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Fussy toddler!

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#1 Lady Gray

Posted 24 October 2018 - 04:56 PM

Hi all, I just read through the most recent thread on fussy toddlers and I think I know the answer but I just wanted to get some other opinions as I'm worrying about my kid's diet.

She's gone from eating anything you put in front of her to only wanting to have pasta with tomato pesto for dinner.  Anything else results in tantrums and I don't want to send her to bed hungry.  She's very clear about the fact she just wants pasta and will not try anything else.

I've been trying to get other types of food into her during the day and have recently switched from giving her home-made muesli to a berry, muesli and banana smoothie with a huge handful of spinach chucked in.  She will occasionally eat carrot sticks or green beans (perhaps a few times a week).  I can sometimes get her to have a boiled egg if I eat one with her.  

Lunch is usually a sandwich with vegimite and cheese or cream cheese and ham plus some crackers, cheese, blueberries/strawberries and frozen peas (which she loves, it the only veggie I can get into her at the moment).

I've tried offering her food off our plates, all eating together, cooking her special meals, offering her pasta with something else (which she ignores or is completely offended at the non-pasta food being on her plate and needs it removed immediately) but none of these have worked.

The only milk she has is with her breakfast so she's not filling up at other times and we don't do morning tea or afternoon tea.

She's otherwise a very easy going kid.

Do I just keep persevering?  God it was so much easier when all she had was milk!!

#2 Silly Old Elf

Posted 24 October 2018 - 06:35 PM

Jelly snake

ETA: and ferritin supplement due to not eating.
My toddler prefers breastmilk to any meal any time.

Edited by Silly Old Elf, 24 October 2018 - 06:38 PM.

#3 MakesMeHappy

Posted 24 October 2018 - 06:45 PM

Would she be open to trying ‘dinner’ food at lunchtime?

I find toddlers are harder to feed at night time, so i would be inclined to let her have pasta for dinner but try and get her to eat a meal with protein and veg at lunch time.

Also when my kids have gone through super fussy stages I still serve the things they don’t want with the thing they do, even if they don’t touch it

#4 Caribou

Posted 24 October 2018 - 06:48 PM

When both my kids went through fussy stages, I’d put the smallest amount of what they liked on plate and everything else. Then I’d walk away, so they couldn’t see me, but I could see them. They were more likely to inhale the plate if they thought I wasn’t looking! The bigger the fuss I made about them eating the food the more they refused. For example DS went through a stage where he would ONLY eat peas. So I would load his plate up with peas, and corn and carrot. I’d put the pea on front of the flock but line the back with corn and carrot. Are it fine. Within a month he was back to eating normally.

Oh, and if it could be eaten with his ha da he was more included to eat it! So if that meant dinner was messy, I have to swallow my annoyance and deal with it.

Edited by Caribou, 24 October 2018 - 06:49 PM.

#5 Mose

Posted 24 October 2018 - 07:34 PM

In terms of worrying about over night hunger, the sleep consultant we used said it is actually lunch that is more influential on over night than dinner, so if there is protein at lunch that is eaten, dinner is unlikely to affect sleep. I believe this information came from some kind of research, but can't provide any links to support it.

I had one very fussy toddler (down to about 10 foods altogether at one stage - toast, yoghurt, vitabrits and four or five different fruits. So maybe less than ten.)  I stressed so much, and it never helped.

In the end, I gave up making him evening meals, as they were never eaten anyway, and just served him a little of what we were having, so at least I wasn't making anything special to get annoyed when it wasn't eaten. My first "hit" was....mushroom risotto. I still can't believe it, as I would never have eaten mushrooms or risotto as a child!

He's still pretty fussy, but has a wider repertoire now (nearly 8).

I now have a not quite so fussy toddler, and am refusing to get wound up about it again.

In your shoes, if you felt confident sleep wouldn't be an issue, I would have the "we all eat the same" system.  I'd start with her favourite meal every second night, and something plain and potentially toddler friendly every other night, and then stretch it out from there.

You will get a lot of advice here - find the gems that work for you, and ignore the rest.  Things like "hide veges in Bolognese sauce" is great if you have a kid that eats Bolognese sauce, but otherwise pretty useless - fussy eaters come in many forms, and hopefully you will find it easy to spy the advice that might work for your little one.

