Friday, September 24, 2010

Weaning Wednesdays: Meet our mealtime monster

Ok, its been a long time since I've written about Junior J's meals.  The boy oddly has regressed in terms of his food preference, and now only eats stuff that has been pureed smooth.  So for every lunch and dinner, he gets variations of an oatmeal-based porridge (with all sorts of veg/meat mixed inside and run through my hand-held blender), and breakfast usually consists of milk (we've resorted to Pediasure to up the calorie count), cheese and some carbs (bread/different cereals that we rotate).

He's been a difficult one to feed.  We've tried giving him small portions of "table" food to self-feed, such as corn, cucumber, pasta or cereal to self-feed... and some days he'll happily sit there and try to feed himself while we hastily try to spoon in oatmeal in between:

Junior J on one of his better days, eating breakfast from his snack cup
However, usually the self-feeding thing lasts for about 10 minutes before he starts to (1) feed the dog his food, (2) spit or (3) fling his plate (and all of its contents) to the floor... all options which make the dog very happy, and us, not so!

So right now, the only thing that seems to work would be to keep him occupied by all sorts of activities (which I console myself are helping him to develop his fine-motor skills), while feeding him his oatmeal and spooning fluid (water/milk/soup) in between mouthfuls to make him swallow (yes, he has the skill of storing all that liquid food in his mouth, like a hamster!):

Reading board books, and stacking cubes

Taking things in and out of boxes

Putting cotton wool into a vitamin container, and learning to cap it

Poking toothpicks into holes in a soft board

He's usually quite ok when he's out for meals, but keeping him occupied with stuff helps...
And many a time, he starts to get restless halfway through the meal (each meal takes almost an hour!), and we resort to using the iPhone and letting him watch videos of himself, or play educational games.  I know, I've seen those "looks" parents give me when they see our kid, barely two, engrossed in poking at the screen, but trust me, we only whip it out of desperation when nothing else works.  The boy's weight gain hasn't been too great (especially after the recent bouts of illness), otherwise I'd just stick to the "don't eat just starve" philosophy.

On good days, we manage to get him to finish his food... and on bad days, he puts his head on the table and refuses to eat.  Or he ends up like this:

The bib says it all!
So far, the only two people that have managed to make him eat his meals would be myself, and the hubby (and even the hubby can't seem to tolerate feeding him for more than 30 minutes!).  I'm really almost to the end of my tether, and my only consolations are that the boy (1) is generally easy-going apart from mealtimes, (2) is still wanting his breastmilk, and (3) has finally consented to wear bibs again during meals (of course, with the condition that he puts his little frog toy in the pocket of the bib!).   So parents, please help me out here... do share any tips/experiences you've had for feeding/getting a toddler to eat!


  1. I like the way your baby sit. Picture 4 & 5!

  2. probably no snack before mealtimes, no milk too! and then when he's hungry , he will eat quickly?!
    and maybe dont always put him on high chair? Last time I let my boy roam around in the living room, while I go and feed him. Yah, takes a lot of patience and a long time to feed a toddler... jia you!

  3. Hey Mummy J, just a little encouragement, your boy is not the only one. Reuel gives problems during mealtimes too. There was a period (come to think of it he was about Jude's age then) when he refuses to eat anything except things that are really soft and mushy mainly his porridge and meesua. I think it's a phase. Maybe Jude is teething that's why he is rejecting his food? I know Reuel was banging his jaws quite a bit during those food strike days. Distractions for junior and persistence for mummy and daddy seem to be the only way. At least from our experience. Jia you!

  4. - Try varying tastes, colours & textures
    - use interesting cutlery
    - maybe he's teething?
    - instead of 2 main meals, how about having more meals in smaller portions? Toddlers are busy people and some like to graze through the day. Sitting down for 1-hr meals would make 99% of toddlers restless.
    - offer something he definitely likes at every meal. (For long term benefits, it's better to let the child be interested in the meal and food than the distractions.)

