Should I let my child go to sleep without supper.

Nqobile - posted on 06/25/2010 ( 38 moms have responded )

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My baby girl is 18 months and she is very pickky when it come to her meals.I have tried every trick in the book,but they just don't work.She would eat breakfast,skip lunch and then when it is supper,tha is another story.If she dosen't eat she would have about 6 bottles in the evning,she dosen't sleep well and that is not good for her.She like dairy product more,but that's not all she needs to be healthy and strong.So should I just let it go when she dosen't eat?

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Minnie - posted on 06/25/2010

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Oh, for goodness sake, people... this is an 18 month old we're talking about. Not a seven year old.

She's not going to learn from going to bed hungry. There are some days that my 20 month old takes mostly my milk and doesn't eat many solids. These are children barely out of infancy.

LOL- she's not 'playing' you! She's still a baby. I would not worry too much. Perhaps give her more interesting fare, and YOU eat it too, with her! Maybe sit some morsels in an icecube tray for her to pick at during the day.

Renae - posted on 06/25/2010

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Almost all 18mo babies are picky eaters, it is completely normal. No you should not send her to bed without dinner. With toddlers the professionals say to offer them a variety of food and let them choose what they want to eat. They also say not to turn eating into a battle of wills as that only makes the problem worse. There is a dr phil episode on this, I'm sure its on their website.

Rosie - posted on 06/25/2010

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My daughter has always been a nightmare to feed. She doesn't eat much for breakfast or lunch. I have allowed her to help make her own sandwich or put butter on her toast etc and that seems to work a bit as she has got a bit more involved. Also for lunch I have been doing a picnic style lunch, you know blancket on the floor some of her favourite dolls and lots of bowls with different foods in them. Crisps, grapes, tomatoes, chocolate things, fruit and a drink each. My daughter can then choose what she likes and also try new things. Eating with other children has helped Ella as well because she wants to copy the other kids. I always feel like my daughter eats the same kinds of foods and doesn't get a real varied diet but all of us usually get the same things from the shops each week and eat the same things so I try not to worry about it too much. It is very disheartening when they don't eat what you have made them but if they are hungry they will eat. x

Minnie - posted on 06/25/2010

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Amanda: I have never forced my own 20 month old to eat a particular food and would never concider sending her to bed hungry.

She is breastfed on demand and is an extremely adventurous eater, willing to try anything I give her. I did not have to 'teach' her to be like this by playing hard-ball. She has the option of solely nursing if she chooses- however she chooses to eat solids as well.

I believe that each child develops at his or her own pace. Perhaps moving on to a cup would be helpful- but the point of my post was that a child that young should not be denied sustenance simply because she does not eat what is on her plate.

It really isn't a control issue. Dont know why parents need to imagine things out of the air.

[deleted account]

In my house the rules are you eat what you are given and only once you have can you have treats/ desserts (I do this when I look after my nephews who are notoriously bad eaters and they eat what is given to them at the table and when my son is older this will be his rule too).

Children will not starve themselves and once they realise that you mean what you are saying (and you don't give in and just feed them up with things they will eat) they will eat what is given. Nutrition at this age is really important because it is setting the building blocks for their future eating habits. If your daughter does wake up in the night offer her some very basic food if she really needs it - supper is not a majorly important meal though so as long as she has had dinner she should be fine, maybe try offering her a glass of milk and a biscuit before bed. Good luck.

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Krissy - posted on 03/09/2011

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I'm not a fan of bottles after a certain age. My kids weren't very "baby"... in fact, my son choose to throw away the bottle at 10 months and HE refused to take one. I still gave him some formula in a sippy for a while, but he moved onto cows milk.

All three of mine had no issues quitting the bottle. But I remember babysitting a girl that had a bottle til after three. It was hard work for her mom to get her off it when she finally had to.

Anyway, I think the main issue is not if you give your child a bottle, but the fact that you let her drink six of them at night!!! wow!!! That seems like way too much!

Honestly, I would start by telling her that she is only getting one bottle at night. She won't starve on one bottle... but I would also cater a little on the meals until she's eating better. I would go ahead and figure at least one thing on the table that you know she's likely to eat at least a few bites of. Also, if you put just tiny dabs on her plate, she's more likely to eat that, and then you can put another dab on.

