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mealtime stresses

Hi there

just after some advice about mealtimes please....

My LO is coming up to 18 months old. He has a good appetite and usually eats well unless ill or teething, but recently has been refusing food more and more. I used to be able to give him a distraction, like a toy, kitchen whisk or my phone (!) and he would play with that whilst I spoon-fed him. However this isn't working anymore and the last few days have been awful at mealtimes.

I've read that from 18 months toddlers have a big surge of independence and I'm sure this is it. He just doesn't want to be spoon-fed anymore. But when i give him the bowl and spoon so he can feed himself, he throws it on the floor.

We just had a terrible lunchtime today because I wouldn't give in and give him the biscuit he so wanted. He had a bowl of food in front of him and wouldn't even try a spoon full and he was screaming and having a tantrum... arghh it was awful. I know he was hungry. I just kept saying you can't have a biscuit until you've tried your lunch. It was something he had had and liked before.

He was obviously really hungry as he didn't want to get down from the highchair. In the end I gave him a yogurt which he ate himself with a spoon. Then we had a sandwich and he joined us and had a sandwich too. We were eating at the same time as him when he had the bowl of food too - that didn't seem to work at the time.

Anyone have any ideas? I was also wondering if it's because he doesn't want "mush" anymore. He eats what we have but mashed up. He also has "snack" type teas like sandwiches, toast etc. I'm going to give him some mini sausages and sweet potato wedges tonight which he can easily feed himself as finger food. I don't know whether it's the texture of the food, or the spoon feeding issue.

Any experience/advice?

Thank you x


  • My LO went through this a few months ago (he's 18 months now) so I alternate and have at least 1 meal a day that is more 'finger food' that he can feed himself (i.e. fish cakes, homemade chicken nuggets, sausages, with veg including sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots). Good luck, we go through ups and downs with feeding! x
  • No real advice but we are constantly going through meal time stresses. Don't feel like i'm making any progress at all!

    K xxx
  • Have you tried cutting up the food into small pieces rather than mashing it?

    DS1 fed himself from about 12 months & would only let us feed him certain things (largely yogurts!). He would use a combination of a spoon & his fingers.

    DS2 is now 11 months & he also prefers to feed himself so I just chop up what we're having & he has it as finger food. We haven't mashed food since he was about 8/9 months other than when he had sore throat & was struggling to swallow.
  • B has always hated being spoon fed and v rarely accepts wet/lumpy type foods. I usually have to cook her something different so she can have it as finger foods (e.g. if we are having bolognese she will have meatballs. If we are having fish pie she will have fishcakes! Sigh!)

    She used to let me spoon feed her pasta stars, weetabix or yoghurt but won't even let me do that sometimes now. She is DESPERATE to spoon feed herself. So we have now started giving her things like shreddies and chopped banana for breakfast and she sits on my lap at the table and feeds herself. She is getting better everyday and think she enjoys having the control. Once she has got more used to it I will worry about moving her back to highchair.

    It's probably an independance thing with H too. It's just yet another phase...! I keep telling myself that once B can spoonfeed herself really well she will start to eat loads more stuff. I really hope so anyway...

  • i can relate! my son is 2 and is the same. its hard for me as he wont touch certain textures, but wont let me feed him or feed himself with spoon-he just in not interested. so i just give him all finger foods,and as healthy as i can! and hope that soon he will try using cutlery so i can give him more choice. he wont eat anything soggy/wet ect. os i cut everything into chunks.
  • thanks for all your advice everyone. things haven't changed really but i'm trying not to stress if he doesn't eat anything and just letting him get on with it. he is eating really well by himself now when he feels like it. i found a really good website page: and i'm trying to take a sentiment from that: it's our job to put food in front of our little ones. it's their job to eat what they need. if they don't eat anything, they're just not hungry. i'm trying to heed this but it's hard. xx
  • i read this" its great!!! very true!
  • Hiya

    Tyler is 16 months and hates being fed with a spoon, everything has to be finger food for him and he has now started feeding himself yoghurt or heinz deserts himself.

    so frustrating, but you are not alone.

  • i wish my son would feed himself everything,even messy liquids,but he wont, he haters the texture and getting hands dirty,but yet wont spoon feed-argh
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