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I Smile Because Of Them 10-24-2008 04:38 PM

How do I make her eat? NEW QUESTION POST 13
She's driving me nuts!! My 3 year old will NOT eat. It's 4:30 pm and she hasn't eaten a single thing today. NOTHING AT ALL. She's just had a glass of milk.

I've never had this problem with her. She's always been so good at eating. She used to eat anything, but now she won't touch her food. Everyday is a battle trying to get her to eat. We stay at the table for hours until she eats. And sometimes she will just not give in.

I'm used to making my kids big meals for breakfast and lunch everyday, and lately it's going to waste. All she wants me to make for her is Ramen Noodles. :yuck: I will NOT let her eat just that everyday. But now today she will no eat anything at all. So what am I doing, making her ramen noodles. This can't be good for her. She's never been this way.

She's already small to being with. She always has been! But lately she's been losing weight!! She's 3 1/2 years old and weighs only 25lbs. She's lost 2 lbs within the past 2 months. I know it doesn't seem like much but when she hasn't gained weight in about 2 years, it kinda starts worrying me.

Mamas help, I just don't know what to do with her anymore. She will not eat. No matter what I give her, no matter what I try, she will NOT! The only time she eats without a hassle is when we're at a restaurant. I don't get it!!:cry:

Namaste 10-24-2008 05:26 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
Geeze Michelle, that's a tough one. My kids go through stages as well. A few months ago, I swore that my 7 year old was going on an eating strike but the last couples of weeks, she's been eating up everything. I can't see that this will last forever, but maybe get some of the those Nutripals for now so she's getting more bang for the buck, so to speak. I hate it when they do this!

cheygirl 10-24-2008 05:39 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
Would she be tempted by a smoothie? If yes, you could sneak in some protein powder and other nutritious ingredients as well.

5babyz4me 10-24-2008 05:43 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
It sounds to me like she's manipulating you. She knows that it makes you upset and she can control that. Kids her age can't control much of anything at this point so they will find what they can control. For some kids it's bedtime. For others it's eating. Still others it's the potty ( you know they can do but they pretty much refuse.) It seems that maybe this is her area that she's trying to control.

I have 5 children and I had one that didn't eat much. She's also very petite and didn't start really putting on weight until just this past year. She's also as tall as her older brother so I think she HAD to start eating or she knew she would starve. She's pulled this before and I just let her go. If she chooses not to eat, OK. She'll have to wait until next meal.

You might simply trying waiting this out with her. Serve her a meal each time (maybe less than what you normally would.) Tell her that there is a specific time to eat it and then the meal is over. After that, let it be over. Don't make a big production out of it. Reminder her that if she doesn't eat she'll have to wait until the next meal. She's young enough that if you do have snacks then offer that as well but make it healthy. And no more Raman until she starts eating again. Don't tell her that just do it. In a way you are trying to beat her at her own game.

Do be cautious with this? you certainly don't want to push it so far that she starves herself. But I have learned from experience that they rarely do starve. Some kids do have health issues that cause this but it is rare. If she's health otherwise you are probably dealing with a child that wants to have a bit of control. just keep an eye on her and don't pay attention to the weight right now. Just do what mom would normally do but don't allow her to make you sit there for hours on end. You kind of have to work to beat them at their own game. This is the approach I take to all meal battles and I have rarely had one that lasted for long. Once they realize that mom wouldn't play they give in and decided that eating was worth it.

Let me add quickly, if you serve the meals and then allow her to decide what she's going to eat and when, she's in control. It's just not the kind of control she wants per se. She doesn't even have to know your beating her at this game. It's kind of sneaky on your part.

Oh, and I do have meals that I make that will make them happy so there is less chance of them skipping meals. Sometimes people interpret what I suggest as kind of mean but I do work with the child to help work this. For instance, I might serve Raman for lunch one day because that is what is on the menu. But I will not serve it when it's demanded, KWIM?

daisy0306 10-24-2008 05:44 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
Try reverse psychology, don't LET her eat anything. Make a big deal out of everything you eat, talk about how good it is and so on. When she asks for some tell her oh you don't want this! She's 3, she'll eat it just because you told her that she can't :) I used to be a DCP, I have no idea how a three year old can have that much energy when they eat next to nothing! :hugs: hugs: GL

AngelW 10-24-2008 05:49 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
Hrm.. Well, I don't know..Instinctive response is, "You can't". A lot of the time I feel like "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," is the same as, "You can offer the kid a healthy meal, but you can't make him eat it!" But it is OK. It isn't our job to make them eat, just to provide them healthy food regularly in a way they can eat it. I read the book called "How to Get Your Kid to Eat, but Not Too Much". This was really good and helped me a lot. One of the main messages was to not to get into power struggles with your kids about eating. It said that if you offer the healthy foods they will eat what they need to eat and don't pressure them or they will often refuse to eat when you want them to. It took a lot of pressure off me thinking it was up to me to get him to eat! I see that when he eats very little on one day he often makes up for it the next day or meal. Some days his stomach hurts or his teeth so he eats very little then, but he will eat all his scrambled eggs the next day. This book said that kids who are pressured to eat often have eating issues and are more likely to end up weighing more or much less than average. Why are you making her sit there for hours? She wants to assert her independence from Mama, which is a healthy stage of growth so they say (eyeroll), so that may come in the form of refusing to eat anything you give her unless she requests it. Try to eliminate the power struggle aspect of this and see if it helps. If she doesn't eat, then the meal is over. Try again later when you would normally have another meal, or offer a healthy snack in an hour.

