View Full Version : Almost 2-yr-old still on baby food!

03-04-2014, 11:21 AM
I have a 20-month-old dcb who has pretty crazy eating issues. The majority of his diet is still baby food. He'll eat dry carbs-crackers, cereal, toast, goldfish, but that's about it. He absolutely refuses to put anything else in his mouth. No fruit, veggies, meat, eggs, anything. Mom has recently taken him to a pediatric dietician, and the only suggestion that she was given was to keep giving him the baby food, whereas we had been trying to phase it out. The dietician said to "hide" bits of cooked veggies like peas or corn in the baby food and hide bits of meat and such in it to sneak it into his diet.

Frankly, my initial thinking was the exact opposite. There is no reason the child shouldn't be able to eat - he has a mouth full of teeth, doesn't have any gag reflex or tongue issues or anything like that, and is obviously capable of eating - hand him a whole graham cracker and he'll take bites, chew and swallow just fine! He's simply learned that if he refuses long enough, he'll be given his purees.

I feel that a crash course in real food is necessary. Give him a meal appropriate to his age and abilities, so small bites, food cut up, etc, and leave him to it. If he doesn't eat, fine, he will be hungry. He's not going to starve himself, and I know he's capable of chewing and swallowing properly. I am pretty confident that after a week or so he'll start to realize that he's hungry and start to eat.

I tried what mom said the dietician suggested today. We had fried eggs (along with veggies and fruit) so I cut it up and mixed some into his jar of baby food. The first 2 or 3 bites went fine, and then he figured out what was going on, and every bite after that was a huge struggle. It was ridiculous! He's not the only child in my care, and he's almost 2! Hand-feeding him every bite is just silly, in my opinion.

Anyone know of a non-judgemental way to bring this up with mom? I'm willing to accept that nap times will be a challenge for the week if he's hungry, but is there a way to gently suggest to mom that the dietician's recommendations are just not suitable to daycare? (And that I think the suggestion is pretty stupid, but maybe we'll leave that part out!:)

5 Little Monkeys
03-04-2014, 11:27 AM
I would say something like "I understand the doctor suggested this technique but to be honest, I tried it for a day or two and it's just not working out in my group setting. I would like to suggest "insert your plan here" for a week and see if that works. Are you open to that? If not, I don't think I can care for xxx as the doctor's suggestion does not allow me to safely look after all the children in my care because I have to be one on one with xxx."

03-04-2014, 11:34 AM
exactly what 5LM said!

I feel for you. I cannot imagine a 20 month old on baby food!! I just started with an 11 month old on baby food and it takes up so much time! I immediately began giving him larger chunks and letting him eat on his own and within 2 weeks he was eating the same things as the rest of us and mom quit sending the puree (her suggestion as he was always too full to barely eat any of it). By 20 months old at my house they are sitting at the big kid table with the big kids using utensils and eating 100% on their own.

bright sparks
03-04-2014, 11:45 AM
I would also play on your experience with other children versus a dietician who has likely had little experience weaning children. Textbook learning is not the same as hands on and while the dietician would have done an internship it's highly unlikely it would have been with multiple under 3's with a multitude of eating habits. Even mothers of a few children likely haven't been exposed to fussy eaters as much as a home daycare provider. Also, hiding food for a 2 year old is really an insult to their intelligence. That's something that could be said with some humour as 2 year olds are not stupid. This isn't a food issue but a power and control issue. I agree with you completely. I think you could say it to the parent in the exact same way you did in your original post. I think what would be a good idea, and a good way of wording it to the parents is that you would like to wean the child. Instead of a full meal of mixed items, pick one or two foods, a savoury and a sweet like fruit. Cut into small pieces and spoon feed a few times and leave him to it. Yes you are busy with the others but if this was a 1 year old the spoon feeding wouldn't be an issue. This is a means to an end where in the next few weeks the spoon feeding will possibly result in a positive outcome so makes it a worthwhile action to take. Hand mom a menu a week in advance and suggest that you both feed the same foods as you would when newly introducing foods to a weaning infant. You would feed the same foods several days before introducing a new food. If there is no other option eventually he will be forced to try it and then will eventually eat it, but if mom is caving into him at home with crackers and cereal, etc then she is enabling his fussiness with food. If she is not willing to work with you then you are fighting a losing battle. Our days are busy enough without these kinds of situations where we bust our balls in the best interests of the child but parents are not on board.

bright sparks
03-04-2014, 11:47 AM
exactly what 5LM said!

