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Minnie80

Feeding and other issues

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Minnie80

Hi, 

I have several issues I need advice on, so will put it all in one thread.

1. So, my daughter is 17 months old. I posted recently that she didn't chew and only ate purees. Well six weeks ago, she did a massive u turn and is eating and chewing normal food. So, that is great. But the problem is that she refuses to let me feed her and insists on feeding herself. Now, I have a 4.5 year old who still wants me to feed him, so I was more than happy to ler her feed herself.  And we've been doing that for a month. But now I feel it was a mistake. She's still a baby, so most of the food lands on the floor and I'm not sure how much she is eating. Secondly, she doesn't understand how to eat properly. So, she will eat rice and pasta with her hand for example. So, I decided to start feeding her again, but she is totally refusing. She just clamps her mouth and shakes her head no. And I don't know how to fix this. Does anyone have advice?

2.She has become extremely clingy. She was always attached to me, but we reached a point where I can't walk out of the room for a minute without her throwing a fit.

3. She's a very sweet, quiet child, but for the last few weeks, she whines or low key cries all day. ALL DAY. She only has three words, so I'm not sure what is bothering her. She will point and if I don't understand, she gets frustrated. And the whining goes on and on. We had a check up a couple of weeks ago and things were fine. Although, I forgot to mention the whining. But did anyone have experience with this at this age? 

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Redchick2

Sounds like an absolutely typical 17 month old to me! (Sorry not a lot of help!)

In regard to food, let her eat the way she wants to eat. You won’t win a battle with a toddler on this one and it is fantastic that she wants to be independent. Keep putting the cutlery 🍴 out for her and she will start to use it eventually (she sees you using it with your son) in your own time. The mess is terrible I know - do you have a messy mat you could put on the floor? If she’s not getting enough to eat I’m sure she will let you know!

My boys went through a clingy stage at about the same age as your daughter and I think it is fairly common. You mentioned that she’s also been whining a fair bit lately - perhaps it’s teething? I also found this age difficult as I think my boys wanted to be do things but they weren’t capable and couldn’t tell me what they wanted. Unfortunately I don’t have a solution for that one either but it will pass. Also keep in mind that it’s ok if she is upset sometimes - you have to leave the room and she will learn that you do come back.  
 

🤗

 

RC2

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GingerbreadWoman

That all sounds very normal based on my child at that age too, but yes, it is frustrating! 
My child once tried to eat soup with her hands... childcare sent me a photo of the aftermath, it was everywhere! 😄Instead of a bib, they gave her an art smock to wear next time they had soup! (We just did not eat soup at home, or spaghetti bolognaise, for about six months.) Mealtimes were very very messy, but she was determined to do it herself.  I did end up giving her a lot of ‘finger food’ rather than things that required cutlery, particularly for meals earlier in the day, and saved messier things for right before bath time. 
So little sandwiches, sticks of veggies, plain pasta, cut up rissoles, meatballs, chunks of cooked pumpkin or sweet potato, etc. and just let her eat her way.  
My daughter was often clingy and whining just before a big development leap. I think it was her frustration at not quite being able to do what she wanted yet. It did get much better once she had more words and could communicate what she wanted.



 

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Froggilicious
Posted (edited)

I’m with the others. One of the only thing she has any control over is what she puts in her mouth. If she doesn’t want to let you feed her you won’t be able to feed her. Try not to worry about how much she is eating. If she’s growing and otherwise healthy she must be getting enough food. Also playing with foods is how kids learn about food texture and consistency etc. so allowing some play can be really useful in avoiding fussy eating (not a panacea though). With that, using cutlery requires a lot of fine motor control that toddlers don’t generally possess, so they prefer using fingers so they can get more food in more easily. 


I’d try not to worry too much and instead focus on strategies  to reduce the amount of cleaning I’d have to do. Use a massive bib and a mess mat under her chair or feed her outside where possible. My dogs loved having toddlers in the house lol. 

Edited by Froggilicious
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wallofdodo

Let her feed herself.  It will get messy, but she seems to be at that stage where she wants to do everything for herself.

 

About the whining, mine still whine all day. But at her age, maybe she is about to make a development change. Just hug her lots if she lets you. 

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blackcat20
Posted (edited)

17 months, definitely let her feed herself. My 16 month old has been feeding herself since before she was one. Eating with their hands is completely normal, though its also a good time to give her a baby fork or spoon so she can learn how to use them.

Also, clingy is really normal for this age. My daughter completely breaks down if I leave her, doesnt want dad at all. Its just a developmental stage.

Edited by blackcat20
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Bethlehem Babe

I found the easiest way to work out how much food they actually ate was to look at the nappies. Kinda yucky but you can see the food in the poo. 
 

