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How do I get him to eat??

Forum: 2010 Playroom


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January 22nd, 2012, 05:55 PM
kellysensei's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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DH and I are at our wit's end with Gabriel when it comes to eating. There are only about six foods he will eat consistently: yogurt, string cheese, strawberries, canned fruit, pancakes, and cookies. *Sometimes* he will eat bananas, muffins, and hot dogs. Everything else, he absolutely refuses to put in his mouth lately. He clamps his mouth shut whenever we try to feed him anything else. It is sooo frustrating. He threw a whole plate of ravioli on the floor today; good thing our carpet cleaning got rescheduled for later this week! We offered mac n' cheese and peas for dinner tonight and he didn't eat a single bite.

Does anyone have any suggestions how to get a 19-month-old to eat?? If he doesn't eat what we offer, do we give in and give him yogurt or something?

Evan James (2/18/12) and Gabriel Anthony (6/5/10)

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January 23rd, 2012, 04:52 AM
handymandy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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If you figure this out, please let me know. I am absolutely no help. We have the same problem. There are only certain foods that Elliot will eat. Even stuff that she used to enjoy, she refuses now. I have googled this to death. Most places say to give them the food and ignore them. If they are hungry they will eat. If they don't want to eat it don't offer them anything else. Which, I disagree with. I hate to think that my kid is hungry and I could give her something that she WOULD eat, but they say not to. I always break and give her something she will eat. I have taken some of their advice and not made it a big deal. I used to get so frustrated when she wouldn't eat what I originally make her. Now, if she doesn't eat it I will leave it there and make her a PB and J (which she will usually eat) and call it done. It's their choice if they are going to eat it, you can't force them.

Someone might have better advice. Good luck!

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January 23rd, 2012, 06:33 AM
kimmiejo's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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My daughter was like that and still is a super pick! my only advice is to offer the foods and he will eat when he is hungry. I used to stress all the time with her and our pedi said "it is your job to offer healthy foods, it is her job to eat them" so that's what I do I offer foods and if she eats she eats and if not then she doesn't. I try to make sure there is at least one thing on the menu that I know she likes and will eat and if she refuses her meal I keep it for later and that is what she gets for a snack she almost always eats it at that point without complaint. The same applies for Sam but he is generally a pretty good eater. I don't know but I can tell you so far she hasn't starved herself and she is tiny but still a healthy weight. I do not make eating a battle because it isn't a battle I will win and I don't want food to become a stress for anyone, so I just try to ensure healthy eating habits and go with the flow. If she flat out refuses to eat I just say "ok you can eat it later when you are hungry." the only time I make an alternate meal is if I am making something that I know for sure they don't like, for instance fish, neither of my kids like it and that's ok so I make them something else to substitute. So long as there is no medical concern my best advice is to relax about it and try not to stress, for us when I would stress it would make things worse. Another thing is presentation sometimes, like if you make a sandwich cut it into a fun shape or instead of dicing up meat cut it into strips, offer something to dip stuff in (my kids love dipping in honey mustard or ranch, even things you wouldn't think should be dipped haha) simple things like that sometimes make a big difference around here. Good luck, it is frustrating I know!
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January 23rd, 2012, 09:58 AM
who_it_is's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I totally agree with Kim. Unless there is some medical issue (and I was going to ask if you've checked with your Pedi to see what he/she thinks) then offer and if they refuse that's the end of it. I've also been told that it's my job as parent to offer healthy food choices and encourage healthy eating habits, kids job is to eat that food. Since they are still learning their job, there are bound to be good days and not good days, but it's still our job to offer healthy foods consistently. I've also been told how important variety is, so it's important to offer different things daily. Doesn't mean you offer a lot of it, just a small portion - remember toddler portions sizes are TINY. So 1/4 of a sandwich, a small piece of fruit, just a few bits of vegetable, etc. And presentation does matter - maybe dipping a new fruit into yogurt would work, or something like turkey and cheese sandwiched in the middle of a savory pancake.

Like Kim, I try to make sure there is at least one thing on the menu that I know they will like, but other than that I offer what the rest of us are having. If they are hungry they will eat. I would turn into a short order cook with 3 kids all picking and choosing their way through meal times. And while I would be happy to do that for a toddler, continuing the same for a 13 year old and 10 year old is just not going to work at our house - so better to not start that routine in the first place IMO.

To the Amazing Kelly: Thank you once again!! Amazing only begins to cover it.
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January 26th, 2012, 08:29 PM
Oreobaby's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Rayanne is generally a good eater, so I'm really no help sorry. I was told once that as long as they are eating, then they are ok...keep offering the food they don't want now, and who knows, one day they may surprise you.

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January 27th, 2012, 03:26 AM
LJD3Tdance's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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If he doesn't have a weight issue, you just keep offering and trying, but accept that what he's doing is actually OK even if it doesn't seem that way. If he does have a weight issue, then you talk to the Pediatrician about what to do. Some kids are just picky, and they grow up to eat too much sometimes, so nobody needs to force them to eat when they don't want to (I did this.)

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January 27th, 2012, 06:26 AM
cfm's Avatar
cfm cfm is offline
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Ditto Kim and Lisa. I know it seems impossible not to stress about it but you'll make yourself crazy if you don't just kind of let it go. How do get him to eat? You can't. You can't make him. Give him his supper, sit down as a family and eat. If he eats, great. If he doesn't too bad. Feed him what the family is eating and eat together as a family.

I honestly don't know what ds ate from ages 2-3. I think he survived a year on 3 bites alone. He's still not a huge supper eater but he sits with us and eats up when he's hungry. He eats a good breakfast and lunch and healthy snacks but dinner is crap shoot. If Holly doesn't eat her dinner I usually leave it on the counter and she'll pull up a chair when she's hungry and help herself. Not ideal, I suppose, but it works.

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February 1st, 2012, 01:36 PM
flitabout's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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That is all you can do is keep offering the food. My oldest ate everything in site. Then one day he woke up and would only eat mac and cheese. Not ice cream, not cookies, not hot dogs, spaghetti. Just mac and cheese. It is a phase and it will pass.

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February 3rd, 2012, 12:40 PM
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Yep, so long as he isn't losing weight, just keep offering a healthy variety (fresh fruit ALWAYS goes over well around here, better than just about anything else, except fresh muffins, lol). They DO eventually eat. My kids both go through phases of eating "nothing" and then I can't fill them up for a few weeks and then they hardly put anything in their mouths again. Drives me crazy sometimes, but hey, they're both growing and healthy, so what's it matter? If he's losing weight, talk to the doctor about it, but usually kids will outgrow food strikes without any detrimental effects.
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February 3rd, 2012, 01:23 PM
kellysensei's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thanks, ladies. It's so frustrating. All he's eaten today is a frozen (heated up) pancake and 1/2 cereal bar, and it's 2:30. We've offered oatmeal, fries, chicken nuggets, and crackers, to no avail. It's like he's a newborn on a liquid diet again. He wouldn't even take yogurt last night. I hope it passes soon.

Evan James (2/18/12) and Gabriel Anthony (6/5/10)

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