I feel for you. I cannot imagine a 20 month old on baby food!! I just started with an 11 month old on baby food and it takes up so much time! I immediately began giving him larger chunks and letting him eat on his own and within 2 weeks he was eating the same things as the rest of us and mom quit sending the puree (her suggestion as he was always too full to barely eat any of it). By 20 months old at my house they are sitting at the big kid table with the big kids using utensils and eating 100% on their own.

I second that.....big kids are sat at the big kid table and either eat 100% on their own or go hungry. The minute we start buying into this fussy and picky eater nonsense, very quickly things can escalate.

03-04-2014, 11:54 AM
This is exactly the problem, bright sparks! Mom is TOTALLY catering to him! She had to keep a food journal for a few days before going to the dietician, and she brought it last week so I could record what he ate during the day. I knew they were letting him get away with it, but the journal was insane! His dinner, 3 nights in a row, was BABY CEREAL! Mixed with 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Spoon-fed. That's it! My 15-month-old hasn't eaten baby cereal in months! They're not even trying at all. I've been giving him the same thing as everyone else, and then if at the end of lunch time he hasn't eaten enough, I've been giving him baby food. I thought this was what was happening at home too, that they were at least giving him a chance to try it, but that's not even happening.

I really don't like tricking kids to get them to eat their meals. This whole idea of "hiding" veggies in pasta for kids who won't touch veggies, etc etc, is just silly. If they cater to him this much and sneak food into him now, when will they ever stop and insist that he eat what's served to him? In my opinion, it's just setting him up for having more issues with eating.

Thanks for the positive feedback; I really didn't think I was being too harsh, but it's a relief to have some confirmation of that! I'll try to talk to her this evening, because I don't want to do it behind her back, but the baby food isn't coming out in my house anymore.

bright sparks
03-04-2014, 12:06 PM
I think the complete elimination of baby food is important. He knows if he doesnt eat it you will give him the bay food so where is the incentive to eat or the realization that there are negative consequences to not eating the food given to him. I would highlight to the mother that if you aren't consistently doing the same at home and in daycare then efforts are completely wasted. He is of an age where he will know how to manipulate either or both of you. She needs to not give baby food and not give the crackers and cereal. I would reinforce that the cereal is nutrient deficient for his age, although its rubbish for any child to be honest. Mum needs to be the parent here and take control of the situation, A dietician isn't needed in this case as it isn't really a food issue, just a parent under the thumb by a fussy eater issue which isn't really something a dietician can help with.

03-04-2014, 12:34 PM
I agree totally. I don't do any feeding of kids at all. I just pretend they know how to do it and they figure it out quickly. I for sure wouldn't feed a 2 yr old and i would cut out all the crap he's eating.

03-04-2014, 01:18 PM
well I have a kid like this. This child ate baby food for a long time. Well suddenly mom stops the baby food at almost 2 yrs old and then wants the child to eat regular food. But the problem is that they were never taught to eat anything except either junk like cookies and crackers or dry cereal, well now this child eats nothing and I kid you not, except junk. Fries have to be a certain kind, only plane pasta and it has to be a certain kind and now they add food coloring to it, eats no veggies or fruit and I mean nothing. She also knows that she will get junk if she doesn't eat, fruit snacks are a staple in her diet. But because of the poor diet, her hair is very thin and falls out in clumps, pale skin, sunken eyes, looks like an ethiopian child (big belly and head but skinny every where else) I've complained but you know what the problem is LAZY PARENTS. Its easier to feed crap to a child then to feed them good food.

03-14-2014, 10:28 AM
This is getting more and more ridiculous. I spoke to Mom, she seemed like she was on board with cutting out baby food, so that's what I've been doing. He eats NOTHING. Right now he is whining at the table looking at a plate of pasta, tomato sauce, and mixed veggies, all cut up for him. His baby food is literally the same thing, just mush (he eats those disgusting Heinz meal ones, like "alphabet pasta with tomato sauce," etc)
I thought we were on the same page, and then a couple days ago, dcmom suggested that since that day I would only have her kids and my own kids, that she take a day off (must be nice!) and we take the kids to an indoor playplace for a treat. We got them Mcdonalds afterwards, and he was eating a grilled cheese, one of the very few things he will actually eat. He had a couple bites, and then started whining, and the second he made a peep, she whips out a jar of baby food and starts feeding him! The whining probably wasn't even due to the grilled cheese, he continued to eat it! I couldn't believe it - where is the incentive to eat real food??
I refuse to give him baby food, so he refuses to eat. The problem is, he goes home and gets fed baby food and baby cereal every night for supper, so where is the incentive to try real food? He's simply going to starve himself all day with me, then go home and get filled up with mush.

