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Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HELP!

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 15:03
by UnhappyRightFoot
OK, so Munchie's limited food range and 99% refusal to try anything new continues - and approaches its 3rd year.

I have (thus far) not cooked her a separate dinner every night (as it would be pasta EVERY DAY with an occasional pizza thrown in), I feed the family and she chooses to eat or not. Most of the time, it is not. The result of this is that she is often complaining that she is hungry and she has a tummy ache. She picks at dinner, barely eats anything, and then has some fruit and yoghurt. She also has 9oz milk at bed time.

She has lunch 3 times a week at pre-school. Wednesday is always pasta (yay), Thursday is roast dinner (so she'll pick at the meat, the odd vegetable and have yoghurt) and Tuesday is random - she'll mostly say that she had some garlic bread and some yoghurt. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to make sure supper is something she will eat. I always give her something she'll eat for lunch, but that is getting tedious as hell - rotating 4 different lunches!!

Breakfast is just painful. If it's croissant and cream cheese, it's eaten. Cereals are hit and miss and it can take her over half an hour to get through half a bowlful. (Or this morning, 40 minutes to eat about 1/4). I have to go on and on and on at her to keep eating as I hate taking her to pre-school without something in her tummy. This morning, she'd hacked me off getting dressed so I didn't ask her to eat her cereals. The result? She didn't. 40 minutes to eat about 5 cheerios then when I said we had to leave, she started shouting that she was eating and wouldn't leave the table until I'd got my coat and boots on and opened the front door.

I have tried involving her in cooking supper, reading green eggs and ham, asking her to try things, not mentioning that she eats anything at all, reading "all about my body" book etc etc etc. I put her food down and leave it to her as much as I can (aside from the cajoling of breakfast). She rarely tries anything and, recently, she has started gagging and even being a bit sick on her plate if she does try something new. :scream :scream :scream :oops: It's as if she doesn't like it in her head before even tasting it.

Occasionally she'll have something (salmon when the MIL was here), eat it all, enjoy it and then absolutely refuse to eat it again. Last night was sausage and mash - and she ate 3 sausages! Which she NEVER does. But I'm not sure she will again?!?!!?

I was hoping that Ickle Pickle's "eat anything and lots of it" approach would rub off on her but, no. Most of the time, she'll eat Munchies left dinner.

So, where do we go to from here? As I see it - we can continue as we are. I will serve up food that won't be eaten, will be played with, very occasionally tried, and then generally ignored. She will continue to have tummy ache and I will continue to worry about her. (I should point out that in every way, she is healthy and happy). She will continue to not eat dinner 3-4 nights a week. Or, I can serve her pasta every evening. And see what happens. Either, she'll be eating it until she leaves home, or she'll be sick of it and stop eating that too.

I'm at a loss. I try so hard not worry as she's fine in herself - a bit small and skinny, but on the 25th centile for weight so has increased a little over the last year. I could just cry at mealtimes as I find it crushing to see her not eat and then have a sore tummy. The "they'll eat if they're hungry" absolutely does NOT apply to her. If she doesn't want to eat, she won't, even if it makes her feel poorly.

I keep telling myself that I can't make her eat. But really, is there anything I can do?

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 16:03
by SparklePetal
Who was it who served up cheese sandwiches every night until her girls got bored and requested "real food"? I think if she is preferring to go hungry rather than eat, I would probably offer sure-thing options more often. I had a time where I thought DD would never broaden her food horizons and seemed to cut out more and more options. But now she is doing great. With Munchie being so adamant (we had psychological gagging on odd occasions too) I would think for some reason she *can't* make herself eat other stuff at the moment and maybe just go with her favourites more often. Maybe it has something to do with other brain development at this age? with breakfast, I still have to serve up the same old thing every day. It's not the most balanced diet but it gets her to eat and have energy till break time.

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 16:18
by sabrina fair
((())) Monkeyboy isn't as old but is very specific about what he'll eat. He front-loads his food during the day so I give him a breakfast he'll eat (porridge or weetabix), and same with lunch (almost always cream cheese sandwich). Dinner he's offered what we eat. If he doesn't want it, he can have a dry cracker or oatcake. He's then offered yoghurt and fruit. He'll often eat virtually nothing for dinner but I don't worry because I know he'll eat the next day. So I second the suggestion to give her croissant every (or maybe every schoolday) morning so at least you know she's had something - it might make it easier to deal with the rest of the day.

You have all my sympathy - I'm v.much hoping this will by the time he's munchie's age...if it doesn't I fully expect to be posting here in despair.

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 16:19
by shye
I think, SP, it was vanilla pickle? I've been tempted to do the same around here

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 18:15
by pirate_han
I was just like Munchie and my mum made me separate meals that I would eat. Honestly, when I went to university and lived in halls I broadened my horizons a bit but even now there are plenty of foods that I shudder at the thought of.

My mum forced my older sister to eat her veg (as in sit at the table until she ate it ) and it upset her so much to see my sister get in a state she swore she wouldn't do it again and when I had issues she made me separate meals if I didn't like what she was having. I don't know what the answer is but I do know that having been through it myself I would make B a separate meal of something she liked. I don't have any issue with putting a bit of pasta on to boil. My memories of being forced to eat things at school are just horrendous. I would gag too and that has also stuck with me.

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 18:52
by mamapup
No advice as we're not as advanced as you, but watching with interest as we have a picky puppy. I think he would also rather not eat than try something he doesn't fancy although sometimes I wonder if he's holding out as he knows there are other options even if we're not making them available to him. And, as with Munchie, there's always milk at night.