Toddlers are great at working out how much they need. Sometimes it seems like they run on air, but lots of little meals and not too much milk and she will have plenty. 

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blackcat20

Lots of easy snacks too; I use rice cakes, grapes, sultanas, cheese sticks etc for snacks between meals. They certainly let you know when they are hungry.

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CrankyM
Posted (edited)

Let her feed herself. It’s actually great for her to get her hands into it, it really good for working on fine motor control and developing types of grips. Of courses it is messy, but it’s part of learning and developing. You can model using a spoon and she will eventually pick it up. I found the easiest thing to do was to put a table cloth under the chair she sat in and then I could just fold it up and get rid of the food that way. If the mess is annoying try types of snacks like crackers and chunks of fruit that don’t “squash/mash”. Toddlers are pretty good at recognising they are getting enough.   
 

Nappies will show that she’s getting enough. 
This age is also normal for clinging and whinging. Some of it could be frustrating with communication but it’s also part of the age where development of self happens and they start realising that other people are separate and can leave. Hence some separation anxiety and clinginess. When she whines get on her level and model some language. Ask if she wants a drink and repeat it a few times. Or similar questions. I’m glad to hear things are improving Minnie. 

Edited by CrankyM
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NikiOne

Just put the food in front of her and let her eat it. All you have to do is watch for chocking and clean up after. It's her job to decide how much to eat. Actually my 2yo just found some food (hopefully from last night) on the floor and cleaned that up by eating it. RELAX!!!!

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MsLaurie

My 18mo old likes to use a fork/spoon, but the moment it’s not working she drops them on the floor and goes straight in with her hands! So much mess!

It might help your son with his feeding too to see her eating independently- maybe try setting out some platters of cut up veggies, cheese, some crackers etc that you can all share and eat with your hands independently.

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3babygirls

17 months is definitely more than old enough to feed herself. 
There needs to be a period of them trying it out for themselves to actually understand how to do it. You feeding her isn't going to magically make her feed herself perfectly straight away, it's all about trial and error.

We did baby led weaning with both of ours, so i've literally never fed them. My 15 month old is perfect with a fork now and is pretty darn good even eating yoghurt or soup with a spoon. There's been months of mess, but that's what learning is all about. If it really freaks you out, buy a big sheet of plastic (or a splat mat) to put under her high chair and enjoy the fun! Watching kids feeding themselves is really great, I love seeing them mastering this new skill and being independent. 
My 3 year old sometimes decides that dinner is too yummy to bother with a fork and might eat a few bites using her hand and that's totally fine, I don't imagine that she will still be doing that at 30.  Even if she does use her hands, does it really matter? 

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blackcat20
2 minutes ago, MsLaurie said:

My 18mo old likes to use a fork/spoon, but the moment it’s not working she drops them on the floor and goes straight in with her hands! So much mess!

It might help your son with his feeding too to see her eating independently- maybe try setting out some platters of cut up veggies, cheese, some crackers etc that you can all share and eat with your hands independently.

My daughter occasionally hands me her spoon to scoop food up when she's finding it too hard. And it has to be me, not dad :rofl:

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CrankyM

Potentially you could also lose the high chair and go with a smaller chair. My kids used something like this setting for years. As you can see hands got used for a while. Food with “handles” are good too. So things like chops or similar with the bone. Using flat bread or similar for a base. You can get big pasta shapes. 

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seayork2002

We put a shower curtain down and left ds to it

Ds sounded like in your op

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NikiOne

I have a clingy 2 yo. She was 6 months before she accepted going from me to her father and I was surprised that she left my arms long enough to learn to walk. I mastered all kind of tasks with her in my arms - peeling carrots, taking out contact lenses - along with much screaming. She wouldn't go near her Granny (who she saw weekly) until she was over 18 months. We are in Melb and I'm vulnerable healthwise so we have been isolating since March. In that time the 2yo has only had contact with 4 adults and 3 kids in our little bubble, she sees lots of people on our walks without interacting with them. But then the other day in the park I saw a friend who the 2yo hadn't seen since pre-COVID and had a conversation with her standing 5m apart, our 2yo literally climbed up my legs and went full koala in my arms - sigh. It will be interesting to see how she goes when Melbourne finally gets out of lockdown. I'm not too worried but she is getting a little heavy lol. So OP you are not alone in having a clingy lo.

