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18MO fussy at dinner time
Is it ok to make her something else?


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22 replies to this topic

#1 stella80

Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:15 PM

Might seem like a weird thing to ask original.gif but I just don't know if getting her something else to eat is going to set her up with a bad habit of thinking 'if I refuse I'll get something I really want'. Once, I refused to give in and she went to be without dinner but DD is still having a 100ml bottle at bed time so she didn't have an empty stomach. She also slept through the night so no issues with night waking but Im just not sure if she is too youge for this approuch yet? Please, some advise would be great.

#2 3_for_me

Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:18 PM

I draw the line at making seperate meals for anyone.  Dinner gets made and put on the table, you either eat it or go hungry around here(and the same applied as soon as they were old enough to eat a chopped up version of the family meal)

Feels like a slippery slope to me shrug.gif

#3 ubermum

Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:51 PM

If you want to do that for the next 15 or so years then go right ahead. Start as you intend to continue is my motto. You are either hungry or you are not.

Edit- Oh boy, I just noticed her birthday. That is going to be one stubborn, headstrong little girl going by that date. wink.gif

Edited by ubermum, 01 May 2012 - 11:54 PM.


#4 Lisy-lis

Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:56 PM

She'll eat when she's hungry.

Mealtimes shouldn't be battle times.



#5 -al-

Posted 02 May 2012 - 12:36 AM

Children are naturally fussy at this age - it is believed to be a protective mechanism developed as hunter gatherers to protect the child from eating something which is unfamiliar to them when out gathering. However, it is good to be careful how you react to it, as you dont want to create a pattern of having a battle or making other things as the smart little tot will soon learn they can have the things they LIKE to eat not the things they should be eating - I see so many eating 'yoghurt' from those squeeze packs at least two "meals" a day.
The best thing to do is to keep foods a bit more separate, and require the child to put it in their mouth, if they spit it out then dont make a big deal (unless done disrespectfully then it would need adressing - still without a big deal but as you would) the main thing is for them to become familiar with the texture and taste of foods, even if they ate it before they may take a dislike to it and need it re-introduced. I like to 'focus' on a food a fortnight or so, ie we may have carrots every night for two or three weeks, and vary the other things we have with it, but in that time make carrot cake, carrot soup, talk about rabbits and how they eat carrots, really involve your child in the process, get them to help so it is not some strange thing that you want them to put in their mouths.
I know your child probably has not got to that stage yet, but it is a hard phase for many parents who worry about their child not eating - the best way is for them to experiment and play with their food a bit, let them squish it and all the gross things toddies do with their food cause it is all learning. There is time for manners later, for now they just need to sit up at the table and see others eating, and hopefully they will join in and eat something. Also giving quality foods for snacks, if you make everything quality then you dont need to worry about dinner not being eaten.

Edited by -al-, 02 May 2012 - 12:42 AM.


#6 mallowpuff

Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:14 PM

I wouldn't offer a different meal. Just make sure that she's properly hungry by dinner time (no snacks in the couple of hours prior), and don't make a fuss if she refuses to eat but allow her to come back to the meal if she changes her mind a little later. Do you eat at the same time as her? If not, maybe try it, so that she sees that meals are a time when everyone sits and eats and chats together. It's meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable time rather than a battle, and the focus should not just be on her and whether she eats or not.

#7 Guest_Retro_Mumma_*

Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:25 PM

My DS is the same way.

When he is old enough to understand the concept, if you dont eat your dinner you go hungry, it will be enforced but at the moment he doesnt understand that and im trying to wean him off milk so id rather offer him different things than have him be hungry and not go to sleep because he is hungry and want more milk.

I start DS off with a small meal of something like pasta, veggies and meat and he will eat a bit of that and then I will offer fruit and then he will get a bowl of greek yohgurt every dinner time. I dont rush him either he is only little and id rather him take him time and use his utensils.

My thing is not to make a big deal about it, I freeze little portions of food and reheat them at dinner time and if doesnt eat it all I just give it to the dogs, no biggie.

Another good tip is to puree veggies and fruit and hide it in his food that way if he doesnt eat one meal I serve him I dont stress because I know the next thing I offer him is going to be healthy too.

I love Jessica Seinfields books, she is a legend! My toddler (and DH) eats all sorts of veggies and fruit without the fights because they dont know its hidden in their food!

http://www.doitdelicious.com/

Edited by Retro_Mumma, 02 May 2012 - 02:27 PM.


#8 ~chiquita~

Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:34 PM

I'm having the same problem with DS. Sometimes it's lunch, sometimes it's dinner. The only meal that isn't a battle atm is breakfast. I don't offer him anything else anymore, although he's still having 150mls of milk before bed.