Anyway, good luck, but I agree with the moms who think that you are giving her too much milk. I'm not as concerned about now, but I don't see her choosing to suddenly become a good eater on her own.

Nqobile - posted on 06/28/2010

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Thank you Christine,and you are right.I think she knows that she gets me worked up when it's feeding time.I should try make feeding time a fun time.

Christine - posted on 06/28/2010

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find an interesting way to feed her sing and play while eating ,cut down the milk ,give plenty of water probably she is always full of milk thus not hungry n reason why she will not sleep well is coz she gets hungry,give her small quantities of food at intervals.and no she should always have her supper so she can rest well kids grow in their sleep

Nqobile - posted on 06/28/2010

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Thank you thank you so much ladies,I feel so much better that I am not alone.I will try all of your advice,and I realy think I should take her off the bottles,and try the sippy cups.I will keep on the dairy products,I am also thinking of doing the picnic idea(that is good a idea),Thank you again ladies enjoy your day.

Andrea - posted on 06/27/2010

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My suggestion dont let her have the bottles if dont have them she will have to eat and she figure that out she isnt going to let her self stave

. She knows you give them to here and if it filling her up even 6 bottle. yeah she going to refuse to eat she dont have to she gets a bottle. That right there is what my daughter dr told me at 7 months because she wont eat and baby food. He also told me I have a very stubborn baby and she knows what she wants and that the bottle and she has a mommy that will give her whatever she wants. Sound like that applys to you to. Take the bottle is she looking at that for her food source instead of actual food. Plus she not of formula so she really doesnt need it any way

Heather - posted on 06/27/2010

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My oldest son loves dairy products. So when he wants milk I give him milk with Nestle with the extra vitamins and minerals. And unless your kid is made to eat, which I don't mine, they pretty much eat when they want to. Depending on how active they are. He also eats a lot of string cheese and yogurt. But atleast it's not a bottle. My oldwest son just turned one and he don't even have a bottle, and I am not trying to be a smarty pants, but it is really bad for their teeth to still be on a bottle. Gerber makes really good traing cups, my sons love thier cups period....

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Sarah, I do agree for the most part - but you should be careful in making such sweeping statements such as NO child will starve themselves etc.... for the most part that is true, but unfortunately is not true for all children. I am not a soft touch, and certainly not one for cooking 3 separate meals for 3 different kids. My philosophy was they eat what is in front of them - if they don't like it, well they can get down and eat at snack time, and then again at the next meal.....kinda figured I'd got it sussed. However my first was that exception! He would starve himself rather than eat something he didn't want. We later discovered he was food phobic as well as having food allergies to dairy and soya. He learnt (before we knew) that food hurt him. Even touching a pea was a massive deal, and he certainly couldn't bear to have it on his plate! He was the same whether I put sweets/chocolate or savoury food. There are also kids with special needs that may also have food issues too.
Sooooo all that kinda made me aware that kids are all different and for the most part general 'rules' apply, but there are always exceptions. Our goal of not cooking separate meals still applied - we just realised it was gonna take us a lot longer to get there! I went slowly and carefully with him - I certainly didn't want to create extra food issues. Years later he mainly eats what is in front of him - if he doesn't like it, then it's simply removed at the end of the meal. He may have a piece of fruit during meals but he has to wait till the next meal.

Sarah - posted on 06/27/2010

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i agree with cutting down on the bottles and switching her to a sippy cup! as for the picky eater... my friend is a picky eater and its because her parents let her not eat what was given to her! when i was younger if i didn't eat what was given to me it sat on the table for a lil while and eventually i'd get hungry, and go back and eat it! my mom wasn't going to make me special food because i didn't want to eat what she had given me! my doctor told me... i run a daycare that no child will starve themselves if they get hungry they will eat whatever you put in front of them! right now i watch a 16 month old and let me tell you he knows which people he can get to do what he wants and what people he needs to follow the rules with! at 18 months old they are not stupid by any means they know that if they do certain things around certian people they can get their way! i would just keep sitting her down and giving her normal meals... try to get her to eat it and if she doesn't let her get down for awhile... when she starts acting hungry again put her back up and give her the same food you offered her before! eventually if she is hungry she will eat whats given to her and over time she will learn that she won't get away with eating just bottles!

