Help! Need advice on fussy eater?

Jodie - posted on 12/29/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My 4 year old is a very fussy/poor eater and never wants to eat much! I know she could eat more than she does but she just tells me she's full, so I tell her to eat some more then she just looks fed up and sick. For example today, made her 1 sandwich (2 slices of bread) cut it up into 4 squares, 30 minutes later she'd only just eating just over 1 square. She's been like this for as long as I can remember. For past 4 weeks or so I have started setting the timer and if her food isn't gone by the timer going off I put her food in the bin and tell her that she can't have anything else to eat till the next meal, I feel terrible and like the worst mum in the world when I have to do that, she gets 20 mins for breakfast, 30 mins for dinner and tea. She's fine with her breakfast most of time, mainly just dinner/tea, the only food she's really any good with is pasta and sweet corn. I've tried the timer, stopped her from having sweets and chocolate, it used to work but not anymore. I just don't know what to do anymore and feel lime a failure of a mum.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance x Jodie x

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Jenny - posted on 01/16/2013

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Give her a daily multivitamin. It will ease some of your anxiety.

My son is kinda like this. Ho hum there is no easy solution. He's 4 too.

Biggest thing is not to stress about it. I know that's almost impossible when you see your 4 year old only eat one quarter of her sandwich. But stressing about it will not help her eat more.

One good peace of advice I heard was that its our job as parents to PROVIDE the nutritious food, but it is not our job to make them EAT it. If you look at it this way then this will also ease your anxiety. To know that its not our place to force them to eat the food.

If there's nothing else available then they will eventually eat what is there if they're hungry.

S. - posted on 12/29/2012

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It sounds like you are doing everything I would do, please don't feel like a faliure some kids are just hard work when it comes to food. You could maybe try smaller portions I've found with my youngest (2) if I give her one square of a sandwich she eats that then I give her another she can eat 4 whole squares that way were as if I give her the full sandwich she leaves half. With my middle daughter (4) I've found that if I give her more then I expect her to eat with the option of a deal to leave some she ends up eating what I expect her too.

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Jessica - posted on 03/26/2016

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I have a 19 month old an she is so fussy with foods. She likes karth dinner hash browns n pasta. What can I do to get her to get more heathy foods?
Thaanks! :)

Jenny - posted on 03/02/2013

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I hope it keeps getting better from here.

I thought I'd add a few more thoughts if they help.

I've kinda been bribing my son to get him to eat a little something before bed time. I tell him he has a choice of either eating the snack I'm going to prepare or going to straight to bed. He usually chooses eating over going to bed ;) It's encouraged him to stick it out till everything's eaten from the plate because once he stops eating, its bed time. I don't over do it though, i'd probably put half a sandwich on the plate. Or a good couple table spoons of leftover dinner.

A few other things that have helped over time is to just encourage them to at least taste the food they don't like or that is new to them. "What I want you to do is have a tinie tiny bite of this." Another phrase that helps is "You need to taste it and then you can tell me if you like it or not. If you don't like it you don't have to eat it, but you need to taste it." And i follow through. This has helped my son a lot in trying out different foods.

At times that he's been very fussy it has helped to bribe with a treat, (a little lolly or offer of food that he likes to eat, like crackers). Always be reasonable. If I expect him to eat a huge plate of food, it sets him up for failure. But if i ask him to do something that is in his means he feels capable and gets down to business instead of protesting.

My aim at this age is to get them to be ok with eating a variety of food and just having a general enthusiasm for food that will sustain them.

Keep your hopes up :)

Jodie - posted on 02/27/2013

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Thank you very much for your advice, I really appreciate it. I have started giving her vitamin drops, and although her eating habits are still bad they are gradually getting better. Today she finished eating all of her tea (the normal amount I have been giving her for a while), when she would normally only just manage to eat half of it :) Just hope it wasn't a one off, fingers crossed x

Jodie - posted on 12/31/2012

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I just want her to get all the different nutrients she needs, I never give up and if she doesn't eat it then I don't give her anything else. Thank you for all your advice :) xx

S. - posted on 12/29/2012

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Your not alone Jodie at all,kids are hard work but for me I stick to my gun's,I try new things and I never offer anything in replace apart from that what else can you do? If my 13 year old is anything to go by she just now eats what is given to her and I did the same with her

A doctor once told my friend not to worry about her son and even if he's eating chocolate not to panic because at least he's eating! This put my friend totally at ease and she aloud him to eat what he wants he's 14 now he won't eat ANY fruit or veg, pizza is his tea every night (no joke) and he has no nutrition what so ever, she fallowed the same with her daughter who is A LITTLE more healthy but has chicken korma most night for her tea and is now on the same track with her 2 year old boy and no I'm guessing her 11 month old is going to be the same. I for one think the doctor was totally off hand telling her this when she was a panicky mother at her wits end.

The way I've always seen it is I chose the battle with my 13 year old, the long hall but I have it easy now, were as my friend chose the easy route and as ended up cooking at least 3 different meals a night. At the end of the day it's what works best for you.

Jodie - posted on 12/29/2012

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I will definitely try that what you suggested with the sandwich. I've also tried what you said you do with your 4 year old as well as giving her probably smaller portions than what she should actually be eating, but I will keep trying what you have suggested. It's just so hard and frustrating seeing her being like this, sometimes I do end up shouting/telling her off for it and try get her to hurry up before the timer goes off, I know this is wrong and I absolutely hate myself afterwards that much that I just want to sit there and cry.

Thank you so much for replying back, really appreciate it x

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