Good luck!!

#6 FiveAus

Posted 24 October 2018 - 07:38 PM

Pick your battles, you're unlikely to win that one and overall, she seems to have a good enough variety.

#7 lozoodle

Posted 26 October 2018 - 10:23 AM

I just started sending mine to bed hungry. Life is much easier now and they've cut their bullsh*t!

It is very normal though, and it does sound like she still has quite a good variety.

#8 alchetta

Posted 26 October 2018 - 07:03 PM

I have a fussy 18mo and I never know what she'll eat as one day she'll devour avocado and the next she'll hate it. I've tried to stop providing alternatives and just put food on her tray and walk away because I read somewhere that it's one of the few places a toddler has control as they know you can't actually force them to eat (it was probably the thread you referred to!)

Things that occasionally, but not consistently, work:
Putting the food on her high chair tray then going off to do something else and leaving her to it
Putting just one tiny bit on her tray then adding one more tiny bit at a time if it gets eaten
Sitting at dinner table together and not offering her anything, just raving about how delicious our own meals are til she decides she wants to try it
Telling her she can try it and if she doesn't like it I'll take it away (if I want her to try something new, so she doesn't feel like she'll have to eat the whole bowl)
Just putting whatever mish mash of stuff she likes on her tray like frozen peas, individual lentils, cheese sticks, pear slices and calling it dinner

My mum's approach is to put food in front of child for ten min, if it's not eaten, take it away. No cajoling, bribing, guilting, replacing, worrying that they'll wake up hungry. Her 3 kids (inc me) eat everything as adults but that doesn't mean it'll work for all kids. I've also read to just have communal share plates on dinner table with at least one thing child will eat and keep offering other foods as sometimes it'll take ten different days of offering before they even lick it to try it.

On the whole I think this is probably one of the hardest things to know how to get right and one I find I have zero instinct for. Maybe a lot of other people like me worry that their kid will grow up with aversions or addictions (I'm addicted to sugar). Sorry, rambly unhelpful post.

#9 HolierThanCow

Posted 26 October 2018 - 07:21 PM

That doesn't sound so bad to me... She is eating, and it's still reasonably varied. Sometimes my 3 year old just refuses dinner, then eats a bowl of breakfast cereal after dinner. Honestly, there are worse things than a child who only wants pasta for dinner. I'm not being dismissive (obviously it would be better if she ate the family meals), but I don't think it's worth going in to battle over. Maybe I have low standards. My 3 year old and 1 year old just went through an apricot jam phase and I let them eat jam sandwiches for breakfast and sometimes lunch, so... yeah. Before that it was peanut butter. And before that, canned peaches. The only food fad I have really put my foot down over is marshmallows.

#10 EmmDasher

Posted 26 October 2018 - 07:31 PM

Toddlers need a lot less food than babies as that rapid growth slows down. The reduced appetite and need to control their little world is a recipe for fussy eating. Make sure they’re not filling up on milk and snacks between meals.

I present the options and they choose what to eat but there’s no topping up on junk/snacks later. We try to add novelty with new plates or fun ways to present food. A new location always distracts them too.

#11 Caribou

Posted 27 October 2018 - 03:48 AM

Yes, last night DS wouldn’t eat dinner. He wanted to colour. I wanted him in bed. He’s been up too long.

So up the colouring book went on table, I coloured he ate distracted by my colouring. (Yep, when he wants to colour he actually means he wants ME, to colour)

Toddlers are hard work. But then I look at my 7yo and wonder if toddlers are a breeze compared to stubborn tweens.

#12 Drat

Posted 27 October 2018 - 06:27 AM

Yeah i'm a hard ass, I give her what we are having for dinner and if she doesn't eat it then tough. I've done that since day one.

She's never woken up in the middle of the night hungry or asking for food.

When I look at what she eats over the day it's nutritious and plentiful so I just don't worry about it anymore. Some weeks she might not eat dinner at all and then the next week she might. I don't give her milk or anything else.

I offer her 'dessert' if she eats a good portion of her dinner. I never expect her to eat everything. Dessert is usually greek yoghurt and fruit.

She definitely goes through her fussy stages, but we persist.

#13 Lady Gray

Posted 30 October 2018 - 09:41 AM

Thanks guys, these tips are all really helpful.

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