Friday, May 15, 2009

please, please, please tell me someone has the answers....

so, as it turns out, my toddler didn't come with an instruction manual.
and i need help. for reals.
i know, you are shocked. up until now you thought owey was perfect in every way. well, he is - mostly. there's just one thing...

anyone have the magic solution to major eating problems (as in throw a tantrum about food 500 times a day - only wanting snack foods and never actually eating a real meal....)??
we are frustrated not knowing how to reason with an unreasonable little boy.
do i:
a) dejunk the whole house. no snacks. eventually he'll be hungry enough to eat something, right?
b) decide not to fight this battle - soon enough we will be able to communicate better and we can tackle it then.
c) try and reason with him and continue this tantrum cycle as is, hoping that if we are consistent enough eventually he'll get it.
d) none of the above. (please offer any alternative suggestion before i pull my hair out!)

in effort to help with the communication i have made a little picture book of all of the foods available so that he can show me what it is that he wants. works out great for communicating, however, i think yesterday he had like 6 slices of cheddar cheese and not much else.

i want to be a good mom and raise a healthy, happy child! how can i maintain my sanity without turning him into a spoiled, demanding little monster?

please tell me you have the answer...?!

12 comments:

Ririe Family said...

Well, I would say let him throw his fits and he will eat when he's hungry. My guess is if he's hungry enough, he'll eat. I also have heard that as long as they are eating healthy snacks then that's ok, but I don't agree with that always. They need to learn to eat dinner and other meals. I don't even know yet. I'm still trying to figure out if my own child gets enough nursing. Good luck. Let me know what you figure out.

Tiffany Fackrell said...

here is my two sense. First I have found if I am not constantly pestering Cambree to eat, and I pretty much just set her at the table...sometimes she is even screaming, but then i put the plate in front of her and I walk away then she will start eating and usually finish her plate. I know she is a little older but i do reason with her a little like tonight all she wanted was the grahm cracker cookies and chips, but i told her she had to at least take two bites of her sandwich first and she did! Owen might be too young for that. Also I have heard this one from a doc...if they don't eat what you gave them for lunch then wrap it up and put it in the fridge and that is what they get for dinner. If they don't eat it for dinner then they get it the next day for breakfast....pretty much every time they tell you they are hungry well they get the same thing until they actually eat it...but don't make them sit at the table for hours on end until they eat it just always give it back to them when they say they are hungry...does that make sense?! I hope you find something that works. Cambree really isn't that picky of an eater so I think I was pretty blessed in that sense, but she does have a harder time eating dinner and i think it is because we are all sitting at the table and constantly saying eat this eat that, so if david and I just talk and occasionally ask her a question but not pester her about what she is eating then she does a TON better with eating. Good Luck, let us know what finally works!! You are a great mom!

Melissa said...

Well, here's what I know. Toddler's need about six small meals/snacks everyday. As long as it's healthy, I would think the food you give him is okay. Keep offering food choices--I love your picture idea so he can communicate with you. These food quirks usually pass. Even though it's hard, wait until the tantrum is over before attempting to solve his issue (you have to navigate this one because you can tell if he's truly in distress or manipulating--either way, giving in during a tantrum is usually not the way to go). A serving size for a toddler is about a tablespoon of each item on his plate per year of age. This was shocking to me because it's not very much!

This really will pass. He will eat when he's hungry. You are doing just fine. Just keep offering a variety of foods, especially when you all sit down to dinner together. Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

Madsen Family said...

though my child has not hit this stage yet, i think food pickiness at owen's age is a common theme (as are tantrams b/c of lack of communication). i do know that will is pretty much hungry all the time, but since i was getting sick of him eating snacks all over the house, i now only give him one snack between breakfast and lunch and one snack between lunch and dinner. i put him in his high chair and give him a hefty snack--usually wheat bread and fruit. then he is hungry for lunch/dinner and he hasn't been snacking all day (and he isn't constantly begging for food) and i don't have to follow him around with the vacuum cleaner. i think that this eating phase shall pass and that whatever you decided to do here's my input: be consistent (and never, never, never give up!). i think that owen is the cutest and that he has the best mom! good luck. wish i was of more help.

amy said...

i am the first to say that i don't have all the answers (i wish i did!). all i have to share is what seems to help with my little rascal about the same age. i find that if i put audra in her high chair for every meal, put some options on her plate (either what we're having if it's dinner or ask her if it's breakfast or lunch), give her a big girl fork just like mom & dad have and then basically ignore her she usually eats if she's hungry. the next tip is widely discouraged by doctors but sometimes if i'm desperate i turn on the tv to distract her & then feed her bites of food. hey, sometimes you've just got to do what you can do to survive. i also have found that when i was giving audra a bottle when she first woke up she wasn't hungry for breakfast. so, we try to just give a bottle at bedtime. as for the whole snack thing, as long as they are somewhat healthy i don't think it's such a bad thing...unless of course you're feeding a snack to O every few hours instead of a few meals a day. at the end of the end you cannot force him to eat. he will eat if he is hungry. all we can do is give them the option, right? okay, enough rambling. let's chat soon. GOOD LUCK!

