We’re Still In the Night Garden
10th September 2017
#ABloggingGooodTime Week 62
14th September 2017
No one said being a parent would be easy. In fact when I told people I was looking forward to it some even laughed and called me naive and told me I had no idea what was coming. Yes it would have it’s brilliant bits but nothing could prepare you for the incoming devastation. Well, I wouldn’t say it was quite that bad – yes there have been moments of utter despair when I thought I would collapse from exhaustion but actually there have been so many more good moments than bad. What I didn’t expect, that nobody warned me about, that I really could have done with a heads up about was the level of anxiety and the amount of worry we have as parents. I have never known anything like it. Will they sleep? Are they sleeping too much? Am I doing the right thing? Are they happy? Are they too hot? Am I a good mother? Plus a million other worries that whiz round a parents head every single waking (and often sleeping) moment of the day.  Right now, I am facing what I think has been one of the worst so far. My daughter isn’t eating and I am worried she is going to accidentally starve herself, but how do you get a toddler to eat?

a childs mouth and nose with red lips and crumbs all over them

You might think I am exaggerating and being dramatic or on the other hand you might be thinking the same as me. a pile of green apples on a white background. one on the top has a gold tap sticking out of it. it's turned offThe truth is that currently my daughter is surviving on a yogurt or two a day, a little bit of apple and on the odd occasion some white bread or brioche. So no, she won’t starve but to me it feels like she will. I am juicing fruit and vegetables for her to have as drinks in a vain attempt to get some nutrients into quickly growing body.

I know children go through stages on not wanting food or only eating certain foods and the fact that she has been poorly the last two or three weeks with this damn cold/flu virus thing that just won’t quit has not helped but this just seems so extreme. She’s gone from a little girl who ate a fair breakfast, wasn’t overly interested in lunch and then always tucked in at tea time to barely nothing. Beforealittle baby looking at the camera holding a piece of watermelon with both hands and biting in between her hands the critics and trolls jump in, no just because I am a larger person (who FYI is trying to do something about that) does not mean I am force feeding or trying to get more into my daughter than necessary. I am not asking her to clear her dinner plate – all I’m asking is that she take a bite!

Tonight we had tears, I thought in my infinite parenting wisdom that perhaps she was playing up. So, I presented her with her dinner of potatoes, sausage and spaghetti hoops (all of which she loves) to receive a smile and for her to instantly shove a piece of potato in her mouth and say “Yum!” I thought that we had possibly, finally made some headway – nope! After that first bite, she pushed the plate away and told me she was all done and she’d like he yogurt now. I decided to stand firm. I told her she needed to eat more dinner first. There was a whinge, a tear and then she got her plate and ate another piece of potato. Then all hell broke loose. In her mind of course, she had done exactly what mummy had asked – she had eaten more and I wasn’t giving her the yogurt she asked for. I was telling her she had to eat even more. Full on tears fell. Cries of ” Yog Yog pllllleeeaassseee Mama” could be heard and eventually I took her plate and retrieved a yogurt.

Several things crossed my mind as I scraped her plate into the bin with tears running down my face. The first was that I had given in so what if she thought that from now on she never had to eat dinner because Mummy would always bring her a yogurt?! Had I done the wrong thing giving in? Another thought was that at least she was eating something and wouldn’t be going to bed hungry or on an empty stomach. But was a couple of little yogurts really woman with her head in her hands cryingenough for that? At least she ate every last morsel of them and actually a little while later shared an apple with Daddy too.

It is so hard to know what the right thing to do is in this type (or often any type) of situation. Nonna had a bit of a Google and looked at the opinions of child experts and psychologists who all said the same thing. “DON’T force your child to eat something!” They said that if a child doesn’t want something, even if it’s the same something they always want, to not make a big deal of it and try again later or another day. To go with the flow when it comes to children eating, otherwise they could end up developing much worse food issues later in life. Great, so if my daughter has an eating disorder when she’s older, I’ll be able to trace blame all the way back to that moment this evening when I tried to do what I thought I should do in getting her to eat. I didn’t shout, I didn’t tell her off, I tried to stay positive and encourage her to eat what I had put in front of her and it hadn’t worked.

Alyssa looking at the camera. Wearing a dark grey t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. her hands are holding a drinks bottle to her chest and there is a green straw going up to her smiling mouth. the sun is shining on her golden brown curls

No, my daughter won’t starve. A few months ago when she was ill, I took her to the doctors and mentioned that she wasn’t eating and he had told me that it didn’t matter. As long as she was drinking, that was what was important. But how long can that really be true? How long can they really and truly refuse food before it has some sort of affect whether that be on their energy levels or their health? Another statement made by the experts is that children have the best relationship with food. They will eat and drink when they are hungry and won’t when they are not. It is us as adults who have the bad relationship with food and it is our thoughts and feelings on food that we are trying to put on our little ones that we should be careful of. That doesn’t make it any easier though does it? I know I have a bad relationship with food which I am trying to fix and I am also, in my head, trying to encourage my little one to have a good relationship with food too. However for now, I guess all I can do is go with the flow and hope that when she is ready and hungry she’ll take even one bite of her dinner!


