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18 month old and food... it's a long one, sorry

Hi ladies, I hope you don't mind a new face popping up to ask for some help. I have never posted in Toddler before but I have been having a bit of a lurk over the last couple of weeks and have seen some really helpful and informative posts from many of you on several different topics, so thought I would try my luck!

My son is 18 months old and to cut a long story short, is turning in to a real pickle with his eating. I started weaning him at 5 months as he was such a big boy and was so hungry all the time. Started with all the usual, puree of fruit or veg and then starting introducing meat and fish, then mashing rather than pureeing, then just chopping. I always experimented with lots of flavours, textures, herbs and spices to get him used to new tastes and he would eat pretty much anything I offered to him, with the exception of tomatoes which was no big deal.

However, since about 13 months old he has become more and more fussy with his foods. When he was cutting a lot of teeth I would put his fussiness down to that, likewise if he was unwell. But as time went on it seemed he was getting more fussy for no good reason. I have always made his food from scratch, using fresh and good quality foods and as I am a stay at home mummy and have the luxury of time, spend hours and hours preparing and cooking things for him to eat and then to just have him refuse them, throw them on the floor, spit them out etc is soul destroying!

He will eat the following in any quantity at any time of the day...

cheese, cucumber, porridge, Weetabix, yoghurt, apples, pears, mango, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, toast, cream crackers, naan bread, plain pasta (i.e with no sauce or dressings, home made oven chips/wedges (which I very rarely offer).

He very, very rarely refuses or is silly with his breakfast - he will eat anything up to 3 Weetabix (!) with full fat milk for his breakfast, either that or porridge, toast, Shreddies, or other wholegrain cereals. He will then ask for fruit a short time later and will have an apple or pear, a handful of grapes or berries or a soft fruit salad type thing. He is generally not too bad with his lunch either so long as it is something like a sandwich, cheese on toast, spaghetti hoops (which I rarely give him) or fruit and yoghurt. Dinner time is where we are having the most problems. At first we wondered if it was because he wanted to eat with my husband and I so we delayed his dinner time slightly to wait for daddy to get home. This helped for a few days. Then we tried all of us having the same thing for dinner in case it was that he wanted to feel like we were all doing the same thing. This works occasionally. We have tried him sat at the table and not in his high chair, in his high chair at the table, on the floor in a 'picnic' style scenario...

I am just at the end of my tether. I can offer him absolutely any combination of foods at dinner time and although he is indicating he is hungry, he will either just pick at bits of it or will refuse it altogether. Anything from meat/potatoes/veg, shepherds pie, fish pie, pasta, curries, chilli, jacket potatoes, salads to frozen and 'cupboard' things I have bought in desperation like waffles, fish fingers, breaded chicken, baked beans, spaghetti.

Although it is great he eats his fruit and 2 of his meals a day are not a total failure, I just don't know why he won't eat proper dinners. I have tried giving him less in the day in case he was filling himself up but he will still refuse his dinners and then I end up feeling guilty and giving him porridge or something I know he will eat, before he goes to bed. I just want my little boy who will eat anything back :cry: I feel like such a failure as a mummy, that I can't seem to do anything right to get my son to eat 'proper' food. Someone please tell me you can help?!! xxxx


  • What re the timings for all of this? Maybe he s not hungry as he s filled up during the day, also what and how often and when does he drink?

  • Thanks for your reply.

    He has his water in a beaker with him at all times. He doesn't drink milk and hasn't since he gave it up when he was 10.5 months but drinks plenty of water. No other juices/squashes etc. Breakfast is dependent on when he wakes, which is usually between 7:30 and 8:30. Lunch will be around 12-1 depending on how long it has been since his breakfast. Dinner is 5:30 usually, as we all eat together when hubby gets home. I will sometimes limit what he has during the day to try and see if I can make him hungrier in the evening, which doesn't seem to work. I have also tried giving him his 'cooked dinner' at lunch time and then a snack type supper in the evening, which works with varying degrees of success xx
  • My ds is coming up to 19 months and we've had the exact same scenario in our house,so you aren't alone!

    He eats really well at breakfast and lunch but when it came to dinner the trouble started.Refusing to touch it,throw it all on the floor and have a full on tantrum!

    I just ignored him and removed the food from him and he didn't have anything to eat until breakfast the next morning!

    After a few days of this happening he realised that it wasn't getting him anywhere and he now (touch wood) has been eating dinner!

    Don't show that you are getting annoyed/upset and i think they are only pushing their boundaries just to see how far they can go!!

    I hope this helps a little bit?

    Good luck.x
  • Hi, fellow DIM11 mummy!

    I can relate totally to everythings you have wrote. In fact we have just had another refused meal even though he is hungry and crying for cheese! It is very demoralising, cooking and preparing healthy meals which are then rejected and thrown over the floor. image

    I think some toddlers are just very fussy and I have one of them!! Before the age of 1 ds ate anything and everything. He has just turned 2, and he has got increasingly fussy. I was just thinking back to things he would eat fine about 8 months ago and now he won't touch these either!

    Your list of foods that your son eats are almost identical to the ones my ds will eat. He won't eat any vegetables unless hidden and the taste completely disguised (almost impossible!) If he sees green veg he refuses his food! He does love fruit though, thank God. His favourite food is pasta in cheese sauce, cheese, ham and bread. Now he's talking more he cries for these foods when he's offered something different! :roll:

    These last few days it has really got to me as we are trying so hard to encourage him to eat healthy meals but he just won't. Horrible when you've put so much time and effort into it. I won't give him an alternative just fruit for desert and then bedtime milk! I feel guilty too that he is hungry having not had a main meal and knowing he was hungry!