#9 ubermum

Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:41 PM

Just wondering, do the posters that would make something different have only one child? I would have with my first, but wouldn't with my second. I don't care if they don't sleep so well or want more milk at bedtime, I wouldn't start them down the fussy road. Lesson learned.

#10 Bluenomi

Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:42 PM

DD is 2 and always gets a different dinner (though we don't wat with her) If she didn't she'd never eat. I figure at her age I'd rather she ate than be fuusy about the rules. There is plenty of time for that later

#11 Rumour has it..

Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:44 PM

I am having this battle with DS at dinner time but I have started too (if he is fighting or fussing) getting him out of his high chair and leave it be. He soon realises that I'm not going to fight with him so he'll want back in & eat without a fuss. I would try and stay away from giving him something else because then he is going to expect that when he pushes his dinner away - as a pp said its a slippery slope.

We used to all eat as a family and that was easier because he would watch us eat then take his own mouthful but now as the factors have changed (DP not getting home till after 7pm, Living with inlawns, darker earlier) he eats by himself hence the challenge.



#12 paddyboo

Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:48 PM

Patrick has started eating much more during the day ( a habit he got from daycare as they have a hot lunch) and hence he wants less for dinner, sometimes nothing. he goes to bed and sleeps as usual. I don't make other things for him *just* to make him eat (unless he's sick of course, then he can have toast). I would listen to your DD, if she's hungry she will eat, if she's not she won't.

#13 lady lady

Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:03 PM

I do ph34r.gif .. but it's only ever avocado on toast or cottage cheese on toast ... if she doesn't eat either of them then it's nothing .....

... she always comes back to eating normal healthy meals within a day or two ... if it went on for weeks on end then I would say we have a problem .....

#14 mumandboys

Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:58 PM

I wouldn't make a separate meal.  However, at that age mine were having fruit and/or yoghurt after dinner, and they would get that regardless of whether they ate their dinner or not.

As they get older, if it's something I know they don't like, and they give it a decent go (but maybe don't eat enough to fill up), I'll offer fruit or milk, sometimes toast, a bit later.  If they fuss or don't try, they get nothing else.

We try to make "winner" meals (the ones we know they'll eat) at least three times a week.  The other four days, they have to challenge themselves or go hungry.

#15 stella80

Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:19 PM

Thanks for the replies so far original.gif

We have always eaten our dinner at the same time as DD and we make it a family thing so she can see how much we enjoy our dinner. I also try and make sure we have it at a good time so not too late. But I am giving her snacks in the afternoon. I keep getting told if she is hungry she will eat so don't healthy snacks count towards that? If she is hungry why wouldn't I?

I do try to make sure there are no snacks for 1 hour before dinner though. Maybe thats not enough? I don't know  shrug.gif Again, if she is hungry.....Also, during that time she is complaining and whinging for food and still doesn't eat her dinner so I'm not sure it is really a hunger thing, more an independence thing.

She is doing this thing now where she will refuse dinner, I take her out of her highchair without fuss and she will walk straight over to the fridge/cupboard  rant.gif

I'm not really talking about making her a whole other dinner, more so refering to giving her yogurt or something even if she refuses to eat dinner so I know she has something in her belly. Will this create a rod for my own back in the end?




#16 Guest_Retro_Mumma_*

Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:20 PM

QUOTE (stella80 @ 02/05/2012, 11:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for the replies so far original.gif

We have always eaten our dinner at the same time as DD and we make it a family thing so she can see how much we enjoy our dinner. I also try and make sure we have it at a good time so not too late. But I am giving her snacks in the afternoon. I keep getting told if she is hungry she will eat so don't healthy snacks count towards that? If she is hungry why wouldn't I?

I do try to make sure there are no snacks for 1 hour before dinner though. Maybe thats not enough? I don't know  shrug.gif Again, if she is hungry.....Also, during that time she is complaining and whinging for food and still doesn't eat her dinner so I'm not sure it is really a hunger thing, more an independence thing.

She is doing this thing now where she will refuse dinner, I take her out of her highchair without fuss and she will walk straight over to the fridge/cupboard  rant.gif

I'm not really talking about making her a whole other dinner, more so refering to giving her yogurt or something even if she refuses to eat dinner so I know she has something in her belly. Will this create a rod for my own back in the end?


For me personally I want meal times to be a fun and enjoyable and no pressure or fighting.

Id rather offer my toddler peanut butter on wholemeal toast, yohgurt or fruit at the end of a meal instead of him go hungry and want more milk.

