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Old 01-06-2013, 06:12 PM   #1
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DS1 was always a good eater, so this is new territory for us. DS2 will be 2 next month and refuses meals on a regular basis, but will happily eat cereal, yogurt, toast, bananas, etc. all.day.long. Yesterday, DH gave him several cups of almond milk in the afternoon. DS2 refused dinner, but kept trying to get cereal out of the cupboard. There was nothing he didn't like on his plate. The second he got out of bed this morning, he was clamoring for breakfast. Then he refused lunch aside from a couple of bites. As soon as he woke up from his nap, he was hungry again. I tried to get him to eat his leftovers from lunch, but he refused. I caved and gave him a banana. Now I'm cooking dinner and he's trying to get cereal off the counter again. DH says, "just give it to him", but I know if I do, there's no chance he'll eat dinner.

ETA: he was quite small for a while, so we'd feed him anything he could eat just to get food in him. He's still small, but I'm no longer worried about him under eating.

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Old 01-06-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: When to start enforcing meals?

Tonight my 20 mo wouldn't eat her meal. It was something she likes so it was her choice not to eat. SHe will get breakfast in the morning. The rule ino our house is you eat what you are given or you don't eat. I am not a short order cook. The only exceptions that are made if it is something she cannot eat like taco salad. In that case she will get something else. We did just start this with my younger dd because she was getting more and more picky. I have a friend that is so frustrated that her kids won't eat what she cooks but then she always makes them something else to eat. For our house that just doesn't work.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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Re: When to start enforcing meals?

We have always had the "that is your choice" stance on meals. We offer 3 meals and 1 snack per day. We also only drink water between meals because they can get too many calories many of which are empty from juices or milks. It may take a week or even two for him to stop testing but if you stay cool and stand your ground he will catch on. He is going to have a major protest because he is very used to getting fed a certain way. Be kind but firm. Try not to get to chatty. Try to say the same brief statements like "I'm sorry, now is not a time for eating. We will eat at ______" if he refuses the meal say "ok that is your choice". No snacks or special drinks between meals. It will even out
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:23 PM   #4
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Re: When to start enforcing meals?

What about giving a small portion on the plate with the rest?
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:29 PM   #5
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Re: When to start enforcing meals?

I am struggling with as well right now. My problem is that the situation with my 2 yr old is rubbing off on my 4 yr old. My 2 yr old has an evaluation scheduled with EI and one of the things we are looking at is her lack of variety in what she will eat. The list of food she will eat is only about 20 items long, and includes paper, cardboard, and dirt. So I do make separate food for her but I also give her one bite each of everything on her plate.

But the 4 yr old sees her sister getting a separate meal and doesn't get it.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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It's such a weird thing for us. DS1 was so good at self limiting snacks. He'd have an apple or a few crackers as a snack, but still eat plenty a meal times. And as recently as 6 months ago, we were encouraging DS2 to eat as much as he wanted so we offered a lot of snacks trying to get him to gain weight. Until a few months ago, if he wanted a snack and I didn't want to give him one, he'd just wander away. Now he stands in the kitchen and screams, throws himself on the floor, etc. DH tends to cave more because the screaming drives him nuts.

ETA: DH thinks 23 months is too young to expect him to eat meals and thinks its ok to let him graze. I'm beyond tired of screaming fits for food when he just refused a meal an hour earlier. I've started just offering him the food he refused earlier.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
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Re: When to start enforcing meals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MDever View Post
We have always had the "that is your choice" stance on meals. We offer 3 meals and 1 snack per day. We also only drink water between meals because they can get too many calories many of which are empty from juices or milks. It may take a week or even two for him to stop testing but if you stay cool and stand your ground he will catch on. He is going to have a major protest because he is very used to getting fed a certain way. Be kind but firm. Try not to get to chatty. Try to say the same brief statements like "I'm sorry, now is not a time for eating. We will eat at ______" if he refuses the meal say "ok that is your choice". No snacks or special drinks between meals. It will even out
This is how it goes at our house too. They don't always like it, but it's not a battle I'm willing to fight. You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 2sweetboys

This is how it goes at our house too. They don't always like it, but it's not a battle I'm willing to fight. You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit.
But the disagreement DH and I are having now is at what age that's appropriate. Obviously, most babies feed on demand, so when are they expected to eat meals with the family? 12 months, 18 months, 2 years?
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Re: When to start enforcing meals?

We also have the "Eat This or Nothing" stance in our house, but we did go through a period when DS was 3 where we had to cave. He would not eat meals and actually started to lose weight. His pedi recommended we keep a section in our fridge and on the counter with pre-portioned foods for him to eat. He said that kids do go through almost a hunter/gatherer stage where they want to take control of their own eating. We still did three meals a day but I did not push meal times. We kept fruits and veggies cut in the fridge, as well as cheese, yogurt and cut up chicken. Sometimes pastas or other meal type foods. On the counter I'd put portions of things like pretzels or air popped popcorn, nuts, etc. All healthy foods. The phase lasted about 6 months. He gained weight finally and he gradually started to eat his regular meals and less of the snacks. We still keep the snacks around, but our son is now an amazing eater.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:17 PM   #10
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Re: When to start enforcing meals?

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But the disagreement DH and I are having now is at what age that's appropriate. Obviously, most babies feed on demand, so when are they expected to eat meals with the family? 12 months, 18 months, 2 years?
Sometime between 18 and 24 months. By that time I have a pretty good idea of what my child likes vs what they prefer. If I know they like it, then that is what they can eat. If they would prefer yogurt, then they can have that when I am serving it and not until.

It's also the same age when they learn that they can say "I don't like it" and not have to eat (much of) it. Then they figure if they can get out of eating something by saying that, then they can get out of eating everything but what they prefer/want.

At this point, I would offer a variety of small servings for each meal, a mid morning snack, and a mid afternoon snack. If he says he's hungry between meal and snack times, he can have what he didn't eat at his last meal/snack. He will not be happy at first and will test and push, but eventually he will learn that he can eat a variety of good foods and not just his favorites.
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