    I can't offer any advice apart from continually offering a variety of food and not giving into his demands for his favourites. As then he will keep doing it. But I can relate to your post completely. I'm hoping my ds will eventually grow out of his fussiness. I've learned to chill out about it but the last few days it has really been bugging me again!

    It sounds like you're doing all the right things. I think some toddlers are just fussy about food. x
  • Ladies, thank you so much for your replies. I am so relieved to know I am not alone in fighting this battle, as at the time I feel like I am the only mummy in the world whose little one won't eat what they are given. I have always considered myself a pretty decent cook but the way my son reacts to my food was making me question myself and I was starting to think I was just offering him horrible food!

    I am loving the faces, Lucy, will give that a go or my amusement if nothing else, ha ha!

    Nikr and Bliss, I have been debating whether to let him go to bed hungry a few times and see if that snaps him out of it - I have just wimped out each night so far but the more I think about it the more I am starting to take the 'if needs must' stance on it. One thing I was worried about though, is would he start waking in the night hungry? We would have to give him something and then would he start getting in to the habit of waking for food? I would be interested to know how you both have found this aspect? He has slept 12 hours give or take an hour since he was 5 weeks old, unless he is poorly, so it would be a total shock to the system to have him start waking now!!

    Thank you so much again ladies xxx
  • It is so frustrating isn't it. The bit I hate most is when I make something really tasty that I know he will like and he won't even try it!! When if he tried it I know he'd love it!!

    One thing I have noticed a few times is that if I step away from him and leave him alone at the table he will actually try his food. A few nights ago I made a ham and pea risotto and he started whining and wanting to get down from the table. So I just walked away where he couldn't see me and left him to it. Hubby and me had a peek and he was actually trying his food and started eating it. He almost finished it all! When I went over he got cross and waved me away!! Like i'm not allowed to see him eating his food! :lol: Doesn't always work but worth a try!

    Ds is very good sleeper and slept through from very early on, makes up for his fussiness! We have never had problems with him waking hungry in the night. If he refuses his food now, I offer fruit (sometimes a banana as it's quite filling also not his favourite so he's not getting what he wants!) and then he will have a big cup of bedtime milk (7oz) which he will drink. Even when he's eaten better he'll still want his milk. So with the milk and fruit I know he's not hungry before bed.

    We did go through a phase of giving him what he liked when he refused which I don't think has helped things! So now we are back to offering him a variety of foods and then fruit and milk if he refuses. I dread giving him his meal (so wierd!) cos I know after spending ages preparing it will probably be rejected. But sometimes he suprises me!image

  • How funny, a secret eater, bless him! Made me chuckle when you said he waved you away whilst he was eating, ha ha! I will give your suggestions a go and see how we get on. Thank you! xx
  • My ds has always been a good sleeper and on a night when he hasn't had any dinner it luckily hasn't affected his sleep routine.

    I do make sure he has a beaker of milk before bed so i know he hasn't got a comlete empty tummy!!

    Good luck with it all! x
  • i started a thread on this othber day and had no replies,so its good to see that i am to not alone. your son sounds like mine to the T! i find the more we push the worse it gets, alos most things are a phase so lets remember that so we dont get to worried. i always offer food throughout day, and if he doenst eat then he isnt hungry or unwell teething ect. with the excpetion of very sick children most kids will not starve themselves if food around. i dont belive in set meal times and 3 meals a day as such as i belive we eat when we arre hungry and some day this is less.more than others and eating little and often helps. always spend a few days writing what your LO does eat as sometime son paper seems better than you remember it to be.

    sometimes as well toddlers dont want to be feed or use cutlery, give finger foods more and see what happens?

    i just make sure i always offer nutritous food, and he has milk before bed always no bother there! funny eh.
  • Yet another DIM mummy here with a fussy eating son!! (and I've had discussions with Keluk about this too as her ds is the same!). Anyway, I could have written that when Theo was about the same age - even the list of foods he would eat would have been the same! Unfortunately I don't have the magic answer as he's still a bit of a bugger. But I also wrote out a list of food he does eat the other day and was actually surprised by how extensive it was so it has improved. However he has his up and down days. The last few days being very poor! I actually have 3 meals in the fridge covered in cling film from the last few days because he literally has refused to touch them but he's got a cough / cold so I'm trying not to be too disheartened.

    Firstly, can I say the list of what he does eat is not too bad, he is getting food from the carbs, fruit & veg and protein groups so he's not nutritionally deprived even if there is room for more variety.

    It sounds like you've tried the right things in terms of eating together, different formats etc

    I will admit to being a bit soft when it comes to snacks etc if he hasnt eaten his meal but if I'm being strict I try to limit risky foods to once or twice a week and if he refuses it then he doesn't get anything else just bedtime milk. I have never had a problem with him waking in the night, he just eats well at breakfast the next day!

    Anyway just to let you know you're certainly not alone and keep trying new foods and don't let it become a battle. He'll get there eventually x
  • thats the thing, i dont think it last and remember they wont starve! carson today had

    waking-70z milk with multivit formula in

    wouldnt eat cherrios

    after nurseery and 2 hr nap

    1 rice cake, 1 ryvita with hummous/grated carrot on.

    1 yoghurt and 1 fruit tube smoothie

    1 apple

    he may not eat much now,just 7 x0z bottle again, biut i will offer more food later. but if he is refusing dinner si ast least make sure what he does eat is healthy.
  • Thank you for all your advice and understanding ladies, I am sorry you are all going through or have been through the same thing but it is certainly a comfort to know I am not alone! xx
  • it always makes you feel better when you no your LO isnt only one doing these things, the way i see it. most things they grow out of anyway! x
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