Motherhood

Motherhood
Motherhood & Family Life

Family Travel

Family Travel
Days Out & Travel

Home Interiors

Home Interiors
Home Interiors

Dinner Time Battles

I don't really know how we got here, but we're at a stage with Ethan where dinner time is pretty much non-existent to him. I mean, it's exists.. He's always cooked a nice meal. He's always encouraged to sit with us up at the table, whilst we eat together as a family and he will sit there with us. But he just doesn't want to eat. 



I don't know what it is about dinner time.. Breakfast and lunch don't seem to present as many problems. It's just something about dinner for Ethan. Although, maybe it's not just dinner time. He goes to nursery two mornings a week and on these days he's served a hot cooked meal for lunch, which he often refuses to touch. Of course, every time they tell me that he's refused to eat, my heart sinks. So maybe it's cooked meals that are the issue. But regardless, of that, it's an issue. 

I've tried so many different options with him. We cook a lot of meals from scratch but he doesn't want those, so I've tried offering him things like Smilies, chips, beans, mini pizzas and such, but he's still not interested. I've thought maybe he's worried things are too hot, so I've waited until everything has cooled down to serve it to him, but he's still not interested. I've offered him a snack plate instead of dinner, with fruit, mini quorn cocktail sausages, cheese, etc, but again we've not had much success - he'll usually take jut a few bites. 

I've thought that maybe we're filling him up during the day, so we've tried to cut back on the amount before dinner. But that doesn't seem to work either. He used to be such a foodie, but now he seems to have a complete lack of interest. I was worried that maybe the flurry of chocolate and treats at Christmas has played a part, but we've cut right back on any chocolate or treats unless he eats a meal first, and that hasn't helped. Going back, I think that I can relate this all back to when Ethan got unwell, but that was months ago and he's totally better now. 

Pasta is a favourite of his, like it is with most children of his age, but the amount he used to eat, he won't eat anymore. Maybe his has stomach shrunk? I really don't know, I'm no professional. 

I tell myself that it's not just Ethan and a recent video that Channel Mum published on their channel reassured me that I'm not the only one with a child as fussy as Ethan is. And of course, in the back of my mind I already knew that. But I can't stop feeling like I've done something wrong. It doesn't stop me feeling upset. I just want my little boy to eat. I want to go to bed at night knowing that Ethan has all of the vitamins inside of his body that he needs to grow healthy and strong. 

And now I understand what I probably put my own Mum through when I decided I would only eat chips and pizza as a teenager. I don't look at Ethan and think he's unhealthy - he has great healthy snacks during the day and he loves fruit. But I can't help feeling the pressure. I tell myself that I've done what I can, that I can't force food in to him. I've cooked him a nice meal, I've followed the health visitors advice. If he doesn't want to eat that's up to him. And it is up to him.. But his health is my responsibility as his parent and so I feel like I almost can't win. 

There's no manual when it comes to parenting.. and so the big question of whether or not to offering him anything else instead remains unanswered. If he tries something and clearly doesn't like it, I'm happy to offer an alternative. But if he won't at least try, I'm more reluctant to offer something else. But then if I offer nothing, I feel bad for sending my little boy to bed on an empty stomach. Not that he's often very bothered.. but I am, as I want to know that he's had enough of the different nutrients he needs for the day. 

Dinner time has become a bit of a battle, I can come across as relaxed and not make a thing of it as not to spread any meal time anxiety on to Ethan. But inside it does make me feel anxious. It does make me feel upset. I really just want my little boy to at least be willing to try..

Have you been/are you going through something similar with your little one/s? Do you have any meal time tips that you can share? 


 


20 comments

  1. Oh Alex I completely sympathise with you. Some times it can be so worrying for them to not eat, but I can assure you that it's probably just a phase in which they all go through! I've found the only way I can get Finlay to eat a lot of the time is through distraction, and although it's not the ideal situation and habit to have, we either pop him infront of the tv with me feeding him most of his dinner, or I let him watch things on my phone at a table, which seems to work as he isn't focusing on eating, again not ideal but works for now! Try not to blame yourself :) it will pass xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chloe. I've tried that too! In fact, I've tried most approaches. I agree distraction is a good way to go - it gets food in to them at least (..well sometimes!). xx

      Delete
  2. My two can be such pains at dinner times, Kayleigh refuses to eat anything made with potatoes and hates rice... Doesn't leave much else!

    We've struggled in the past and at times I pick my battles, it's only now though at 7 1/2 she is trying new foods the only problem is I'm going through it all with Ethan now!