Cheryl said...

Jess, We go through this VERY thing with Ezra. Here is what goes down in the Alder house.

I give him snacks, but he gets everything in moderation. fruit, pretzels, cheese, crackers, yogurt, raisins and such...

For lunch he might eat a quarter of a sandwich(but he isn't much of a bread lover), a hot dog, mac and cheese or just a piece of ham and some cheese. The meal we really fight him with is dinner. He can't get down from the table until he eats his dinner and this does make for a noisy meal at the table. Matt will feed him if that is what it takes to get him to finish his dinner. He is doing much better now!!! You just have to hang in there and stick it through. We discipline him too if he gets down. Oh, and I don't let him eat anything about an hour before we eat dinner....this helps him to eat dinner.

Does Owen respond well to time outs? If Ezra throws a tantrum because i told him he can't have a snack I send him to his bed until he calms down. They learn pretty quick if you are consistant!! Consistancy is the key-and it's tough!!!

Hope that helps! Make sure you post about what you found works for him!!

Sarah Romer said...

I ran into this with Miles, and I think he's about the same age as Owen. Miles would walk around the house saying "ca-ca" which mean cracker, and "cheese". And would throw a tantrum if he didn't get them. He would also do the same thing if I tried to make him sit at the table while eating. (I gave up on the high chair months ago.) So, I just let him have his tantrum. It was really hard. But after a few minutes (or 5 or 10) he would stop. And he would sit at the table, and eat his food. I stopped letting him "graze" all day by signing and saying to him "all gone" when he asked for snacks constantly. And then I would let him throw his tantrum. And when it WAS time for snacks, I let him choose what he wanted. If it was cheese and crackers. Fine. But I try to keep lots of different snacks around. He eventally gets sick of the "usual" and will switch to something else. For dinner, he usually gets what we have. I sit right by him and "help" him with his bites, other wise he gets distracted and just wants to go play. If I see he isn't eating a lot of his meal, then I wil give him some staples I know he will eat like cheese, tomatos, or grapes, or my beef stew I keep frozen in small containers for this exact reason. Then he gets another snack with some milk before bed. And I just try and make myself not worry about it too much. I have found he really will eat when he is hungry. And since I have been limiting his snacking, he eats so much better at regular meal times. The tantrums are really crappy!!! But if you can be consistant and stick to it, I think it will be worth it. I know it was for me!! Good Luck!

Nicki said...

I know NOTHING about getting toddlers to eat-- I mostly just wanted to see what other seasoned moms had to say on the subject. However, I do have this novel experiment that I want to try once my kids understand colors: Starting in the early morning, I want to ask my little ones what colors they want to eat (under the theory that colorful foods are the healthiest-- think green, red, orange, purple, yellow, blue, etc) for the day, and then they'll be excited to eat those colored foods. If you try this, let me know if it works, but for now, I'm just happy if they'll eat anything besides milk and yogurt! Good luck mamacita!

Angelina said...

WOW Jess, you got A LOT of good advice. If I were you I would take a little of this advice and a little of that and make what works for you and O, because NO two kids are alike (my two couldn't be more different in some ways).
About snacks, it's actually really good for kids to have 5-6 'meals' a day-it keeps their metabolism working throughout the day. I try to always be on the look out for good/healthy snacks that my kids will eat.
With both of my kids they when through cycles of eating good and not. When they are about to grow they would eat and eat, then when they were actually growing they refused to eat much at all. Small children KNOW when they are hungry, they're not like adults who eat from bordem.
Dinner is also tough, Elise refuses to eat dinner often. I agree w/ the advice about not giving them anything to eat 1hr before dinner. But I wouldn't force Owen to eat, you don't want to instill bad habits of forcing himself to eat when he's not hungry-that will probably come on it's own.
Also w/ tantrums, I found if I reduce Mason's sugar as much as possible the tantrums got/get better/reduced.

Proud mom of 7......... said...

my two cents...keep the snacks...try to keep them on the healthy side and don't let him fill up on them. as far as meals...serve him what you eat...don't fix him something just because you want him to eat. presuming he hasn't filled up on snacks, he'll eat if he's hungry...if he's not..he's not...he might be tomorrow. don't stress unless he is losing or underweight. toddlers go in spurts...some weeks they eat like birds...the next they're bottomless pits.

Delatore Family said...

Maybe I'm just too harsh, but my daughter, Ava, does the same thing. What I do is, if she doesn't eat the healthy food on her tray (I give her a few healthy options) then she doesn't eat, she's done with dinner, and we move on. Occasionally I'll give in and give her what she wants, but at dinner time we all eat healthy, and if she won't eat what's on the table, then she doesn't have to have dinner. She won't starve from skipping one meal. And anyways, she usually NEVER passes up a healthy snack right before bed after she's gone without dinner. It works for us...

Mom said...

I love the new wallpaper!!!! I don't have much advice except to feed Owen what you are eating at meal time. That's what I did with you all, and you were all good eaters. Good luck!
OXOX