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10 month old won't eat without toys
Any advice?


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#1 bentkitty

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:07 AM

I have a 10.5 month old baby who is underweight for his height (5% weight, 30% height). He is crawling and cruising, and very active during the day, never still for a moment! His GP is a little worried about his weight and he had some blood tests recently and he is iron deficient as well and on supplements for it now. The problem is that he is not much interested in food, still breastfeeding 4 times a day on average (it was up to 6 times until a week ago but now he has started sleeping through and dropped the 2 overnight feeds).

My main issue is not so much how much he eats, but the fact that he will not eat at all unless he has a toy on the table in front of him, no matter how hungry. If he has a toy to focus on the mouth opens and I can sneak in spoons of food. This morning he had over 200gm of breakfast this way, so he was hungry, even though he refused to even open his mouth until a toy was placed in front of him. Before every meal I need to go around the house finding different objects that can be chucked out after the meal or washed easily and is safe for him to play with whilst i feed him. To give you an idea this is the pile sitting next to his chair at the moment: empty cardboard kitchen roll, packaging from a bag of croissants, 10 little plastic playing cards which came from a xmas cracker, two daily contact lens plastic cups (the empties from the ones i put on this morning), two measuring spoons, wooden spoon. I will have to pick each of these up at least once from the floor too as he makes a game of it.

I tried giving him finger food during meals (he always has finger foods before or after the meal). However he turns his head away from the spoon or clamps his mouth shut only to open it wide enough to take the pea or carrot or whatever from his fingers. Just giving him finger foods is not an option as he would have to sit on the chair all day to get enough food, he is a very slow eater. Every bite of food has to be chewed, then taken out and examined at least once before going back into the mouth.

WHilst the toys help distract him so i can get some food into him, I am worried I am creating a very bad habit for years to come.. sad.gif I just don't know what else to do though... I have been told by the GP that I need to make an extra effort to fatten him up and try whatever I can.. If he hasn't picked up the percentiles by his next appointment in a couple of weeks he will be referred to a nutrition specialist.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

#2 Mumof32b!

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:14 AM

I understand your concerns, my DS2 is almost 6 and still only weighs 15 kilos.  It is a constant struggle to get food into him even now.

I don't really see the problem distracting him whilst trying to feed him as he is so young.  As he gets older and more involved in things going on around him he won't focus so much on the toys.

My DS2 didn't eat solids until well after 10 months, he was FF after 3 months but barely drank anything either, yet has always been quite healthy, he snacks more during the day on healthy food and I have learn't slowly not to worry so much about eating meals at set times.

Sounds like you are doing all you can for now, I would concentrate on that and let the future  take care of itself.

Hang in there

#3 vonnegutesque

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:19 AM

The toys work so I wouldn't stress about that.

Finger food may be a good long term solution though, even if he plays with them a lot - as he gets used to them he will eat a little more efficiently.  Try making stuff like polenta fingers that are soft and easy to digest etc so it might become a quicker mealtime.

#4 stickymicky

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:27 AM

I don't know if this is 'good' advice but I'd be more worried about trying to get food into him than worrying about creating a bad habit for years to come (surely he will not still be playing with toys at the dinner table when he's 15!)

We do a combo of finger food (BLW) and also a bit of spoon feeding and I have noticed that DD eats more when she is sitting around the table with us, but we are not all staring at her or trying to get pry more food into her mouth.. she seems to eat more if we are all sort of ignoring her if that makes sense, rather than making a big deal about what she is or isn't eating..

The only other idea which might help is instead of using toys to distract him, can you use other foods that are new intersting colours and shapes.. like some lychees, baby carrots, star fruit, baby beetroots, spiral breadsticks etc so at least he is playing with food, rather than toys.. and hopefully some of it will go in..?  

Also thinking that maybe referal to nutrition specialist might not be a bad thing, as they will surely have some ideas of how to get him more interested in eating...

Goodluck!

#5 bentkitty

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:29 AM

Stickymicky, I had the same thought ie replace toys with interesting food... He likes colourful veg as finger foods, so I have tried giving him those whilst trying to spoon feed at the same time. But he is so focused on the finger food that it is impossible to spoon anything into his mouth...

#6 janbaby

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:30 AM

Sounds exactly like my 11m old DS. He is also around 10% for weight but ~average (prolly above actually) for height ... he is quite active, constantly doing crunches when on the change table ;p He does eat a fair bit, but we have to distract him with toys exactly as you do (try stacking cups from kmart, and giving him his own plastic spoon & bowl) or leave 'snacks' for him to grab in his own time (small sandwich on the coffee table). Yes its probably a bad habit ... but I have no idea how to keep that mouth open any other way either original.gif

#7 mummahh

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:36 AM

I haven't had this specific problem with DS but he has had some had some habits that I thought would never stop. For example, he only ate pureed food until about 18 months. So I finally stopped pretending he was going to eat anything else and went out and stocked up on Rafferty's pouches. Shortly afterwards he goes "off" them and only wants to eat real food  huh.gif Many other obsessions suddenly stopped.

