Fussy toddler!: Help! My son will be three in July and... - NCT


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Fussy toddler!


Help! My son will be three in July and has become such a fussy eater. My husband doesn't worry as he was a fussy eater until he met me! But I am concerned that he isn't eating enough fruit and veg. I try different things, making fun shapes, making pasta sauces out of veg and smoothies. My daughter has just started weaning and eats everything and it's just highlighting the issue even more! Any tips on how to encourage him to eat more of a variety? He usually eats well at breakfast and lunch (although he will only eat a cheese sandwich and fruit or omelette and fruit) but doesn't eat much at all at dinner time.

10 Replies

Do you fuss with him? I think the more fuss you make with toddlers the more they drag their feet.

You could try giving him a plate with just the veg first before adding the sandwich on, and avoid giving him sweet snacks in between

KellyTrip in reply to roxannacar

Yeah I guess I do. Not at first as it seemed like a phase but now it has been a while. I just worry he isn'the getting his nutrients. That'said a good idea. I will try that. Thanks!


Im just going through this. I can’t sit with mine when she eats otherwise she purposely plays up for maximum attention (I’ve just had child no 2 and she’s not impressed!). She will refuse to eat, throw it on the floor or cry and shout until I admit defeat and take It away. So, I put the food in front of her and walk away to wash up, clean where I can have one secret eye on her, she’ll stare at me to see if she can get my attention and then give up and eat. This works most of the time but not always. It’s so frustrating isn’t jt!

KellyTrip in reply to Hidden

Very!! I have to admit that our son has done more things for attention since his sister came along which is understandable. We try to sit and eat together when we can but sometimes it isn't possible. I guess like roxannacar says, the less you fuss the less they react.

My first stopped eating well around 18 months, I was pregnant with our second child, we moved house to a completely new area. The one thing she could control was what went in her mouth. It’s normal. Their weight plateaus around this time, they are no longer growing as fast so don’t need to eat as much. Both of mine eat me out of house and home at times and then have a growth spurt and go back to eating less.

With my second child I tried eating the same food with the children helped as they could see I was eating it, so it was safe and mummy likes it so maybe they will. My second has been much better and is now 4 years old and still tries things that we’re all eating, that my 6 year old daughter takes one look at, says she doesn’t like it and runs away.

The body is an amazing thing, it will eat what it needs, so maybe by the end of the day when he’s tired, he doesn’t need anything to eat, there’s the opposite problem that you teach him to eat everything in front of him and he becomes obese as an adult as he doesn’t recognise when he’s full. My son has always eaten well, more than my daughter, but then he wasn’t growing and we’re now under a paediatrician who put him on a low gluten, low lactose diet; so eating lots doesn’t mean the body is taking the nutrients out of the food and turning them into child.

Maybe try making the main meal at lunchtime? Put a small piece of omelette on the side of his plate so he has something familiar alongside other stuff to try.

Try to relax, my favourite thing to say to my kids at meal times is “you don’t have to eat it” (but there isn’t anything else) it gives them control and takes the stress out of the situation for me. I provide a mixture of meals, some I know they like, some new ones, some foods they say they don’t like for them to try again.

Positive peer pressure is a great thing when it comes to eating, kids always eat better with other kids, eg at nursery, preschool and school. Our preschool is in the local primary school and we can pay for our children to eat the school dinners, so on the two full days a week my son is at preschool I pay for him to have a school dinner, knowing that he’s getting a good meal there and the preschool staff can deal with the one more mouthful if he isn’t that interested in the food.

When my second was weaning (I did baby led weaning with both of mine), I remember him feeding himself and my then 2 1/2 year old insisting on being fed, it felt ridiculous but it worked for us if I just put the food on the fork and fed her. We also play a game (still now) where if they’re flagging I put food on their fork and say “don’t eat that, I’m going over here to do...then I’m going to eat it” usually that gets a few more forkfuls in them.

Do whatever works for you and your family, try lots of things and work out what works. Unless your children are under weight and short (in relation to you and your partner’s heights) don’t stress or worry about it too much, he will come out the other side. When your child is short, skinny and has never had a solid stool in their life, you take them to the GP at 3 years old and they write a referral letter to the paediatrician with ‘failure to thrive’ then you can worry a bit (but you’re seeking help from a medical professional so it should be sorted). Good luck x

KellyTrip in reply to Winnie258

Thank you for this. I will be trying a few things! Now that he knows he can eat what he likes and not what he doesn't it'seems definitely a lot harder!! Yes I never expect him to eat more than he needs to for that reason. I hate when parents make their kids eat all of what's on their plate. It's such a bad attitude to teach. I probably worry too much about things!

Heh oh yes that's another thing that works with my daughter ... this is mummy's food ... lol she never eats soup when I make it... so last time I have having some soup, warmed it up put it on the table went back into the kitchen to get her food and she had eaten half my soup! Lol

Hidden in reply to roxannacar

Haha! Yes!! Here too!

Hey! So not happening to me personally but my niece was/ and still is to an extent a fussy eater since my nephew was born when she was 18 months old. We all as a family feel that she became fussy because she felt she was missing out and not getting attention after my nephew was born.

No arguments happened but when she comes to stay with me and her uncle she eats whatever we make for her and has impeccable table manners. We had the whole family stay in the summer and her mother couldn’t believe it when she first ate spaghetti boligense (apparently a huge no no at home) but always has it at ours and when we go out to eat when she’s with us, and she then asked to leave the table 🙄

It’s more than difficult when you’re a mother doing 57 things at once but we always try and involve the kids when cooking. Sometimes they’ll be more involved but more often than not we let them stir their food and make a big deal of it making out they’re chefs and cooking their own dinner and then they always want to eat their creation, even if we’ve shown them what’s in it and it’s got ingredients in that they’ve stipulated on more than one occasion that they don’t like. It’s worth a try! Failing that just blend everything into a sauce then they won’t have any idea what veg you’ve put in their food!

Good luck x

Government recommendation is that under 5s should have a multi vitamin so this would give you peace of mind in regards to his vitamin and nutrient intake

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