  1. Ellen says:

    Oh sooo stressful! Please don’t worry, we’ve all done that, and it won’t cause any lasting damage at all! All kids are different and you know her best. Without sounding preachy myself, one thing that works with TM sometimes is to give him everything at once – so the fruit or yoghurt at the same time as the main meal. He tends to eat that first but often goes back to some parts of the main meal and eats more that way. Otherwise he just shouts ‘fruit’ (sadly he can’t pronounce ‘f’s’ so it comes out as shit ??) at me for ages while studiously ignoring the lovingly prepared dinner. But like I say, you know her best. Try not to panic xx

  2. We’re in the same position – the Popple basically only wants to eat fruit, yogurt or Organix snacks, despite the fact that she used to eat a wider range of foods. I don’t like it, but I just keep offering her healthy meals and let her see me eating them too in the hope that eventually she’ll decide she wants to join me again. #ablogginggoodtime

  3. The Pramshed says:

    There is nothing worse than making a plate full of food for your child only for them not to eat it. We have been in a very similar stage to you with our daughter only eating a yoghurt, a little bit of fruit or porridge. She has her ups and down weeks, and as long as I know she’s drinking then she’s fine. I found that giving her milk when she didn’t eat, put my mind at rest, at least I know she was getting something kind of solid. Claire x #ablogginggoodtime

  4. As a child who is similar it can be worrying. I hope things feel better soon. #ablogginggoodtime

  5. Good luck this must be very difficult and worrying to deal with #ablogginfgoodtime

  6. jodie filogomo says:

    Wow….the things that keep us up at night. I hope it gets better soon!

  7. Ooh big hugs! These toddlers are sent to make us think though aren’t they. Their brains are wired differently to ours (actual fact!) and you did exactly what you said you would and so did she (eat more and have a yoghurt) so no you are not going to harm her and no you haven’t done anything wrong. Trust me when I say that I have read some serious stories of force feeding in my food aversion books and this was still done with the idea of love and best interests and you are not in anyway forcing A to do anything, so don’t pile more worry and guilt on top of yourself lovely xxx

  8. Lucy says:

    I feel your pain! Our son went through a phase of not eating dinner and only yogurt and then snapped out of it. Having said that, he does still opt for a yogurt on occasion and when he does, I just go with it and usually it coincides with him being a bit constipated or out of sorts. Tell yourself that she won’t be an adult existing just on yogurt. Thats what I do if I start to worry! #ablogginggoodtime

  9. Kamsin says:

    She won’t starve. I was that kid…I mean I don’t actually remember being that age, but I know I was a super picky eater who hardly ate. And I have struggled with food all my life. But I’m still here, so I definitely didn’t starve.

    Have you had her tested for food allergies? It could be a texture issue too? Little mouths are super sensitive to texture, so the yogurt is smooth and easy to swallow, but everything else is maybe hard and she doesn’t like the feel of it, or she doesn’t like having to chew too much. Or something.

    I can remember having a sausage and finding grisle and then refusing sausages for months. I must have been a bit older then of course.

    It could even just be to do with asserting her independence. She wants what she asks for not what mummy gives her? Try giving her the yoghurt first and you can sit and eat what you want her to eat…she might suddenly want it!

    And repeat the mummy mantra “this too shall pass.” I grew out of it, and your little one will too. You’re doing a great job!!!


  10. Aleena says:

    It’s so hard to know what the right thing to do is sometimes, isn’t it? Amelia was always great with food until about 8 or 9 months ago when I feel like she started to use mealtimes as a ploy for power. It frustrates me that kids decide they don’t like food just by looking at it, but I also know that I was no different! Good luck, she’ll be fine. xx #ablogginggoodtime

  11. I can totally understand how you feel. With my first I used to get really worried when he wouldn’t eat but eventually I noticed there was a bit of a pattern. He would go through a coup,e of weeks of not eating very much at all, then come back to eating normally then every now and then he would eat like a horse. Every time he ate like a horse he had a growth spurt. So he really was just following what his body needed. With my second I am much more relaxed. When she’s under the weather or tired the first thing to go is her appetite and she will live on a few mouthfuls of cereal and a couple of yogurts. She hasn’t eaten an evening meal all this week because she is tired after starting pre-school. I put her plate in the table and she can join us or not. But she doesn’t get anything else. If she’s hungry she has to eat what I have plated up, not necessarily everything on the plate, but I will say she has to eat so many bites or move some forward and say she has to eat that before she can ask for a yogurt. And I never throw it away until she has gone to bed because sometimes she will come back to it. It’s always hard knowing what is best, but trust me on this, you are most certainly not alone, and she won’t starve. When her body needs more fuel she’ll find her appetite again x

  12. Helena says:

    I can relate to this I’ve one who is on a see food everywhere eat it diet and one that worries me she’s eating enough. #ablogginggoodtime

  13. Hubby was under GOSH for lack of eating, he would go the whole day on one bag of crisps and was dramatically underweight, but it was all stemming from a labour issue where he was born in the butchers (not really, but the doctor was drunk when he did a c-section leading to complications.)
    From someone who has a slight knowledge of issues with children not eating, (i also ate like a sparrow as a kid) try not to worry… i know its easier said than done but perhaps allow her to have her yoghurts as a lunchtime meal, so if she then eats any breakfast (granola type cereal with yoghurt) or dinner on top of that its a bonus?
    hopefully its the bug sticking around and her appetite has reduced, if she isnt getting back to her usual eating habits in the next week or two, perhaps go back to the doctor. They can reassure you or give some other advice and tips on ways to get her to eat.
    Chin up lovely, you’re doing a great job and clearly trying to do the best for your little girl xx #ablogginggoodtime

  14. Crummy Mummy says:

    BB once went 10 whole days without eating…I hope it gets better soon for your sake as well as hers! #ablogginggoodtime

  15. I can’t imagine how you are feeling. My girls have always been good eaters, something I am very thankful for. The only time they don’t eat is when they are really sick. I used to stress about that because it was so out of character, but kids don’t have the same body image vs food issues that adults have. If they are hungry, they eat, if they are not hungry they won’t. Although I do realise that there are exceptions.
    I am so sorry for taking so long to comment from last week’s #ablogginggoodtime. Life got in the way of my blogging.

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