Melissa - posted on 06/27/2010

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First, try to work on getting her off the bottle. She doesn't need them at this age.

Second, just offer a variety of foods at meal time. Something she particularly likes..fruit? yogurt? Macaroni? If she doesn't eat, she just doesn't eat it. I used to worry myself silly because my daughter wouldn't eat and I finally just decided she would eat when she was hungry. Will I send her to bed hungry if she didn't eat dinner? Absolutely not. Telling someone that they can't have something to eat because they didn't eat when YOU wanted to is not something I agree with. So, just have a variety of foods at meals and if she wants it great if not try again later.

Good luck!

Brandy - posted on 06/27/2010

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She needs to eat solids if she is going to start sleeping at night. Try giving her a variety of foods at dinner and things she can pick at with her fingers like cheese and boiled veggies and pasta. If she doesn't eat much at dinner time, offer it to her an hour or two later or even make some toast with jam for a bedtime snack.

[deleted account]

Gosh...... I have to say not all kids eat when they are hungry. I have a VERY strong willed child and he only ate b'fast for 3 days because he refused to eat what I put in front of him. I made sure b'fast was something I knew he would eat. You cannot force a child to eat. I had to decide if food was going to become a battle field. In the end I decided no, as I had other battles to deal with! 3 days showed me he was one tough cookie! End result - he ate the same food for b'fast, lunch and dinner for over a year! Not the healthiest or the best, but def. not the worst either! Over the next 6yrs we were very patient, and kept introducing new foods. He has a healthy varied diet now, but boy it's been a long slow process and he's still not keen to try new stuff!

Soooo I would start again.....offer a good 3 meals a day with variety, avoiding sugary and processed foods and start with foods you know she likes. This should begin getting her in a good routine of eating. If your child is asking for food inbetween meals, then think about raisins or fruit as an alternative. If it is too close to meal time, then bring meal time forward a bit, or only offer a very small snack to tide them over. Try and eat meals together. Only give milk after a meal (if at all) One milk drink before bed is more than sufficient. If she asks for more, then say no. If she is hungry then offer her some food - ideally you have given her 3 good meals with maybe some snacks all of food she likes, so ideally she shouldn't need extra before bed. You want to be careful not to set up an expectation that she will have another meal right before bed.....
keep a diary of what she eats and when for a week to see progress. Work in new foods slowly once you feel she is in a good routine with eating. Don't fuss over an odd meal - I certainly don't feel like eating 3 meals a day and will often miss one, but do make sure it's healthy and not filling up on empty snacks like crisps/chips.

Dania - posted on 06/27/2010

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I think you are giving her way too many bottles. Cut down no the bottles and replace the bottles with foods you know she likes. If she doesn't eat supper DO NOT give her a bottle instead. Trust me she will only go to be hungry so many times before she starts to eat whats put before her. I have a picky eater son like that. He doesn't like to try new things and he acts like he doesn't like much. I never give him a plate full of all his hated foods, so i know there is something on his plate he WILL eat and i at least make him try a bite of the other. When he doesn't eat it isn't replace with an alternate food and he doesn't get to snack or get dessert. That process didn't kill him, he is a healthy, happy well adjusted 15 year old.

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my doctor said children have control over what they eat, that they out put and what they say. I have been worried about my kids not eating like they should and he said do not worry. As long as when you go to the doctor they see that she is on track for weight then she is fine. I would always offer food over her bottle of milk first. I would offer milk in a cup with her meal, and then you can go from there. After the meal I would then offer her the bottle if that is what you choose to do. All kids are differnt, and it takes them differnt time to wean. IDK why people are on you for that when people breast feed way longer.

Shalah - posted on 06/26/2010

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Limit her milk to only whats recomended for her age. And make sure she's eaten before she gets the milk. Milk acts like a solid in our digestion, so it fills you up and leaves no room for food. My younger son was heavy on the milk, and I had to take it away to get him to eat meals, even after he started school he would drink milk and not want dinner! Holding off on the milk will increase her appetite, she'll get hungry and learn to fulfill her hunger with food instead.

