How Fussy is Fussy?

Little Z is now almost 21 months old and what most people describe as “a proper little boy”… This usually translates to meaning he loves to run and climb and throw himself off things like a little stuntman. He is pretty much on the go all the time and if he’s not running around then he is singing and dancing wanting everyone to join in. It can be exhausting just watching him and I’m pretty sure it’s made me healthier just chasing him around most of the day.

But my little man is one of the most fussiest eaters I have ever come across. I wouldn’t say he hates food, he’s just not interested. He is very much on the slim to skinny side and he regular shouts “pants!!!” at me as they start sliding down his skinny little waist. My OH is very skinny too so I know he’s very likely to take after him physique wise. That’s not what bothers me though. It’s the constant refusal to eat a proper meal.

I kept thinking “oh it’s a phase”.. But I’m now not sure how fussy is fussy and when you should start genuinely worrying that your toddler isn’t eating as much as you’d like. Most meals are a battle, particularly the bit where I try to get a very wriggly him into the highchair. Protests can range from a whiny “nooooo!” to a full throttle paddy.

Once this bit is over he may or may not eat something. I’ve never seen him polish the plate off which I’ve accepted will never happen but when he just ears the sweetcorn and declares “All done!” after the 20th meal it starts to get a bit worrying.

Take yesterday. This is what he had ALL day…

Breakfast: Some cereal with milk

Snack: handful of raisins

Lunch: two bites of scrambled egg, some sweet corn, about 3 of our chips and 3 strawberries

Dinner: Nothing (well, a bite of one slice of bread).

About a pint of milk through the day.

This is the way it pretty much goes day in day out. Is this normal for an almost 2 year old?

I’ve raised this once with the HV but was kindly dismissed with a “it’s a phase”. Umm… but this phase has gone on ever since he turned about 1! That’s a whole year?!

Do you have a fussy eater like this? Should I be worried? Should I stop looking at the nutritional value of sweetcorn hoping it’ll one day morph before my eyes and say “yes this provides an entire day of nutrition for a toddler that thinks he is the road runner?”

What to do?

16 Comments

  1. khloeee September 17, 2012 / 12:38 pm

    Arlo is much the same. On a typical day, he will eat: 1 slice of toast with peanut butter for breakfast, a pack of mini cheddars, 1 yogurt for lunch, 1 yogurt for dinner. Can’t get the boy to eat any fruit or veg. I find that once every 3 or so days, he will eat a bowl of pasta. So I figure he’s tanking himself up for the next few days. I do worry how he can survive on so little, but I’m determined not to make food into a big issue with him. He also has 2 breastfeeds and a beaker of cow’s milk a day too. He’s 2 next month.

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:18 pm

      This sounds so much like Z and from all the comments here and on Twitter it kind of sounds like a phase that’s normal…hope hope hope! My niece is the complete opposite and has a very healthy appetite. Z is like a skinny little rake in comparison!

  2. Juliet September 17, 2012 / 1:01 pm

    Best to reduce the milk and carbs and feed him up with more protein as this is a very active phase and he needs this for his bones. After weaning food is more important than milk intake, suggest you cut out all snacks /juice betwen meals so that your cihld is ‘super hungry’ at mealtimes and you will see a difference.
    Sometimes there is of more to a ‘toddler being a fussy eater’ but it is really important to have a mix of fruit/veg/proteins/fats etc. in his diet even if only in small quantiities. Keep offering different foods.

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:19 pm

      Thanks for your comment and tips. I’ve cut out his morning milk now and if he asks for it he gets food (albeit via lots of tantrums of “noooooooo…..milkkkkk!” and it slowly seems to be working a bit more!)/ Thank you!!!! I will carry on offering different foods.

  3. Older Mum (@Older_Mum) September 17, 2012 / 1:44 pm

    Very common for toddlers this age. Try not to worry too much – children have a habit of growing without much inside him. If he’s happy – I wouldn’t worry.

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:20 pm

      Thanks!! Its so reassuring for people to tell me this is a phase and normal. I was starting to worry a lot. He just loves to play so much, I’m not sure where he gets all that energy from.

  4. L.A.C.E. September 18, 2012 / 8:23 am

    at the age of 2.5 my eldest would only eat PB&J three meals a day. Kids are strange creatures. As long as he’s happy and on track, I wouldn’t worry too much.

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:22 pm

      Thank you hun 🙂 I have cut down some of his milk and he is eating a teeeeeny tiny bit more…which makes me SOOO happy. (God, at the moment I am thrilled if he has a few a few spoonfuls of cocopops!)

  5. MsXpat September 18, 2012 / 5:54 pm

    HMMM, sound like you have my son, lol. He does all that you have said and is described in the same way. However, his fussiness with eating starting about 2 months ago. I’m a little concerned but not too much… yet. He used to love food and we used to chuckle about how greedy he was then suddenly he’s not that interested in food. He’ll happily have fruits and snacks (got to find a new hiding place for those) and juice but food, not that much. I gather he like more finger foods as he can be on the go while munching anything that requires him being still for too long is a burden.

    I’ve decided to give it another month or so and see what happens.

    If you son has not lost weight and is still fit and active, maybe don’t worry yet. Perhaps trying smaller healthy snacks and maybe soothies, things that are quick see how he gets on with that. And I’ll be taking my own advice too, lol.

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:23 pm

      I will definitely try smoothies. I’ve reduced his milk a bit and he’s eating a tiny bit more. It could be a coincidence but I am hoping this is a long lasting improvement. A lot of mums on Twitter have come back to say their little ones are going through this exact phase which makes me feel a lot better.

  6. Bessy Blogs September 18, 2012 / 11:43 pm

    I don’t think you need to worry too much, he’s still eating a fair amount. Only thing I’d suggest is cutting back on milk, which is quite filling, and this might increase his appetite. My boys both have milk in their cereal and a cup of warm milk before bed in the evening. Topped up with yoghurt and cheese throughout the day. Good luck!

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:25 pm

      I’ve done the milk thing and its producing a lot better results at breakfast time (hurrah!!). Now he’s eating at least half a piece of toast along with some cocopops. I think I will carry on reducing milk through the day to see if it helps.

  7. Mum2BabyInsomniac September 20, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    Iyla is terrible with eating too, the only meals she will eat are pasta with pesto or fishfingers / sausages with chips. She won’t eat any vegetables. Luckily she likes fruit and isn’t too bad with lunch stuff like ham, cheese etc but I worry about the lack of variety plus it is pretty annoying having to cook her a different meal every night. I am hoping she will grow out of it but I wasn’t a very good eater when I was little so she probably won’t! It’s so frustrating though, I don’t have any advice but you are definitely not alone! x

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:26 pm

      Z can be soooo fussy when he wants to. One day he will scoff chicken and the next he will spit it out as if I’ve given him something horrible and brand new. He loves fruit too so I am lucky there but my worry is that he’s not eating enough protein. Lets hope this phase is over quickly!

  8. Erica Price September 23, 2012 / 8:18 am

    I think lots of kids are like this and seem to manage and grow well. I’ve heard that many children get fussy at about 18 months who weren’t before. Hope he grows out of it soon cus it must be annoying/worrying.

    • notmyyearoff September 24, 2012 / 1:27 pm

      Thank you! Its amazing how they grow on so little isn’t it? He is just on the go all day long and I am on the go chasing him around with snacks and food. He definitely out runs me already!!! 🙂

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