I have to talk to mom again, but I don't want to offend her. I've tried already, and she claimed she was ok with it. Well, obviously not! Now I'm faced with him either screaming through nap because he's hungry or caving and giving him the damn baby food, further reinforcing that if he cries or whines long enough, we will all cave and he will get what he wants. If the parents won't cooperate, I don't see the point in my day suffering.

03-14-2014, 11:07 AM
I see 2 options. Continue to only offer foods...and hope he will come around eventually.

Or just give baby food and let the mom do it on her own.

I would pick the route that makes my life easiest as you clearly are not going to change the family for the better without a lot of aggravation on your part.

How disruptive is the kid crying all through nap to you? How miserable is he? If he's stressing you or the other children out with his hungry whining then I'd just give baby food and tell the mom that when she is ready to do her part at home you will do your part, until then he gets the food he is trained to want.

I don't think it's worth your energy and stress to try and fix this problem. Take the easy route and enjoy the peace you get from his belly being full!!

03-14-2014, 11:52 AM
I disagree! There is no way I would be feeding the child baby food. Mom can do what she wants at home but the child isn't stupid. He will know that he doesn't wine and get his way at your house. Go hungry then and be cranky but do not let the child win.

Ha ha, maybe I am too much of a mean a$$ LOL

03-14-2014, 12:00 PM
I disagree! There is no way I would be feeding the child baby food. Mom can do what she wants at home but the child isn't stupid. He will know that he doesn't wine and get his way at your house. Go hungry then and be cranky but do not let the child win.

Ha ha, maybe I am too much of a mean a$$ LOL

I totally agree, I learned my lesson about parents supplying food.

03-14-2014, 02:51 PM
I disagree! There is no way I would be feeding the child baby food. Mom can do what she wants at home but the child isn't stupid. He will know that he doesn't wine and get his way at your house. Go hungry then and be cranky but do not let the child win.

Ha ha, maybe I am too much of a mean a$$ LOL

I get what you're saying, and I don't think you're mean at all. That's what I do for a lot of other situations. But at this point, the provider has done all she can for this kid, but the parent is making it basically impossible for her to make a difference. I'd suggest to do whatever makes her life easier. This isn't mentioned, but does he at least know how to use a spoon? If not, start there, so at least you don't have to actually spend the time spoon feeding him at every meal. Hand him a bowl with his food and have him go to town until he figures it out.

03-14-2014, 03:30 PM
Nope, won't use a spoon. They've never given him a chance to try. I gave him a plastic spork with his pasta today, which amused him for about 30 seconds, but he never makes any attempt to actually use a spoon; doesn't even try to grab the spoon when I'm feeding him yogurt or something.

He ended up going to naptime hungry, wailed for a while, but did sleep for about 2 hours, so I'm really at a crossroads. I either put up with the noise at the beginning of naptime, knowing that eventually he'll probably sleep, or I just give in and feed him the stuff. For now, technically I can, since I only have him and my own 16-month-old who eats everything and doesn't need any help, during the day. I'm advertising to fill spots, however, and if I end up with one or 2 more little ones, then I really won't have the time to be feeding him. It was one thing when I had 3 1-year-olds all on baby food, it was just an assembly line, but now that he's the only one on baby food and is making no attempt to get off of it it's becoming a problem.

I really want to keep at it, and not give him any, in the hopes that he will eventually eat. I worry about his nutrition though, eating essentially nothing except cheerios and crackers here all day, and then going home to have a couple bites of pablum and some baby food, which is all he eats at dinner. It's just not enough. He's on milk now too, not formula, which would at least give him the nutrition he's missing. With the parents not on board it could take weeks at least, he's an incredibly stubborn little guy, and I don't want him to suffer nutritionally for weeks on end.

03-14-2014, 03:45 PM
I agree with mickeyc. He will get it eventually.

bright sparks
03-14-2014, 04:06 PM
How long have YOU eliminated baby food as an option at daycare?

