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Eating Battles

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  • MrsS1stbaby MrsS1stbaby's Avatar 02-18-11 | 11:13 AM
  • My lil one is not too picky when it comes to food; she actually likes a lot of things, different types of foods, and the stuff she doesn't like is sort cute when she says it and most of it makes sense.

    But lately she has been become increasingly frustrating to share a meal with. She eats so slow, so dinner time becomes an event and leaves hardly any time for playing before bath & bed, which then upsets her. Or she plays with her food, taking it off the plate & pretending it is a dog or boat and rubbing it on the table. The other day she made mashed potato balls, but mainly just rubbed mashed potatoes all over her hands and made a mess.

    What is more frustrating is that just plain not eating- she will take a few bites, drink all her drink (milk or juice) and proclaim she is done or that she wants out of her chair. I started taking her drink away & telling she has to eat a few more bites, so she pouts and pushes her plate away. After several times of trying to entice her to eat, I finally get fed up and say "Ok, you are done. But no snacks later!" B/C EVERY TIME, about 20 minutes later, she says she is hungry and wants a snack. So Dh & started saving her unfinished dinner & telling her beforehand that if she comes to us saying she is hungry again after dinner, that THIS is her snack- no crackers, no cheese, nada; just her dinner again. And almost always she ends up eating a few more bites of her dinner about 30-40 minutes later. Not quite finishing again, but eating a bit more. Last night she ate the rest of dinner after her bath.

    Or she throws fit when we are setting the table b/c she wants to sit in Daddy's chair or my chair instead of her booster seat.

    In fact, we usually experience all 4 of these in one sitting! Anyone else going through this phase? Please tell me it is a phase! At first thought maybe it was her appetite waning as she gets older, but seriously she would eat snacks all day long if we let her. Or cookies; she really likes dessert. Some days she gobbles up her food with no issues, but more often than not it is a stress-inducing situation. It's even getting hard to go out to eat with her b/c she will do the same thing at a restaurant. Whatever it is, I am SO tired of it!

    Last edited by MrsS1stbaby; 02-18-11 at 11:17 AM..
  • lauralkemp lauralkemp's Avatar 02-18-11 | 12:35 PM
  • Joseph is a picky eater much to my dismay. I make him something he'll eat for dinner but he is slow about some things some things he gobbles down THe frustrating part for us that what he likes/dislikes or eats/won't eat changes each time. I do find the fewer snacks he has during the day the more he eats at lunch and dinner.

    He is often more willing to eat something off my plate then a plate of his own which is how I sneak vegetable in diet. I make some rice and vegetable mix and hell see the rice which he likes and try it and get the vegetable in the process. We also stopped making him sit in a booster seat. He understands that he is being treated as a big boy and does somewhat better then if he HAD to sit in the booster.
    When we go out we just tell him if he can't sit and eat we'll put him in the highchair like a baby. Works 90% of the time.
  • koala_kaper koala_kaper's Avatar 02-18-11 | 04:07 PM
  • My kids eat well if it's something they like, but the girls are kinda picky (Athemia's the worst!) I;ve tried the "if you're hungry you can finish your lunch or dinner before you get any snacks" and it hasn't worked (So that's a plus for you! At least she'll come back to it!) I've tried "no snacks until the next meal if you don't eat" and they just don't care (until they want a snack, then they get pretty angry sometimes when we say no!)

    So I guess I'm really no help either! Sorry and I hope it gets better!
  • 3Princes 02-18-11 | 10:36 PM
  • Sounds like she's jockeying for control, and winning!
    It seems like you have some good natural consequences in place though-- not eating in a timely manner means less or no playtime before bed.

    Doesn't sound like an eating problem at all, but a control issue on her part. If it were me, I'd set the rules before dinner, and I'd also tell her how long dinner lasts, even though she's still pretty little. I might even consider setting a timer, or moving dinner time up. I'm sure you as her mom know when she's playing and when she's truly eating.
    Then, when dinner's over, it's over. I wouldn't offer her food again, or anything else for that matter. Why would she eat it the first time around if she can pick at it for the rest of the night whenever she wants? I'd just cheerfully say, "whelp! Dinner's over!" and take her plate away. You say she's a good eater, so she won't starve; she'll wake up hungry and eat a super good breakfast for you.

    You're lucky if you have dh there at night to help out with this. It's hard for me to go it solo with my control-freak, because after awhile I just really want to scream and/or give in. That's the hardest part for me. He spends a lot of time in the living room crying because he's melting down at the table over the wrong cup/undesirable meal item/ amount of dippy on his plate/the fact that dinner isn't actually on the table when I ask him to wash up. When he calmsdown, he's more than welcome back at the table. I know my son is older, but he is a particularly hard egg, and this has been going on for some time.
    Good luck!
Thank you 3Princes!
MrsS1stbaby (02-18-11)

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