Jasleen - posted on 06/26/2010

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hi,I have noticed that when there is not anything interesting on the table only then my son goes like that.
So, try giving her something she loves, like some junk/finger food for some days like homemade french fries or chicken nuggets then add food u want her to eat.Also try feeding her some fruit maybe an hour before the meals,that helps them clear their stomach for real meal.have u tried giving her that "pediasure/nutripals" kind of stuff instead of milk.
Also dont give in dont remove her plate from table until she is done,if she is hungry she wont be able to sleep,when that happens ask her to eat food.
All the best.

Tammie - posted on 06/26/2010

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Hi, I agree with the other posts. You really need to just do it! Take the bottles away, it is a comfort thing for her not a need. Once she sleeps hungry a couple times she will get the hint that I need to eat. But she wants the familiar thing and that's a bottle. So take them away, give her a sippy cup at meal time water in between if she needs it and that is it! Good luck!

Jodi - posted on 06/25/2010

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Stina has a very good point: "Does your family eat together around the table?"

I ALWAYS found with my kids that they ate better if everyone else in the house was sitting and eating at the same time rather than off doin other things. So at the very least, whoever was home would sit and eat at the same time, and we would offer the same meal, and more often than not, they would eat well. The minute someone left the table, it was a distraction.

Angie - posted on 06/25/2010

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My doctor told me not to look at day to day nutrition as much as looking at nutrition over a few days. Children at this age are picky and there's not a lot you can do about it. Try taking away her bottle and moving to a sippy cup instead. She may not want to drink so much if it's in a different container. Jerry Seinfeld's wife wrote a great cookbook with ideas for getting children to eat more fruits and veggies.

User - posted on 06/25/2010

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Many children this age will not sit and eat a proper meal. It's not a behaviour issue, more the fact that they are physically designed to eat little and often, so they graze during the day rather than wait for hours then fill up on a big meal. Make sure you provide many healthy small meals and snacks during the day and keep a food diary for few days to monitor what he has.

I too would try and ditch the bottles, maybe by letting him choose a big boys cup, and giving his bottles to the "bottle fairy", who will leave a reward in return.

Joanna - posted on 06/25/2010

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I suggest letting her go to bed hungry a few nights. I bet she won't like it and, yes, there might be some sleepless nights, but eventually she'll learn if she doesn't want to be hungry at night then she will eat dinner.

And it's not even about the bottles (I don't know why everyone is saying "take them away, they should've been gone by 1!" etc etc, 1 isn't the magic number, but that's another argument), but she should be having SIX bottles in place of meals. If she doesn't eat dinner, then don't give her anything else, and if she's acting hungry, instead of a bottle, give her the leftover dinner she didn't eat, or, if that isn't an option, offer her a healthy snack alternative (my daughter loves having a yogurt or applesauce as a nightime snack and it fills her up).

Pamala - posted on 06/25/2010

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Does she not like what you fix for dinner or just not want it so she can have a bottle? Fix dinner for your family, If the 18mo old doesn't want that give her an alternative, bowl of ceral, peanut butter sandwich, something healthy. No snacks and no bottles. If that doesn't help going to bed hungry won't hurt her. May not do her a lot of good but it won't hurt her. How many times have you gone to bed without dinner? You survived and so will she. Talk to her pediatrician maybe she has some insight on what to do.
Lisa - if you think and 18mo old or even a 3mo old doesn't know how to play games, you are sadly mistaken. That is one of the first things they learn. "If I cry long and loud enough, I will get picked up"

Medic - posted on 06/25/2010

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Once again I agree with Sherri...I swear I am not stalking you... I make one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner and at 18 months my son said no for the sake of saying no. But he was in no way on the bottle or given snacks. He got sippy cups of milk and he was expected to sit at the table and eat with everyone and yes he did it because he was capable of that. I do however think that continueing to cater to your kids only sets them up to expect that in the future. And yes I have sent my son to bed hungry and you know what.....its only happened a few times and he now eats.