I would just give him the toys if it is working. original.gif

#8 Riotproof

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:39 AM

Why not try fingerfoods?    That way the food is the toy.



#9 Guest_BessMarvin_*

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:52 AM

..

Edited by BessMarvin, 11 April 2012 - 09:24 PM.


#10 mummaorange

Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:58 AM

just go with it- it isnt doing any harm original.gif

#11 laridae

Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:04 PM

Stop the spooning of food into his mouth and give him his food in pieces - not mush, and let him feed himself. 10.5 months is plenty old enough for him to to be feeding himself. So hand him the spoon original.gif
Try not to stress too much about weight gain.  As long as he's gaining some, pooing & weeing he should be ok.

Before one food is for fun!  He'll still be getting most of his nutrition from the milk.

#12 tropical_mum

Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:12 PM

I had the same problem with my son (now 14 months) and he always needs to be distracted at meals times, sometimes I put Wiggles on TV, I always give him a spoon to hold so he can "feed" himself (usually ends up on the floor, face, hair, etc) but it allows me to shovel in a few mouthfuls. At one stage (around 10 months) the only thing he ate was ravioli and baked beans.  I didn't care what it was as it was the only thing he would eat.  Gradually I introduced more foods but I just did whatever I could to get him to eat and put weight on.  
During his first year he had 2 months where he didn't put on any weight so I figured anything to get the weight on.  

Also, when to you BF him? Maybe try solids before BF so he is hungry when it is meal time and not full of milk?

I find when we go out for lunch there are a lot of distractions and he eats more.  

Hope some of this helps.

#13 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:14 PM

One of my 4yo twins still takes a toy to the table with him every mealtime. It doesn't bother me. He isn't allowed to play with it at the table, but he sits it in front of his placement and then everyone's happy.

That's said, my twins weren't able to eat any solids until they were two and have a very very limited diet due to extreme food allergies. They also have autism, so just getting them to sit down and eat real food is such a huge accomplishment for us that we don't sweat the small stuff. A toy train on the table isn't hurting anyone.

#14 ubermum

Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:19 PM

I agree with laridae.

With my first child, every health professional would stress me out about her weight. Thing is I am not a big person and my dh is technically underweight for his height, and has been his whole life. He eats an extremely good diet, this is just the way he is.

Some babies are like that too. DD was always light, and at 12 months, she actually dropped out of the percentiles all together. However, she has always been active, pooing, weeing, playing and meeting milestones.

Sure, address any deficiencies your child has, but otherwise, stop watching the scales. Watch your baby. Are they bright, active, meeting milestones and pooing and weeing as expected? If you didn't have scales would you be worried about them? Before 12 months, food is for fun and learning new tastes. It's not important for nutrition, their milk should be meeting all of that.

Quit the spoon feeding, go blw, stop worrying and stop hovering over your child. Eat with them, don't make them the focus of eating, but rather a participant. If you all sit at the table eating for an hour, who cares? Eating should be an enjoyable social activity, not a stress. Let your child enjoy it. Give them a spoon, feed them stuff off your plates. Your family and baby should enjoy mealtimes. At the moment, given your stress level about it, it doesn't sound very enjoyable.



#15 Pupalumps

Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:20 PM

..

Edited by Pupalumps, 30 March 2012 - 02:46 PM.


#16 bentkitty

Posted 02 January 2012 - 01:10 PM

sorry i wasn't clear - he eats a lot of different types of finger foods already. things on toast (peanut butter, cheese etc), egg frittata, pancakes, eggy toast, vegetables, fruit, cucumber, pasta pieces, cheese, and we always give him food off our plates as well. It is not a spoon fed v BLW issue, as he manages both quite well and he doesnt really mind being spoon fed as long as it's not boring for him. With finger foods he is so slow at chewing, possibly because he was a late teether and his first two teeth have only just come through. Some finger foods he manages better than others (especially anything bready). we tried those mesh thingies they just go straight on the floor.

Re: milk I always give him his solids first, then BF about half an hour after the solids. He is never too full for boobie, but the other way around screws up his appetite.

i havent tried adding oil into his meals, usually add cheese into all his purees or crushed up sesame seeds that sort of thing..