I think there's a good chance she will eat in a day or less when she gets hungry as long as you don't bug her about it too much. It may help to eat the same foods she does at the same time, too. Have a family meal. My son often prefers the food off of Mama or Dada's plates to whatever we give him on his plate. He might have broccoli on his plate, but if I give him mine he thinks it's better. LOL! I'd say just keep offering her foods that are healthy and do offer her milk or water or juice/water so she doesn't dehydrate, which is much more of a concern. Maybe try a small portion of ramen with some broccoli and carrots and wean her off the ramen a bit at a time? BTW, watch out for the high level of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and sodium in general in most ramen noodle packages.

Good luck!

I Smile Because Of Them 10-24-2008 07:15 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
I should clarify, I don't give her Ramen. She always wants it. She sees it sitting in the pantry and wants that. I hardly ever give it to her. Lately, I'd say the past week it's all she's been wanting. So today just to get her to eat, I made her some. It's just a weird thing she's going through. :dunno:

bobandjess99 10-24-2008 07:40 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
Absolutely do NOT fight about it. Offer her food. If she doesn't eat it..fine. Offer her the next meal at the next meal sure to offer at least 5-6 times per day, but do NOT argue, fight or cajole. she will eat if she is hungry..UNLESS somethig is wrong. Because of her size...I think that is worth considering. thyroid issues can mess up appetite. Other serious medical problems can affect weight and appetite as well..I dont want to scare you, but it can be her size, and with 2 whole pounds of weight loss without obvious illness (meaning she hasn't been throwing up or whatever) I would definitely get a THOUROUGH checkup first. do you have a doctor who you trust and who will take you seriously? I nomrlally am VERY laid back about weight, but 25 pounds at 3.5 is wicked small. Has she alwasy been small and following a small growth curve?? Genetically, is she likely destined to be small? Is her recent growth pattern (say..6 months of growth/loss) causing her to drop percentiles or fall off teh charts? If so..that is usually considered serious. Sensory issues normally do not present in this fashion (used to eat fine but now won't) but you should always check...while MOST kids will not starve themselves, a child with sensory issue WILL indeed starve to death before eating textures/foods/etc they do not like. A feeding tube is generally the only way to keep these kids alive.

anyway....what i am saying does NOT dsound like you are fact, it almost sounds like you might be UNDER reacting..a 25 pound 3.5 year old is something that, at the very least, needs to be checked out by a doctor.

3rockstars 10-24-2008 09:43 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?
My daughter went through that. From 3 1/2 until about 6. She's 8 now and eats EVERYTHING in sight. Seriously, you can't fill her up. And she's 48lbs. At 8.:giggle: So yeah, not a huge kid.:goodvibes: Things that helped were ice cube trays filled with nutritious foods like grapes, cheese, whole wheat crackers, baby carrots, banana chunks rolled in crushed cheerios, etc. Also, she drank a carnation instant breakfast every morning and LOVED it. We called it "Mady's special milk" and I let her make it each morning by measuring out the powder from the canister and putting it in a thermos and shaking it up. She loved making it herself and with whole milk and a splash of half and half, it's pretty high in calories and fat. Also, sometimes I could convince her to eat a piece of toast and a banana with it. We did things like whole milk instead of skim and margarine on her pasta when possible and appropriate to add some extra calories but didn't force food on her or try to fighth with her. It doesn't work and it just makes food a contention point between you which isnever good. Offer food, don't freak out if she says no. Remember that you are the parent and obviously you can't let her eat ramen all day because it'snot healthy. You already knew that. but don't let her manipulate her into letting her eat it. A healthy child will not starve themselves. Encouraging her to eat healthy is the best way to handle this. Maybe examining your own relationship with food will help. I used to say things like, 'Oh man, I am STARVING!" Or sometimes I would use the word "fat," as in "I am feeling so fat today." And tha'ts not healthy for a little kid to hear. I would remember to say things like, "well Mady I would love to play trains with you but my belly is telling me it needs some food so I will make a snack and when I am finished we can set up your trains." I tried to set a good example of eating healthy when I was hungry and not waiting to eat when I felt hungry or eating junk food. Mentioning that my body was giving me hunger cues helped her to notice the hunger cues in her own body. Ya know, you can lead that horse to water all day long but you cannot make it drink. Just offer healthy foods at appropriate times and see if you can't break this habit. Don't obsess and don't force because that only makes it worse. :hugs: It really is hard to just sit back and let them NOT eat. It's hard not to make a big deal when all you want to do is shake them repeatedly and shove chunks of bread down their throats.:giggle: But I truly believe that it's just something that they grow out of eventually. Mady seriously cannot eat enough these days eating 3 meals and 2 snacks with second helpings at each meal and she's the smallest kid in her class. But she's SO incredibly healthy and active and happy.

pillywiggins 10-24-2008 10:11 PM

Re: How do I make her eat?

Sensory issues normally do not present in this fashion (used to eat fine but now won't) but you should always check...while MOST kids will not starve themselves, a child with sensory issue WILL indeed starve to death before eating textures/foods/etc they do not like. A feeding tube is generally the only way to keep these kids alive.
I was just thinking the same thing. One of my twins has sensory issues. There was a time that she ate everything, then all of the sudden stopped. Therapists said probably because she would start to choke or hurt to swallow since she couldn't chew well so she gave up. She would rather starve than to eat. Renny only eats about 7 different foods within the same family. Crunchy, cold soft and that's it. No meat, no veggies, no fruits.

I would give her whatever she wants to eat. If it's ramen noodles so be it. It's not the best thing but it's something. Has she always been small? My oldest is little (3yrs, 28 pounds) and the other twin is 2 yrs old and only 21 pounds but both consistent on the growth charts.

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