explained things in my original post) where we all sit at the table and don't talk about food, and she goes to bed after 30-45 minutes of this whether she has eaten or not. I would be fine with this approach if it worked, by which I mean she didn't suffer any ill effects from not eating. But the problem is, if we do that, she doesn't eat anything (or she eats practically nothing), and then she wakes up in the middle of the night crying hysterically with a fantastic blood sugar crash. At that point, we can't get any nourishing food into her--we have to give her whatever she will eat when she is in this totally irrational state, which typically means milk or yogurt (which by itself is perfectly healthy, but if 60% of her food intake is milk, yogurt and cheese, this is in my opinion not healthy). Aside from my feeling that waking in the middle of the night every night with a fantastic blood sugar crash is not a good for her health or for the family dynamic, I feel that giving her some of her favorite foods every night in the middle of the night in lieu of her eating a healthful and varied dinner is an incentive for her to not eat at dinner, and keeps the cycle going. But of course I also cannot just not feed her during a blood sugar crash. Hence the vicious circle...

I think part of the problem is that while I practiced baby led weaning, my mother in law cared for her during the day for the first three years of her life and fed her most of her meals--she was always very concerned about getting food into her (because of the blood sugar crashes) and therefore spoon fed her until she was three years old (despite my attempts to convince her not to do this). So for example, if I were to spoon feed her the whole meal, she would eat most of it, most of the time. She just won't put the food into her own mouth. I thought that if we just gave her time that she would get over this and start feeding herself, but that has never happened, and now she has just turned four, and I'm not sure how to get her to learn to feed herself.

If she truly weren't hungry, I wouldn't be concerned about her not eating at dinner. But the problem is that she does need to eat, but just won't. (I too have blood sugar problems, so I feel I understand a bit the dynamic of her crashes. But at least as an adult, I know that I need to eat, even when I don't feel like it, and so I almost never have a crash myself. But being four, she really isn't able yet to really process cause-effect relationships where the effect comes hours after the cause...)
Provide a small amount of those favorite foods as part of her meal. If that is indeed what is causing the apparent "blood sugar crashes", then that should prevent those.

Actually Lauren recommended this, she said "give her her smallest and most desirable meal". That would be some milk, yogurt, cheese if this is her most desirable meal. The idea is to include a limited amount of foods that she likes at each meal, include just enough to prevent the night wakings.

Otherwise, stop focusing attention her refusing to eat because that tends to just encourage it. At the table, give lots of attention to the opposite. Give lots attention to healthy foods and everyone's healthy eating, including her own healthy eating when it occurs.
muddie is offline  
#16 of 17 Old 07-08-2015, 10:18 PM
 
wjey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 78
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Alot of your scenario sounds completely familiar to me, based on my experience with my two oldest (now 5 and 9). I always believed in the idea that kids would eat when they're hungry enough...until I had kids Normal kids maybe, but not kids who have food issues (for us, food allergies were a huge part of the problem). My daughter would starve herself if she wasn't ready to eat until it was similar to what you describe in the middle of the night (for us it would be sometime midmorningish and I'd have to get the quickest/easiest/most filling thing into her - quinoa or buckwheat porridge, usually). For my son, he would eat, but still wake up in the middle of the night starving, would nurse (this was when he was around 2 or 2.5), then still be starving, so I'd give him a snack (rice cakes or graham crackers - whatever was quickest in the middle of the night, of which he would eat a meal's quantity). The reason that I mention this is that you said your daughter relies heavily on dairy, which is a very common food allergy and craving a food often is the indication that that food is an allergen (and being picky about other foods is also a sign - food intake can often increase dramatically once the allergen is removed).

On the other hand, she may not have any allergen, but maybe her dinnertime is just too late and she's too tired to care about eating, in which case having a dinner sized snack earlier and having a snack sized dinner during your family meal might be an idea.

For us, we have gone back and forth with what works. We eat at 5:30 and bedtime is at 8, so the rule is that you don't have to finish your dinner, but you must eat what is on the plate before you get a bedtime snack. That's been helping alot with not throwing away dinner food and with not throwing away the bedtime apple that they just wanted as a ritual, but for which they weren't actually hungry. But that may be totally irrelevant to your situation.
wjey is offline  
#17 of 17 Old 07-09-2015, 07:42 AM
 
oldsmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Sorry for the delayed time in this post, but I am new and just read about this.

I am surprised no one brought this up, but I would bet your daughter is associating dinner with bedtime. Every four year old I know resists going to bed. She knows when she is done eating, she has to go to bed. So if she doesn't want to go to bed, then she is going to drag that dinner out as long as humanly possible.
oldsmom is offline  
Reply

Tags
Eating


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 1,316

7 members and 1,309 guests
Anna14 , Deborah , Jewels411 , kathymuggle , KerriB , lauritagoddess , Michele123
Most users ever online was 21,860, 06-22-2018 at 09:45 PM.