    It is a phase they go through and it does get better, I just try to make sure they have plenty of fruit and things throughout the day to make sure they are getting their vitamins and keep going at meal times with new flavours etc

    One things for sure your not alone with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's draining isn't it! We're the same with Ethan - lots of healthy fruit - it's one thing he actually likes to eat! xx

      Delete
  3. My little turned 3 at the end of January and we are going through this to... he was the perfect water up until about 6 months ago... he won't even try anything that he's not sure of and even food he once enjoyed he won't put it in his mouth.... its so fustrating yet comforting that he isn't the only one... We went to friends last week and he wouldn't even touch the food... even tho I told her to make something he would like... breakfast he will only eat eggs... lunch is cucumber and ham.. and tea he will only have certain same foods.. oh and nothing can touch or else it's a major melt down....

    Good luck.. and let's hope they become lovers to tea time again...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter hates everything touching too, and will say they are 'dirty' if they do!

      Delete
    2. Ethan used to eat well too, maybe it's a change in taste buds or a new found independence?! At least your little one likes his eggs - they're really good for him! Ethan used to love eggs! He'll still eat them, but he's not as keen as he used to be. Lets hope this phase isn't a long one! x

      Delete
  4. I went through it with both of my girls...I think it's just an age thing. They went through a phase of not eating their tea...
    He looks like a healthy, growing boy so he's obviously eating enough...
    Try not to worry and give it a few months...It could just be a phase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kim! I hope so. And I am happy that he's not overly skinny, it's just a worry and quite draining. I'm glad I wrote about it, as I am taking comfort in that there are so many parents in the same situation. x

      Delete
  5. Don't worry, Alex this is just a phase. Both my girls had little fads about eating but they soon learnt somehow. As long as they get some nourishment it will be fine. My theory is that it is part of them exploring being individuals with like and dislikes....just like mummy and daddy have opinions about things. Just a theory!!

    Zoe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Zoe! You're totally right. It is likely just a phase and I am trying so hard to relax with it all. I'm glad I wrote about it as I feel comforted knowing I'm not alone with this. x

      Delete
  6. My daughter is 2 years 8 months, and I feel your post could have been written by me. We are going through exactly the same thing, and I beat myself up with the same questions. Breakfast and lunch she is really good, but dinner times most of the time is left untouched. My little girl is refusing things she used to love eg.pasta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, it sounds like we are in the exact same situation! It's draining isn't it. But it seems we're very much not alone, it's much more common then we think! Which means that it's likely it's just a phase - lets just hope it isn't a long one! x

      Delete
  7. My son Ben is a similar age, and he doesn't seem to eat much for dinner either! I think it is just a faze as Ben's been through this before (I think about a year ago). I guess we just keep going as it's the only thing we can do. Ben loves pasta as well, and we have that for tea tonight so hopefully he'll actually eat tonight!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah we had pasta last night and Ethan sat and ate the lot! It was so nice to just let him get on with it and focus on my own dinner for once! If only he'd be like that the rest of the week! x

      Delete
  8. I could uave written this about my daughter. She is 2 and a half and it is very frustrating. She never seems bothered going to bed without eating either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of people tell me that if Ethan was hungry, he'd eat. So maybe that's why he also isn't bothered about going to bed without dinner. I wonder if also it's because he fills up on other things during the day, though we do try and limit this. x

      Delete
  9. It must be so worrying, but I remember my muy stressing out so much about my sister - for about a year all she would eat was lettuce and salt and vinegar crisps!! She took her the drs but they always said as long as she eats something, it's fine and she'll eat when she wants to...and she did, she grew out of it. I'm sure Ethan will too!

    have you tried any kind of reward thing? I know a lot of people dont like associating rewards with foods but if its stressing you out it might be worth it for your peace of mind, I've seen Alex from Lamb and Bear using that Dinner Winner plate and that looks fun for picky eaters!! With Tyne I quite often let him watch ipad or TV while he eats, he always clears his plate unless he really doesn't like something but I think thats partially coz he's distracted so he's eating absent mindedly...not ideal I know but it works for us! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that is a limited diet! But, the DR is right, at least she was eating! It's the same with Ethan! I just wish he'd have more variety haha! It's like a checklist in my head of the vitamins he's had that day!

      I was thinking of trying a reward system. We usually try and bribe with chocolate or something (I know some don't recommend it, but you'll try anything to get them to eat when they won't!). I also agree re distraction, we try this and it sometimes works better. x

      Delete
  10. Food battles are so tough and exhausting, especially when they have been such good eaters, you think what has happened?!? I can see that lots of people have told you it's a phase and it is. My daughter is now 3 1/2 and eats everything again, but we like most people go through this difficult phase. There were about 3 meals that Alice would happily eat and I would rotate them and then on the other days, I would do a small portion of something she would eat, like pasta, and put it with something else. Sometimes she would then eat all the pasta and forget about this weird non- eating phase and eat the rest on her plate (this would work sometimes!) Reward chart is also great, Alice would choose what the reward would be and then get a sticker if she ate her dinner. I never made her eat everything, she just had to at least have a good go at it :-) Good luck and hang in there, it won't last x

    ReplyDelete

Powered by Blogger.