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How do I get my daughter to eat more?



 
 
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SARAHEGILROY
SparkPoints: (9,472)
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Posts: 181
12/11/12 11:01 A

The kale I have been putting in soup. Nobody but me seems to like it any other way. I haven't tried it in a smoothie. After I get my new blender for Christmas I'll have to try that! emoticon She will eat certain lettuce. Luckily she seems to eat the darker stuff more. She hates iceburg. She really seems to eat better now that I'm not trying to get her to eat full meals. I'm wondering if part of it was retaliation for trying to make her eat. Plus, knowing she can earn a cookie or cereal (we use cereal as a dry snack) seems to help motivate her to eat too.
I think that starting in January, I'm going to track her food for a few weeks to see how much she is really eating and drinking. That way I can bring it up to her pedi during her 3 year check up. That way if there is an issue her pedi can have an idea of what she is actually taking in.



GLITTERFAIRY77
Posts: 8,023
12/11/12 6:41 A

I'm really sorry that she'll have to have surgery earlier than you anticipated, but glad the hematologist set your mind at ease about her weight.

How have you been cooking kale? I usually saute it in olive oil and sprinkle it with parmesan. Really tasty. It's also a good green to hide in soups-so if she likes broccoli soup, try mixing kale in with it. I have heard of people hiding it in kiwi, strawberry, banana smoothies with great success. Bib lettuce is tasty-almost buttery, and would make a good substitute for flat bread to make a sandwich wrap or something if she doesn't "do" salad.



SARAHEGILROY
SparkPoints: (9,472)
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12/10/12 9:24 P

We saw her hematologist last week. He isn't as concerned about her weight as I am. He is concerned about her height. Looks like she will have her spleen out sooner than originally planned. The thing is the scale there weighs her 2 lbs more than at her pedi. Our home scales weigh about .5 lb more than the pedi. It doesn't seem like a lot, but at under 30 lbs it is. The hema said that it's ok if she grazes (something the pedi frowns on) because her spleen is, in fact pressing into her stomach.
I have also quit letting her have as much say as she did. If she doesn't eat what I give her then she doesn't get anything else. It has cut down on the waste quite a bit. Plus, she has to eat the good before she can eat the bad. I am also finding new ways to fix certain things that she usually won't touch. The hema specifically said she needs lots of dark green leafy veggies. She will eat spinach some but won't eat kale or collards. So this week I am hiding the collards in soup. Guess what? She ate it just fine and asked for more! I'm hoping she will keep this up and put on some weight.



LBGONE
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12/5/12 8:02 A

I believe the food we surround our children with and make available to them is our responsibility and how much of it they eat is their responsibility. So instead of thinking in terms of getting her to eat more, I would think about what foods would pack the most nutritional calories in. (for instance whole milk over skim milk). If she is going to have only a couple bites of something, better avocado than green beans. That way you don't risk interfering with her ability to decide when she is hungry which could set her up for a weight problem later.



ZEDMAY
Posts: 41
11/28/12 12:02 A

One thing that helps with my son (he is almost 3) is getting him involved in cooking the food. I measure things out and he can pour them into a mixing bowl and stir them up. We bought a plastic serrated knife (used for cutting lettuce) that he uses to chop vegetables. He can even peel things like carrots if properly supervised. He seems more willing to eat something new (and usually healthy) if he has helped prepare it.

We also bring him grocery shopping and talk about what we will be eating that week as we shop. We get him to count items like apples as we bag them or name things as we add them to the cart. I think this makes most foods very familiar to him, so he is a little more adventurous.

It sounds like your daughter doesn't necessarily fixate on eating junk. You mentioned that she sometimes only wants things like chicken and bananas, which are healthy, so don't stress yourself out too much. My doctor always says that we should look at what our kids eat over a week rather than a day to judge if they are eating a balanced diet as it is not unusual for kids to go on food jags and eat the same thing day in and day out.



GLITTERFAIRY77
Posts: 8,023
11/26/12 1:28 P

I used to freak out when my daughter(my firstborn) did that, too, Sarah, but now, it is so not an issue. It lasted until she was in FIRST GRADE, but she still was a chubbykins! I couldn't figure it out because she was sooo picky! I can't say I wouldn't be panicking, because I did even though my baby had a weight issue in the OPPOSITE direction. I thought she might have had parasites because of her tummy! Nope. It was just her body type.



WHOAMI9999
Posts: 48
11/26/12 12:23 P

I have a kid who has always been on the very low end of the weight/height charts. We got into some slightly bad eating habits because the doctors made such a big deal about his growth that I was constantly trying to get food in him. I started letting him have a small treat after eating a meal (including breakfast). This might not have been the best strategy, but he knows he needs to eat something healthy before having a treat, and he still only has a few small treats per day. He also will now ask specifically for healthy food sometimes. If I don't have a meal already made I will let him pick what he wants (that doesn't require cooking a separate meal) as long as it is something reasonable. Don't let your daughter manipulate you into only eating "junk" - this is a power struggle that she is winning if she is not also getting some healthy food with it. 4 bananas - might not be too balanced, but at least she is eating something nutritious.