03-14-2014, 05:09 PM
Almost 2 weeks, and zero improvement. The only things I have spoon-fed him are yogurt or applesauce, when everyone else is having it for snack. I feed these to my 16-month-old as well, or nothing would make it into her mouth! I really think I haven't gotten anywhere because he knows he'll get fed at home. He will eat crackers, goldfish, toast, rice cakes, cheerios, etc for me, but I've started limiting those because he just fills up on them and won't eat anything else. I've also limited his milk intake, since again, he just fills up on it. I offer water with meals, which he generally refuses.
It's now the point where he will just sit and cry and whine through lunch, as soon as he eats the one thing on his plate that he will touch. If I don't provide anything that I know he'll eat, he'll just sit there and whine. I try to put it on a spoon and feed it to him, no dice. I ignore him, no dice. I say things like, "you're a big boy now, you eat big boy food!" and show him how all the other big kids are eating big kid food too, no dice. I remind him he's not getting anything else and it's nap time after lunch, no dice.
I don't think it's going to change unless his parents wake up and stop the baby food, and they apparently have no intention of doing so. At some point I think I have to realize there's only so much I can do, and he's not my kid to parent. I just don't know if it's better to continue in the hopes that eventually he'll relent, or cave and do it the parents' way.

03-14-2014, 05:45 PM
Honestly, still after reading your posts I wouldn't give in! Maybe it is because I am stubborn too but I would never let a child win over me. I am the boss and it is what it is. Don't like what I am serving then too bad, go hungry. My 12 month old started at daycare a month ago on baby food and mom still holding his bottle. In the last 4 weeks he has been switched completely over to solid food (cut into small chunks) and his formula in a sippy cup. He is getting the hang of feeding himself too which is something he wouldn't do before.

Don't give up.

5 Little Monkeys
03-14-2014, 07:09 PM
I sort of agree with both sides. I make one meal and that's it. If it's something that I obviously know a child really really doesn't like than I will add something to the meal that I know they do like so that at least they are eating something. Or I will make sure afternoon snack is one they will eat. I do think kids will eat once they get hungry enough but this can only go on for so long.

It sounds like you have given this a fair shot and have also spoke to the parents. I treat some things case by case and I think in this case, I would ask the parents to supply his food and just continue to offer him things from time to time that the rest are having. Eventually they have to stop the baby food and hopefully it's sooner rather than later but for now, I think that's what I would do. No point in stressing about something that the parents aren't obviously ready for.

If you are concerned about the nutrients he is likely not getting and if you feel comfortable with it, I would email the parents a link that shows the age appropriate food kids should be eating.

03-14-2014, 07:54 PM
Sorry this is just my opinion, but they go with the flow (eating, potty training, soothers, bottles etc.) or they can't stay due to the fact they don't fit in with the daycare. Parent's NEED to be on board or bye. Things are slow here right now but that's the rule. No matter how much I need the money I don't need or want the stress.

03-15-2014, 04:21 PM
Your daycare - your rules.
I give a handout of tips which I actually got from thread on here and used it as a guide and modified it. I give it to all my potential parents and I also go over it during the interview. Children MUST be self feeding (or attempting to at the very least), on table foods and able to drink from a cup/hold their own bottles.
There is NO WAY I can feed 4-5 children every single day.
I am very stubborn too and have had children still arrive with parents sending them baby food. I send it back at the end of each day.
The kids all eat what I serve or they don't eat - period. Yes, I am harsh! LOL! I do make sure that its something that each one of them will eat a portion of at least every day so I know that they all are eating.
I had one start at 11 months with me in October, think I wrote a post about him awhile ago. Parents sent baby cereal and a jar of not toddler chunky food, pureed 6 month old baby food plus 4 or 5 8oz bottles. I gave it a day or two and realized I couldn't work with that. After a few weeks of battling it out the little guy has turned out to be one of my best eaters! I would just put the food on his plate and tell him to eat like a big boy and wow look at xxx eating their xxx like a big boy/girl and point out the other kiddos who were eating well. I also cut his bottle amount so that he would be hungry enough to eat. He is now off bottles and he drinks his 2 cups of milk a day from a CUP and he feeds himself with a fork or spoon. His parents were willing to work with me though and I think that makes a huge difference.
If the parents aren't willing to work with you then you may have to think about terming.
Good luck!