I am having a problem with my child Gabbie. She eats so little and too long. I have to bribe her just so she will eat the food we prepare for them. I don't know what's wrong, I've given her appetite stimulant and even a de-wormer meds (as prescribed by her pedia). We also cook her favorite dishes but she would just take a bite then leave them on her plate again. I surf the net and here's what I found in the ever-reliable Nestle Club site.
Every family seems to have one; the finicky eater who must be coaxed to eat; who dawdles over meals, pushing food around in the plate; who is always the last to leave the table; who makes mealtime a contest of wills.
How do you get such a child to eat?
- First of all, there is no magic formula. Doctors may prescribe appetite stimulants and vitamins, but there is no guarantee that they will work. A few guidelines may help you cope with your finicky eater, though, and help you survive the daily battle at the dining table.
- Build up his appetite. Avoid in–between meals and snacks. Cut down your child’s intake of junk food and softdrinks, which may make him feel too full for meals. Make sure he rests a few minutes before each meal because fatigue sometimes interferes with appetite. Don’t let him drink too much water before eating.
- Make mealtimes relaxed and stress-free. Don’t jump on her case as soon as she sits. Avoid warnings like: “This time, I want you to finish everything on your plate.” Once she tenses up, her appetite goes. Try to ignore her antics for the first few days. It may be difficult at first, but the changed atmosphere at the table will help.
- Serve food he likes. Take note of the dishes that he finishes each time you serve them, as well as those he won’t touch. As a general rule, children don’t go for highly spiced food and dishes with sauces. Serve food warm and cut up in bite-size pieces. An attractive table setting also helps. Ask him what he’d like for lunch, and if he says hotdogs, having hotdogs for lunch for a few days will not hurt.
- Establish a regular routine for meals. Meals should be taken at the table, over conversation and company. The finicky eater won’t build up an appetite if, at mealtimes, she feels free to run around the house while the yaya chases after her with her food. Even if she won’t eat, make her sit at the table along with the rest of the family.
- Avoid any emotional attachments to food. Mothers feel affronted when their children refuse to eat the meals they prepare with so much caring, telling themselves: “If they don’t like my food, they don’t like me.” That isn’t really the case, and much of the tension at mealtimes can be avoided if you could be more philosophical about the child who refuses to eat.
If, after a trip to the doctor, your child is pronounced fit and not suffering from any appetite-draining disease or nutritional deficiency, or is not dangerously underweight, then perhaps it’s time to relax and not feel your credentials for parenting threatened by your finicky eater.