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can'tstayaway

My youngest is 10 so I’ve blocked out much of the horrors of the toddler tears in my mind. 😆  I agree with the PPs that she sounds developmentally consistent with her age. She might be different to her brother but they’re all individuals. My 3 kids were all different, which I found difficult at the time but they do grow past this stage eventually. It’s just a matter of you surviving it with your sanity intact 😂

My eldest wanted to feed himself so I learned to do lots of finger food with eat meal.  I would have two spoons on the tray and it allowed him to try and practice and I could sneak spoonfuls in without him realising.  I know it’s ok to leave them to it, but there were times I needed him to eat up quickly because we had to go out so helping to feed him would speed it up.  A hungry child is also not fun if they’re taking too long to eat  I always found it was better to feed them before they were obviously hangry because it became impossible trying to reason with a hangry toddler.  I had a high chair that had a removable tray lid thing which made it easy to clean.  I used the whole tray as their plate.  It did get messy but it was just a stage and it did end.  

One of my other children was an efficient eater  They wanted to go and play so would accept spoon feeding to get it over and done with quickly.  

I remember stages where my children went through clingy stages.  I found a sling to be useful for wearing them.  They felt close and secure and I could still get jobs done.  It was almost guaranteed to get them to fall asleep.  It was frustrating at the time but again, it does pass.

The whinging sounds normal too.  Sometimes along with the clinginess, it can be just before she jumps to the next developmental stage.  If you believe she’s otherwise healthy, just give her plenty of reassurance.  

And make sure you’re getting enough support too.  Think about what you need to recharge yourself - it’s different for everyone. I remember at one stage, loving having DH distract the kids for x hours so that I could properly clean the house.  I was given suggestions of going to the movies/coffee/whatever but what I actually valued was not ‘regular’ but it soothed me.  It changed over time too.  Other stages, I enjoyed going for a walk by myself without having to manage a pram, learner bike rider and carry enough snacks and water bottles to survive (what felt like) a week in the desert.  Then at another stage, I wanted a night away in a hotel room with room service, clean sheets and towels that I did not have to pick up or wash.  

It does get better 😁

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Hands Up

At that stage, up until about 2, the toddler would have a spoon, I would have a spoon and also toddler with finger food in their other chubby little fist. That way some food got in and they felt independent. Splatter may on the floor and sometimes the high chair had to be hoses down outside!

All sounds absolutely normal to me 🙂

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Minnie80

Thanks everyone for responding and for the tips. 

I didn't know that whining could signal a new developmental leap. That's interesting. She's also had a stomach bug the last ten days, which could be making her grumpy. But honestly, the whining has been going on for weeks.

We've been stuck home together since mid March because of corona, which could be making the clinginess worse, since she doesn't see that many people. Just us really.

Regarding the feeding. I'm not too bothered with the mess. I used to shower her first thing in the morning, but now moved it to after lunch, because that is literally the most messy meal. So, I just shower her after. I just feel she's too young to take full control of her nutritional intake lol. I worry that she eats only the rice and ignores the veggies for example. But as people here said, it's useless to fight with toddlers. And I like the idea of offering more finger foods and other tips. Thank you!!!

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blackcat20

Keep offering the same veggies. When things become familiar they are more likely to try them.

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PrincessPeach

My 4 year old still prefers to use his hands to eat rather than use the cutlery provided, it’s quicker so let her go for it. Surprisingly they get enough in, but if you don’t want her to eat something, don’t offer it first - offer the veggies then the rice/pasta.

Actually even my 6 year old ate half his dinner with his hands tonight.

 

 

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seayork2002

I made sure there was one thing on ds's plate with the other foods and let him decide what he ate

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Crazyone26989

My DS (13 months) is spoon fed at daycare but we have always done Baby Led Weaning at home so has fed himself since 6 months. He sometimes uses a spoon and fork but prefers his hands. Yes, it can be messy. Yes, there are phases where he avoids his veggies. If it’s been a particularly tiring day I’ll make something less messy (think stir fry with a bit of soy sauce not saucy spaghetti). I also always put veggies in and after a few days he comes around and eats them. 

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Jenflea

DD loved raw veggies such as strips of red capsicum(actually, she used to eat them like apples *chomp chomp*) or cucumber or avocado. 

Fried rice with the veggies cut really small will get some in her, or pureed veggies smeared onto flat breads. 

At 10, she still loves pearl couscous with grated veggies(carrots, zucchini and spring onion and garlic) cooked in with it.  

 

Let her gnaw on pizza crust covered in tomato sauce and cheese. 

Mix veggies in tomato sauce with pasta. 

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Jenflea

oh and get child sized cutlery, it's so much easier for them to manoeuvre into their mouth. 

I still use smaller cutlery for 10 yr old DD (she also loves that she has 'her' cutlery.  Mini splaydes that match ours too lol. 

 

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