Sherri - posted on 06/25/2010

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I never said it was a control issue however, I have more than one child. I am not about to cater to everyones fancy every particular night. As I said not a restaurant so if you choose not to eat what is offered, which is usually main course, a side and veggies at that moment it is fine it will sit on the table till I clean up for the night, and it is a long time until next meal. Because if you are not hungry enough to eat your meal, you are most certainly not getting snacks instead.

Stina - posted on 06/25/2010

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At 18 mo, or any age for that matter, sending her to bed hungry is only going to result in a sleepless night for everybody.

Definitely get rid of the bottles.

At dinner, offer her the same that the family is eating plus a few of her favorites. She likes dairy so make a bit of yogurt or cheese available to her.

In the evening when she gets hungry for her usual bottles, set her up at the table again for an evening 'snack' offer her the milk in a sippy cup and one of her other favorite things. She likes to eat breakfast? Maybe a before bed bowl of oatmeal, some fruit and cottage cheese.

Quick question: Does your family eat together around the table?

Sherri - posted on 06/25/2010

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I agree she is much to old for a bottle. She should have been off them completely by 12mo's. That will solve that problem completely. She is no longer a baby she is a toddler and should be treated as such. She will not starve herself. Rule in my house is you eat what is put in front of you because I am not a restaurant and it is a very long time to go without eating until your next meal. If they choose not to eat right then I just leave it on the table if they get hungry that is still the only option for them.

Jodi - posted on 06/25/2010

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What sort of choices are you offering her for her meals? I think at this age, there should be some choices. Just make sure the choices are all healthy and it won't be an issue. If she won't eat full meals, offer snack choices, like, would you like cheese and crackers, or would you like an apple, or would you like a tub of yoghurt, etc. It is not going to hurt if she snacks more than eats full meals, as long as the snacks are healthy and offer balance.



I will admit, I have sent my children to bed hungry, but they are older. I wouldn't have done it at that age.

Amanda - posted on 06/25/2010

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I disagree Lisa, we really need to give children over 1 more credit. This child isnt eatting soilds, because why chew, when mommy will fill you up with 6 bottles of millk. ALL picky eatters are caused by parents actions, or lack of actions. Healthy eatting habits start between 6-12 months and continue onto adulthood. I do agree sending a 18 month old to bed hungry isnt going to teach them anything other then bad eatting habits. But removing those bottles will teach the child to eat correctly!

[deleted account]

I know many will probably disagree with me but at 18 months I wouldnt be making too big a deal about what they eat - so long as it isnt actually bad for them (eg excess sugar or fat). We try to pick our battles and this one doesnt really rate for us.
We tend to work on the theory she will eat if shes hungry - and if we dont think she has eaten enough to take her through the night we will offer her food we know she will fill up on close(ish) to bed time. If you dont want her taking multiple bottles then offer her some food that she likes first followed by one bottle maybe.

Nicola - posted on 06/25/2010

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It's very unlikely that your daughter will starve herself for long, it sounds more as if she's playing you into getting what she wants, and that's not a good road upon which to start! Maybe the occasional hungry bedtime will show her that you are serious? Give her some water if she won't settle because her tummy is empty.

Amanda - posted on 06/25/2010

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How many bottles is your daughter having a day if she is have 6 at night? Go to your doctor and speak to them about what your childs diet should be.

Wendy - posted on 06/25/2010

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Don't give into them lol! My son was the exact same at that age. It drove me nuts lol! It doesn't hurt them if they go to bed hungry. You always have to be one step ahead of them. Try changing the time when you have tea, when they older get them involved with cooking.

Wendy - posted on 06/25/2010

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Firstly, stop all bottles. She doesn't need them, its very bad for her teeth and the older she gets the harder it will be. Take her shopping to buy her own special toddler cup. When you have stopped all bottles, then you will find she starts to eat better and probably sleep better too.

Jen - posted on 06/25/2010

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6 bottles thts way too much u need to cut down even if she isnt eating she knows thts k mom gives me abottle yummy. they are very smart at tht age if she wont eat her dinner just take it away n put her to bed if shes hungry she will eat. my son doesnt eat much either sum days he will try foods n eat most of others he just wants crips but thts his problem he rather have just crisps but i dont give in to him so he has started to eat wht i put infront of him even if its two bites at least he tried it.

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