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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 4:32 pm
I'm having trouble explaining to my husband that giving dinner to our son (19mo) means putting him up in the chair, giving him a variety of healthy foods, and making him stay and eat even if he would rather go play.

It does NOT mean
  • putting some healthy foods within his view (while he is playing), assuming he'll eat if he "needs to";
  • putting him in the chair for 20 minutes and letting him down when he stops eating (after 4 bites) because he's "done" (maybe halfheartedly offering more, which of course he doesn't take);
  • handing him some Bamba and other noshes that he'll eat because he "doesn't want" the real food.

My husband helps A LOT for which I am very grateful, B"H. (I have a condition which makes many things difficult.) He is great. But I do have to ask him to give our son a meal at least a few times a week, and every time, it goes the same way. DS barely eats anything at DH's meal and starts being hungry (asking for food, eating food he finds) within 30 minutes. It inevitably throws off the rest of the day (and the next day) for me and DS, and I'm sorry to say that DH and I fight about it.

My system -- the only one that has worked for me -- is to give DS long "real meals," wait till he actually eats enough, then let him down. B"H he is fed, healthy, and growing beautifully, and I get a chance to get some things done. He listens to music or stories and I engage with him throughout. He is used to it and happy.

My husband doesn't want to do this because (1) it's annoying and involves time, some persuasion and occasional hand-feeding to make DS eat enough in the chair; and (2) he heard from our pediatrician that DS shouldn't stay there more than 25 minutes or he will develop problems.

BUT neither he nor I are capable of following pediatrician's full system, which is 3 meals and 2 snacks in the high chair a day, all formal and nutritious. I tell him that if we're not willing to do that, then we at least have to give him more food at each meal so he gets the proper nutrition.

He says that's force feeding. I tell him that I also didn't want to force feed, but it became impractical when I realized we have to stick to a schedule, make sure he's fed before he goes to activities, that he isn't still hungry at naptime, etc. (I'm the one taking care of him the rest of the day, so it all falls on me if mealtime doesn't happen.) Also, I personally grew up in a strictly no-force-feeding family, and the results for me and my siblings were pretty awful, and lifelong. I can say more.
How can I finally explain to DH that I need mealtime to be a real meal?
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amother




Sage
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 4:43 pm
I can understand how frustrating this is for you.
This was me 10 years ago. I'm not expecting you to jump 10 years in one shot, but here's what I learned.
This is how mothers and fathers are different. Most mothers I know are very engaged and careful about mealtimes, bedtimes and healthy foods. Fathers are often not.
My dh would NEVER sit feeding our toddler for 30 minutes. Not because he's mean or bad or lazy, but because he's a man and this is not a strength of his.
Men have many wonderful manly qualities, feeding babies is not one of them.
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amother




Pearl
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 4:45 pm
I’m more like your husband actually. I don’t believe in ‘making him stay at the table’ (for more than 20 minutes? 20 minutes is a lifetime!) I believe it forms a negative Association with eating and meal times.

Also, it’s not a good idea to micro manage your husbands parenting. He has a brain, too. He’s not just an extension of you. You have to give up this sense of control. It’s not good for your shalom bayis
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amother




DarkYellow
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 5:07 pm
I've found my toddler does best on 6 healthy snacks a day. She eats at:
6,8, 10, 11:30, 3, 4:30,6. Each one isn't a lot of food, but it gets her nutritional needs for the day in with less fighting. I plan what she should eat today and offer two choices at each mealtime.
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amother




Catmint
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 8:58 pm
I wouldn’t make a big deal out of that. Prepare the food that he should serve and let dh do it it his way. It’s frustrating when dh does things differently than what we believe is right but sometimes due to their own personalities and tendencies, they are unable to do things the way we might think is best. Give him the tools and then relax. The child will be okay.
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amother




Cantaloupe
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 9:02 pm
I'm with your husband on this one. 25-30 minutes is a very long meal time for a toddler. If you want him to lend a hand, you need to let him do it his way. Otherwise he'll get burnt and won't do it at all.
None of my kids ate full meals as toddlers. They ate smaller meals/snack throughout the day. It's normal for toddlers. Force feeding and leaving him to sit in the high chair for such a long time, can create more feeding problems and teach him an unhealthy relationship with food.
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amother




Steel
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 10:31 pm
20 minutes to a toddler feels like hours! That’s way too long!
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amother




Seashell
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 10:35 pm
Actually the healthier way is your husband’s way! At least some of it.

Read about Ellyn satter’s division of responsibility.

https://www.ellynsatterinstitu.....ding/

You choose what to eat, where to eat, and when, and your child chooses how much to eat and whether to eat.

So at dinner time you and your husband should bring your child to the high chair or table, but your child should decide how much to eat and whether to eat at all.
Forcing a child to eat “a serving” or for a certain amount of time will cause the child to lose their ability to listen to their hunger cues.
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amother




Clover
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 10:55 pm
The minimum amount a toddler must eat to be healthy is actually really small.
As long as my child eats a few bites (4-5)of protein I'm fine. The carb aspect he gets from the snacks he has thru-out the day.
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:07 pm
Perhaps I didn't explain well. I tried the system recommended by our pediatrician and I wasn't able to sustain it, physically or mentally. I have a physical challenge and do not have the energy to put him up there, wash the tray, clean the floor, and change his clothes (inevitably) 5 separate times a day, in addition to everything ls. I can only manage do it twice a day. The third meal I give him on my lap. He gets snacks in between.