#17 sophiasmum

Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:27 PM

My DS is 6 & 1/2 now & we were just remembering the other day how he would not eat unless he had at least 1 toy car, often 2, on the high chair table at meal times. We laugh about it. Honestly I don't see a problem with it. Buy simple toys that can be washed in the sink along with the plates or whatever after each meal. Once he moved out of the high chair & into the dining table with the rest of us, we told him the rule is that toys weren't allowed to be brought to the table at mealtimes & he was old enough to understand.

#18 ~A Poetic Winter~

Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:36 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 02/01/2012, 01:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree with laridae.

With my first child, every health professional would stress me out about her weight. Thing is I am not a big person and my dh is technically underweight for his height, and has been his whole life. He eats an extremely good diet, this is just the way he is.

Some babies are like that too. DD was always light, and at 12 months, she actually dropped out of the percentiles all together. However, she has always been active, pooing, weeing, playing and meeting milestones.

Sure, address any deficiencies your child has, but otherwise, stop watching the scales. Watch your baby. Are they bright, active, meeting milestones and pooing and weeing as expected? If you didn't have scales would you be worried about them? Before 12 months, food is for fun and learning new tastes. It's not important for nutrition, their milk should be meeting all of that.

Quit the spoon feeding, go blw, stop worrying and stop hovering over your child. Eat with them, don't make them the focus of eating, but rather a participant. If you all sit at the table eating for an hour, who cares? Eating should be an enjoyable social activity, not a stress. Let your child enjoy it. Give them a spoon, feed them stuff off your plates. Your family and baby should enjoy mealtimes. At the moment, given your stress level about it, it doesn't sound very enjoyable.


Fabulous advice

OP wink.gif

bbighug.gif

#19 bentkitty

Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:30 PM

Thanks ladies original.gif It's nice to know I am not the only one in this situation. You are right I stress about his eating way too much (have been since he was little as he was born 25% but quickly dropped down to 5-10% and stayed there since). His previous GP and the MCHN clinic were quite laid back about his weight, he has met all his milestones on time or early, and you can see by looking at him that he is healthy. However we moved to a new area recently and his new GP is a more play-it-safe doctor (which is fine by me).

I guess since the toy thing works, I will just have to keep on doing it, as irritating as it is. And worry about weaning him off the toys at a later stage. I would love to be able to just give him some finger foods and if he eats, he does, if he doesn't, he doesn't, that would certainly remove some of the burden from my shoulders... However with the iron deficiency that is really not an option in the short term. But I will increase his finger foods so hopefully his eating will speed up with more practice!

Thanks original.gif

#20 bubinoven

Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:53 PM

Im in complete agreeance with Ubermum. But i know how easy it is to stress about these things. I have been told - not sure how accurate it is - that the charts used were all based on ff babies not bf babies and bf babies tend to be smaller.

I would maybe do spoon feeding to get iron into him at breaky and for everything else do finger foods. Set yourself an amount of time, a few days, a week whatever and see how you both are. My son didnt eat much for a few months and then bam he hasnt stopped eating since.

Best of luck

#21 bubinoven

Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:56 PM

Eta i completely agree about keeping the toys. You may find at the moment he wont eat without toys but one day he may not eat until you get rid of the toys lol.

#22 Riotproof

Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:24 PM

Just so you know, Baby led weaning is not synonymous with finger foods. Fingerfoods feature in traditional weaning as well. Babyled weaning is about allowing the baby to feed themselves exclusively.

If you are concerned about calories being consumed, I would increase offers for milk beit formula or breast milk. There are higher calorie finger foods that may work.. avocado on its own or smeared on crackers/toast, hummous made from chickpeas with a bit of lemon juice and a shedload of olive oil. Assuming dairy is fine, butter in steamed veg.  

Has he been tested and shown he has low iron?

#23 BentoBaby

Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:32 PM

We do this with our almost 12 month old but I have found giving him a "hitting spoon" is a good trick. It is just a big plastic spoon that he hits the chair/table with.

#24 Jekaho

Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:33 PM

Our son is 3 and we still have to read at least one book during meal times or he won't eat much.
Up until he was about 2 we had to read to him the whole time he was eating.
Before he was 11 months he barely ate anything at all - 6 breastfeeds in 24 hours, and he'd devour yoghurt - just wasn't interested in anything else, but he dropped from 50th percentile at 6 months to 5th percentile at 11 months so we had to reduce milk in the hope he'd eat solids more. It took a few months, but it did increase his eating eventually.

#25 bentkitty

Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:40 PM

QUOTE (Riotproof @ 02/01/2012, 07:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Has he been tested and shown he has low iron?


yes his iron reserves are 8 (recommended range 20-50). He is not anaemic yet thank god so hopefully now that he is on supplements it is correcting. His next blood test is in the middle of January.

Edited by bentkitty, 02 January 2012 - 07:40 PM.





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