The puppy is most definitely a front-loader (like that description, thanks S-F) so eats a huge breakfast, if he doesn't get snacks (which he doesn't now he's older) he'll often eat a good lunch and then he eats almost nothing for supper unless I offer something he loves. Lunch I still try to offer something I know he will eat so that supper can be whatever I feel like offering him. Sometimes we try the other way around and offer a new meal at lunch and a favourite at supper but it tends to just mean he doesn't eat either meal then.

Dunno about others but I sort of assumed that BLW meant a non-fussy toddler and I'm a bit sad to find that's not the case. I know all the arguments and am clearly for BLW but I did so hope for an easy eater if we took this path. I like the idea of offering the same thing every day until they get fed up - will try that when the puppy's old enough to understand.

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 19:22
by sleepysheep
This may be a obvious question and apologise if it is, but how much and what does your little one drink throughout the day and night?

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 19:52
by SparklePetal

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 21:15
by ladyPMD
My 15 month old also has a very limited palate. I was very fussy as a child (only eating fish fingers and marmite sandwiches) and still remember vomiting over the headmistress when she forced me to eat mushy peas... Now I am fine! I had hoped BLW would help her to have a good attitude to trying stuff but it has only really given her excellent skill at feeding herself. It has helped me to have a more relaxed attitude to meal times and not repeat my negative childhood experiences. However, I am starting to worry that she will never eat what we do or anything that I have cooked. She has also, despite my best efforts, persisted in her nursing strike to the point when I have to accept that she has prematurely self weaned. This makes me worry more that her eclectic selection of 'will usually eat' foods is not really good enough to be nutritionally balanced or even contain enough calories. She is just clinging to the 9th centile... I am not sure there is anything any of us can do apart from be reassured that this is a phase and by the time they are 18 they will probably eat most things.

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 22:02
by UnhappyRightFoot

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 29 Nov 2013, 09:14
by sleepysheep
I was wondering if maybe your little one filling up on fluids, sorry. I have lots of parents in nursery that fill them up with pints of cows milk and wonder why they are not eating. So just thought I'd ask.

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 29 Nov 2013, 11:32
by issi
I just found out that one of my best friends used to be like your daughter. She is now a well-adjusted, unfussy eater who is a trained dietician. Her mother used to just cook her a chicken breast with potatoes and veg every single night, no arguments and no pressure to try anything else, although she was welcome to have some of what the rest of the family were eating if she asked for it. I was amazed when she told me as she has such a healthy attitude to food now. She just very gradually grew out of it.

I've always been very keen on the idea that they eat what we eat but I think in your situation I'd go with something like my friend's mum did - not in the sense of punishing or making a big deal out of it but just accepting that she has issues and will grow out of them and it's better not to make a big deal out of it.

Also, my 2 take *forever* to eat cereal. Drives me crazy!

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 29 Nov 2013, 14:05
by UnhappyRightFoot

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 29 Nov 2013, 14:21
by CherryPop
JS I could have written your post this time last year, and as Munchie is about a year younger than Jacob I'd say it was a very similar situation. Although if he would have eaten pasta, I can honestly say that I wouldn't have had a care in the world. He narrowed his food choices down and down, so pretty much all he would eat for main meals were chicken nuggets and chips, and a concoction we made of Quorn chicken-style pieces with pesto and couscous. He would eat lashings of rice cakes, yoghurt, fruit, and general nonsense. He wouldn't eat: bread, pasta, rice, all veg, meat (except sausages), fish, beans, lentils, and definitely nothing resembling a proper meal (i.e. cooked and mixed together).

After tearing ourselves apart about it, and getting so stressed out at every meal that we were all desperately unhappy, we decided to forget it. We kept on offering what we were having, eating together and involving him in food shopping and cooking, and we started a reward chart for eating his 5-a-day, but the rest of it was fair game. He ate chocolate cereal for breakfast for a year, because he wouldn't eat anything else.

When Josie started solids, he s l o w l y changed (so he would have been 4y3mo-ish) as he watched her eat, and now he's like a different child. I am over the moon that he will now eat most veg (though he prefers it all raw or at least cold, he shudders if it's hot and cooked). He will eat sandwiches, which makes packed lunches a lot easier! He'll eat bread and some pasta (it was a major victory for him that last night he ate 7 pieces of tortellini in a tomato sauce). He will eat some meat and fish, although he prefers it if it's breaded. He ate a prawn the other day, which shocked me to my core! By most people's standards, he's probably a pretty poor eater, but he has a relatively balanced, although not very varied diet. But the change since this time last year is so drastic that it seems amazing to me.

He lost a bit of weight before the change happened, so we went back to full-fat milk and greek yoghurt and that's helped to put the weight back on again.

I've wanted to reply to this thread since you posted but haven't had time to write such an essay - I just wanted to say that if you can relax about it, it'll come. I was a terribly fussy eater as a child and will eat most everything now. Our relationship got a lot better when I started relaxing and enjoying meals, and he is no longer anxious about trying new things.

Good luck!

Re: Is it really ok for them to miss meals (regularly) or HE

PostPosted: 29 Nov 2013, 14:37
by UnhappyRightFoot
Thanks CP, that's so good to hear. And thank you for taking the time to write such a lengthy reply!

To be fair, she has tried a few more things recently but they get refused second/third time around! I know her fussiness grates, and then I'm in a bit of a grump so, I think you're right - chill out and let it happen. I try to, I just know it doesn't always happen! It's not like she will only eat really unhealthy food! What she eats, is good! G'ah!! These babies - whadayado??!!!

Thanks again!