    Hope this is just a passing phase for you. :)

  5. Ooi...everything you've described sounds exactly like what's happening with LJ. He'd allow us to spoon feed him and eat properly when he's out. But at home, he turns into a regular monster. We also had to resort to give him lots of plastic bowls/cups, toys to distract him and spoon in as many mouthfuls as we can. On the contrary, his daddy has more patience to feed him than moi.

    After every meal, he gets a drink of milk. If he hasn't been eating much, he'd drink more.

    If u get any good tips, let me know! Pray this phase doesn't last much longer for us!

  6. Ooi...he sounds exactly like what's happening with LJ now. Very fussy with food, doesn't matter the colours or taste. If it's slightly chunky or chewy, out he spits. LJ also tends to behave and eat better when we're out. At home, he's the regular mealtime monster.

    We thot we were going to be firm parents who don't give in to indulging them with toys at meal times, but ...sigh...we also had to resort to giving him stuff to amuse/distract so we can sneak in few spoonfuls (if we're lucky!) here and there. He's really good at swatting the oncoming spoon with his hands now tho! Food mush just flies everywhere most times cos he's fast!

    Pray this phase won't last much longer for us all. If you have good tips, let me know! :)

    P/S: Glad to hear ur sup finally responded and u can get on with things. Jiayou! The end is near!

  7. Having gone through the same eating issue with Max, I can totally understand how you feel. Mealtimes are the worst and when I can, I used to make hubby feed him cos I just didn't have the patience. Since weight gain wasn't a huge concern for us, we just let him be and figured he'll eat when he's hungry. He was/is still on breastmilk and so I wasn't too overly concerned. Our situation was slightly different in the fact that he was about 10 months old when he started protesting against solids. In hindsight, I think he was just trying to tell us that he wasn't quite ready. We just assumed that since he was 10 months, he was ready to be weaned. After he turned 1, suddenly he just decided to eat and touch wood, it's been a lot better since. Hope this phase passes soon for you as well.

  8. my kids are fussy eaters too. sometimes, i dont blame them cos i too was fussy. i use bribes, i know they aint good but they work. e.g. eat a few spoons, then get a bite of the biscuit, cracker, ice cream etc (whatever he likes). It works wonders when I need them to eat fast. And now and then, I still use it for the big boys especially when the food is super boring e.g. rice, veg and steamed fish.

    yih min

  9. Sunflower: Haha, ya, we always remind him to sit properly, but sometimes the leg goes up... like an ah beng like that!

    Pooi: Thanks... Ya, we did try to ensure he's hungry before feeding him... Wah, let him wander... I don't think I have the patience for that!

    Yun: Thanks girl... at least I know we're not the only ones facing feeding problems! Not sure if he's teething again though...

    MieVee: Thanks for all those good points! Errr, he's very fickle, and he may like something one day, and reject it the next... But we'll try those suggestions you've made... :)

    SY: Whew, he sounds just like Jude! He doesn't swat the spoon, but he'll shake his head so that the spoon can't go near! Heh. Yup, I'm hoping that it'll pass soon... And I don't think I'll be don't so soon with writing, but at least its moving along...

    Jillian: I really hope it'll pass for us, just like in the case of Max... at least we know we're not alone! :)

  10. LOL! Sorry... can't help since my boy has the same problem in terms of eating. To date, I'm still experiencing what food he loves best!

  11. My girl has been eating porridge for her lunch every single day (the easiest dish to cook as all nutrients are cooked together), and feeding her the same dish could get quite challenging.

    Anyhow, here are a few tricks which worked on my girl:

    1. finger food during meal - I cut fruits into bite size pieces for her to feed herself while stuffing spoons of porridge into her mouth while she is busy doing that.
    2. reward - she loves her gummy multi-vitamins. i would tell her, if she finishes her porridge, i could quickly giv her the gummy, much to her delight.

    it is really is just a phase and it will come to past. keep up the awesome work! :)

  12. Alice: Wow, another mum in the same boat... hang in there!

    Ahjune: Thanks for those tips... we've been trying #1... I think we'd try #2 when we find something he likes enough to be bribed... hehe. :)



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