If your doctor doesn't seem to be listening to your concerns, you need to find another doctor. You need a doctor that can tell you if there really is a concern with her weight (is she staying on her growth curve or has she significantly dropped down). You also need to talk to someone (doctor or dietician) on what you can feed her that she will eat, doesn't constipate her or aggravate her condition, and will give her more "good calories." Since milk is not an option, ask are there any drinks with lots of good calories you can give her - I don't know if any of the adult protein drinks (you can get soy based) are OK for a 3 year old.

Also, when you've tried to be firm about not giving in to her about food, how long have you done it for? Was it just a day, or did you try for a longer period of time? Kids are very good at "waiting us out", and you might need to go longer so she sees that you are serious about not letting her have her way. And I know she's only 3, but you can start talking to her about "good nutrition" in a simple way - foods that "make your body strong", and foods that are "only sometimes" foods.








JENMC14
Posts: 2,707
11/26/12 9:42 A

My youngest will be 4 in February. She weighed in at 32 pounds at the doctor last week. I think she was between 28 & 30 pounds at her 3 year old check-up. If you're doctor's not concerned, and she's gaining and growing on her own curve (steadily, even if slowly) I wouldn't worry. At her 3 year old check-up, my oldest (who was there for her 11 year check-up, both have February birthdays), was decidedly in the average came. (almost exactly 50th percentile for height and weight), and the doc mentioned it and seemed happy. When we got to the little one, she said, "well, she's growing!" in a humorous way. She didn't seem concerned that she's petite. It is odd to me because my oldest (who was 6 pounds at birth at 37 weeks, 3 days) plumped up fast, and has never been below average, height or weight. The little one was 5 lbs, 12 oz at birth at 38 weeks, 2 days, and has been on a slow grow ever since then, never even hitting average for height or weight. (They do have different biological dads, though, both are about the same height....)

Anyway, my point is, she won't let herself starve, as was mentioned. Give her options. My littlest eats a ton. All the time. She always wants sweets, but she gets fruit snacks, granola bars, fruit or crackers, most of the time. Not the healthiest, but not the worst. I wouldn't cater to her every desire.

Does she have a specialist for her spleen condition? You could talk to him/her. You may also want to talk to another doctor, if you really have a gut feeling something's off, even if the one you have is supposed to be "the best".



SARAHEGILROY
SparkPoints: (9,472)
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Posts: 181
11/26/12 8:34 A

I have actually tried this. She may end up eating a bite or two, but that's it. She will go the whole day without eating if I push it. Her dr blames it on being a toddler. I am actually considering finding a dr for the kids because the few conserns I have are mostly shrugged off. Unfortunately, her practice seems to be the best around. I haven't been overly concerned about the weight issue until recently. I have never seen a toddler so bony. I'm actually thinking of bringing it up with the hematologist at her next appointment. If he says it's ok then I'll let it go. If he is concerned then maybe he can guide me to the right person to talk to? There is just so much to think about when feeding her. It's more than will she eat it. She needs calcium because she's a growing child, but to much messes with the spherocytosis. She can't have much dairy. Too much bread or pasta seems to constipate her too. Issues with gluten maybe? I can't get the dr to agree to testing her for allergies. I am just thankful my 1 yo only has the dairy issue!



GLITTERFAIRY77
Posts: 8,023
11/25/12 3:24 P

I am sorry she has the issue with her spleen. I have this thing though, if my kids will not eat what I put in front of them, I will let them go hungry. They will only let themselves go hungry for so long. Trust me. I've been through it twice. I believe that it's okay to be picky about some things, because there are some things that I just do not like, too. However, I am the parent, and I make the rules. I think it clicked with me one time, when my daughter wouldn't even eat a pb & j because I put it on wheat instead of white. I let her go hungry. Another time, she threatened to run away once because I was serving her a salad for her lunch-the same salad like the one I had the day before that she devoured the entire thing. It is more of an issue of assertion and learning what they can and cannot get away with than it is with the food, I believe. I am the parent, like I said. If you don't feel like eating what I'm serving, it won't kill them to skip a meal until they're hungry enough for it. Your daughter might just be naturally skinny, too. See if there is a nutritionist you can speak with in the pediatric office, or speak with her pediatrician about some tricks to get her to eat.

Edited by: GLITTERFAIRY77 at: 11/25/2012 (15:25)


SARAHEGILROY
SparkPoints: (9,472)
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Posts: 181
11/25/12 9:28 A

My older daughter will be 3 in January. I am having issues with her gaining enough weight. She weighs in at a whopping 27 lbs. She has only gained 2 lbs in the last 18 months. I am starting to worry because she is so bony. You can feel every bone in her back and her hips stick out. I know part of the problem is that she has spherocytosis and her spleen is enlarged. It doesn't leave a whole lot of room for her stomach to expand. She is also picky in the sense that some days she won't eat fruit. Others she only wants chicken. Sometimes she will only eat what daddy has on his plate. We also have to limit her dairy to 1 yogurt or 1 piece of laughing cow cheese a day. Anymore and she has to take Mirilax for a week to straighten out her digestive system.
The bad thing is, I've started letting her have whatever she wants just so she will eat something. Fruit snacks, cookies, chocolate, cheese puffs. The other day she would only eat bananas all day til dinner. She had 4. Anything just to get her to eat! I have even tricked myself into thinking that I am giving her (quasi) healthy options because the cookies are arrowroot, the chocolate is dark chocolate and the cheese puffs are "all natural".



 
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