We dont always get to eat together as a family, sometimes DS will be starving at 5:30pm and cant wait for dinner at 6 so ill just reheat a small portion of something healthy that I made earlier and then freeze the meal I was cooking that night for him to have later on or offer a little bit when we are eating.

I think the key thing is to remember is that just as long as you are giving plenty of healthy options through out the day your little one is doing great.

Toddlers are still only little and prefer small snacks rather than big meals at dinner time like us also their taste buds change all the time what they dont like today the might love tomorrow.

#17 Guest_Retro_Mumma_*

Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:29 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 02/05/2012, 02:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just wondering, do the posters that would make something different have only one child? I would have with my first, but wouldn't with my second. I don't care if they don't sleep so well or want more milk at bedtime, I wouldn't start them down the fussy road. Lesson learned.


Yep only the one child. It would make no difference to me if I had two because I just get two small portions of healthy dinners I have cooked earlier and reheat them.

If they dont eat them, the dogs can have it.

When they older what im planning on doing is what Jessica Sienfield does which is offer veggies first.

Put cut up veggies on the table with healthy dips as first course or a vege soup.
Second course will be a healthy main meal with pureed/ grated veggies hidden in it.

I love to eat while im cooking so it will be better for me too, to snack on veggies instead of "taste testing" the dinner or eating cheese.

#18 cheekybooby

Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:37 PM

Our last snack before dinner is 3.30, and dinner 5-5:30 DS wont eat after that he is too tired.  
You could try distracting her.  we used to read books at the table!!

#19 Rach42

Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:46 PM

I make my kids seperate meals because they generally are eating earlier than us - DP has always been a late eater so we eat what we like later on and I give the kids their dinner around 6:30 or 7.  I stick to the rule that they have to try it (I make their favourites a couple of nights a week and the rest I introduce new foods) but if they do and still don't like it I will make them a sandwich or something.  That is about my only rule regarding food.

Now they are a bit older and staying up later I am going to start eating together as a family more and so their meals and ours will start to be the same but I will still keep the same rule about them just having to try it.  Then they can always make themselves a sandwich or have some cereal if still hungry.

I try and look at it like this - if I am hungry I can get myself a snack so why can't the kids have snacks.  If it is close to dinner and they ask for something to eat I offer fruit or something like that (they always ask first so no concerns with them helping themselves to unhealthy stuff).

TBH I pick my battles - and the timing of said battles.  Sometimes it is easier to let it slide now and then deal with it when they are better able to be reasoned with.  I found it much easier to explain why I wanted them to eat when and what I provided for them when they were 4 rather than when they were 2.  

You can change what you do later on and it's not necessarily that hard.  I have done things differently depending on my current circumstances (working/not working, married/seperated) and the kids have always adapted pretty well.

Edited by Rach42, 03 May 2012 - 03:50 PM.


#20 lozoodle

Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:47 AM

I wouldn't. I did that with DD1, worried she'd go hungry, and I think that played a major part in it getting worse, she became SO picky and would refuse almost everything. It only improved once I got tough - we make the one meal, if she eats, she eats. If she doesn't she goes without. I make sure every meal has at least one component she likes, and there is always a piece of fruit offered after dinner (whether dinner is eaten or not, as I consider that part of the meal), but I wont make alternatives anymore.

My almost 18 month old can be picky sometimes, but generally eats pretty well. If she's fussy, I just leave it at that, no alternative is made. So far she is much more willing to try new things than DD1 ever was, and I also find that some nights I offer something and she'll refuse, but other nights she will gobble up the exact same thing.

I think its really important to just be consistent in your approach, offer things more than once, and not worry if they skip a meal here and there. DD1 was so terribly picky - she went over a year refusing all meat, all pasta, all rice, etc. It got worse and worse, and partly I think is my fault for enabling it.

#21 Penguin78

Posted 04 May 2012 - 12:56 PM

Maybe eating in front of the tele will prove a distraction to get her to eat

ph34r.gif

#22 tres-chic

Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:14 PM

DD is the same age and is going through that stage where she loves to sling 50-75% of everything I give her on the floor with gay abandon.

I just try to give her a range of small portions of different things so that she gets a bit of everything. I'm definitely not making her a second, different dinner to what her brothers are having anymore. She is old enough to eat what they are having. (Actually she's less fussy than DS1 but doesn't eat much of any one thing at the moment).

#23 YoBagaBaga

Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:08 PM

Our rule with DD is she is offered everything we have but she can choose what she has from what we have. Eg we had pumpkin soup with bread last week, she didn't want any pumpkin soup so just ate bread. I will not make a special meal just for her.

I don't want mealtimes to become an issue but I also don't want to encourage her to be picky.

(she also has a bottle at bedtime).




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