Given this limitation, how would you make the feeding work??
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amother




Seashell
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:10 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Perhaps I didn't explain well. I tried the system recommended by our pediatrician and I wasn't able to sustain it, physically or mentally. I have a physical challenge and do not have the energy to put him up there, wash the tray, clean the floor, and change his clothes (inevitably) 5 separate times a day, in addition to everything ls. I can only manage do it twice a day. The third meal I give him on my lap. He gets snacks in between.

Given this limitation, how would you make the feeding work??


He should wear a full body bib. Buy a bunch and throw them in the hamper after meals.

Spray the try with soap and water in a spray bottle and wipe clean. Or use baby wipes. deep clean once in a while.

Buy a Dustbuster vacuum for the floor. As soon as he starts throwing his food mealtime is over.

For smaller meals/snacks serve non messy food like Cheerios, string cheese, sliced apples, squeeze up Greek yogurt or applesauce.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:12 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Perhaps I didn't explain well. I tried the system recommended by our pediatrician and I wasn't able to sustain it, physically or mentally. I have a physical challenge and do not have the energy to put him up there, wash the tray, clean the floor, and change his clothes (inevitably) 5 separate times a day, in addition to everything ls. I can only manage do it twice a day. The third meal I give him on my lap. He gets snacks in between.

Given this limitation, how would you make the feeding work??

1. I use a high chair/booster and put it on the floor (like this - https://www.walmart.com/ip/Fis.....57298 )

2. I have first spread out a disposable plastic tablecloth on the floor before messy activities, eating could be one of them

3. Not all foods are messy! Pretzels, chicken nuggets, chunks of boiled potato are all not terribly messy.

4. If I really can't stand cleaning up, I spoon feed (things like rice, pasta, soups, etc.)
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amother




Clover
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:18 pm
Meal times (besides for dinner if it's too late..) should be when you (and Dh) are eating, he will eat better.
Snacks should be easy finger food that don't make a mess and must stay in the kitchen. After snacks you can sweep the floor you shouldn't need more than that.
Does your son have specific health issues that are making you anxious about meal times?
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amother




Cantaloupe
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:20 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Perhaps I didn't explain well. I tried the system recommended by our pediatrician and I wasn't able to sustain it, physically or mentally. I have a physical challenge and do not have the energy to put him up there, wash the tray, clean the floor, and change his clothes (inevitably) 5 separate times a day, in addition to everything ls. I can only manage do it twice a day. The third meal I give him on my lap. He gets snacks in between.

Given this limitation, how would you make the feeding work??

Is it possible for you to get someone to help you throughout the day? I understand it's hard for you, but you need to do what’s good for your child instead of what’s easiest for you. Perhaps you can look into getting some outside help.
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#BestBubby




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:32 pm
OP, don't destroy your Sholom Bayis over this.

It is HIS baby too and DH's point of view is reasonable.

He doesn't have to do it YOUR way when he is in charge of the meal.

How would you like it if DH insisted you do it HIS way, when you are in charge of the meal???


Last edited by #BestBubby on Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:33 pm
So what should I do when, fifteen minutes after the short meal, he is already asking for more food?

Do my instincts as a mother - and - I want to be honest - my horrific experience as a malnourished child in a no-force-feeding home - play any role here?

Sorry if this is naive but I am quite serious. Thanks.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:37 pm
Can you make easy food available for him at all times? Things like applesauce pouches, thick pretzels, cheese, sippy cup? Just leave it in a place he can access it, possibly at a small table in the kitchen, and enforce a rule like "we sit when we eat." (My 15-month old is fully capable of following that type of instruction if I remind him.)

In general at times when I was lower energy, I found that encouraging more independence was a very good thing.
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BrisketBoss




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:40 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
So what should I do when, fifteen minutes after the short meal, he is already asking for more food?


Tell him to wait for the next meal or snack time. ("I hear that you're hungry. It's not time to eat now. It will be time to eat again later.") Maybe in your case, snacks that aren't too messy and that he can grab and manage by himself.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:43 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
So what should I do when, fifteen minutes after the short meal, he is already asking for more food?

Do my instincts as a mother - and - I want to be honest - my horrific experience as a malnourished child in a no-force-feeding home - play any role here?

Sorry if this is naive but I am quite serious. Thanks.

Thinking more about this. DH might respond better to you asking him to change things if you explain where it is coming from. His way is definitely not wrong, and may even be right according to many. But because of your past trauma, you feel it necessary to be very proactive about making sure your baby is fed properly and fully. He may be more willing to accommodate you if he understands that it is for your emotional health more than because it is proper childrearing.
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amother




Indigo
 

Post Tue, Oct 19 2021, 11:44 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
So what should I do when, fifteen minutes after the short meal, he is already asking for more food?

Do my instincts as a mother - and - I want to be honest - my horrific experience as a malnourished child in a no-force-feeding home - play any role here?

Sorry if this is naive but I am quite serious. Thanks.


There has to be a happy medium between what you are aiming for and between setting your child up to be malnourished. Many of us grew up in no force feeding homes and/or espouse it ourselves for our children and I don’t think we’ve been malnourished (or our children). I can only speak for myself and my children I guess but we are all far from malnourished. Something strange appears to have gone on in your no force feeding household growing up which resulted in your horrific experience being malnourished and is also probably contributing now to your anxiety over your toddlers meal times.
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