At My Wits End - Las Vegas,NV

Updated on March 23, 2010
A.B. asks from Las Vegas, NV
14 answers

Feeding my 15 month old is becoming quite a chore. He is very picky and has definantly hit a stage where he has to do it himself, we are working on taking small bites, but generally he shoves the whole thing in his mouth. If I cut anything up in small bites for him he just tosses it up in the air or throws it accross the room... has anyone else experienced their child throwing there food. How do you get them to stop? We have tried time outs, slapping his hands and telling him no, getting him down and telling him he's done when he starts throwing stuff, but he is little and needs to eat, so I don't feel like its okay to get him down tell him he's done and then give him nothing else until snack time or his next meal. He is still drinking formula three times a day, having a hard time getting him to drink milk. Do I stop giving him the bottles and just offer milk with his meals and throughout the day????? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! Also Any advice on healthy finger foods that he can do himself. He hates sitting in his high chair and eats so much better walking around and being able to graze. I have tried putting him up to the table like a big boy and he doesn't eat any better that way either. I am a very patient person, but its wearing thin!!! HELP!!!!

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answers from Chicago on

Shane was absolutely on track with her thoughts. I just want to add that yes it is time to get him off of formula. offer a sippy cup with milk or juice and water. he is old enough. most babies go off formula at or before 1 year old. and enforce the "we eat at the table" rule. if he doesn't eat put him down and no snacks till next meal. kids won't eat because they know they can scream and cry for a snack and a tired weary parent will give in. this gives the kid the idea they are the boss lol. nip it in the bud.

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answers from Honolulu on

What I would do is, not turn eating into a battle. It will make meal time something to not look forward to.

Its fine to give him Formula/Toddler formula still. My Pediatrician recommended that for my picky son. Although he did drink milk.
What I also did is: on a tray, I put finger foods cut up into proper sizes (to prevent choking) and I'd leave it on our coffee table... so that my son could "graze" and self-feed.. .and when he was hungry. I also put out a sippy cup or straw cup of milk... or water. I do NOT give juice until after 2 years old if anything. Too much sugar.

You don't have to stop bottles... because if he will NOT drink anything unless from a bottle, then you need to offer him Formula/milk in a bottle so that he will drink and get in his nutrition. Stopping bottles can occur later... once he does get the hang of sippy cups/straw cups.
But put them out and make it available anyway. Just to expose him to it.

My kids, HATE high-chairs. You do NOT have to only feed a child in a high chair. Make eating in a way that is applicable to them.
My kids, by my leaving out a tray for them on the coffee table... was more prone to eating this way... because it was not forced... and they went by their cues for hunger.

Eating, is not a rigid thing. Being rigid about it will only make the kid HATE mealtime. Do what works.... he is only 15 months old. Don't worry about it.... there is lots of time for them to mature and learn manners and routines about eating. Not at this age.
And yes, at this age, they throw food. But when he does... take him down, stop feeding. No need to make it a battle. Or it will become a routine for him.... you don't want him to learn that about eating.

Just cut up in small pieces things he does eat. Put it in little bowls on a tray... along with the sippy cup or straw cup of water or milk. Its more friendly that way.

And yes, kids this age DO tend to over-stuff their mouths... thus, you need to supervise their eating so they don't choke. Don't expect him, at this young age, to know about portioning in their mouth. My son is 3.5, and he still over-stuffs his mouth sometimes. So you need to supervise.

Babies this age, do NOT have impulse control... and full impulse control is not even mastered in a 3 year old. So, keep expectations age-appropriate. Otherwise it will be frustrating.

All the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Let me say that my children were eating by themselves by 15 months and your post brought to mind a situation in which a friend invited my son and I to go to Burger King with her little one. We never ate fast food so it was a real treat for my son. We ordered chicken nuggets and fries for the kids.
The other mom proceeded to break up every chicken nugget and fry into tiny, miniscule pieces and her kid FREAKED! I have never seen a kid throw a fit like that in a restaurant in my entire life. He was hurling pieces of food like bombs and screaming his head off. Then he got a hold of his mother's hair and ripped a handfull out. She was so embarrassed, she excused herself to go to the bathroom and left me and my son there with her kid. My son had never seen a child act like that and I guess not knowing what else to do, he slid his chicken nuggets and fries over to give to the little boy who had not one speck of food left.
That kid picked up a fry in one hand and a nugget in the other and took little bites of each like an experienced veteran. He was pissed that his mother broke everything up and I can tell you, she never did that again.
It's okay to let them have something they can hold onto and take a bite of. My kids loved raw string beans and cucumber slices.
Throwing food is not cool.
Put him in his high chair and let him feed himself. Get him a baby spoon for mashed potatoes and things like that, but let him figure out how to take bites.
In my opinion, allowing him to "graze" because he seems happier and you're worried he won't eat otherwise is not an option.
Mealtimes are mealtimes where we sit down and we eat. We don't throw our food.
If you ever hope for him to behave in a restaurant of any kind, you have to teach him manners at home first. Don't be afraid to let him learn to navigate what taking bites means.
Throwing....absolutely no.
Accidental spills are another thing.
Throwing food needs to stop. If he does it, he goes to bed and if he screams, let him. It will take a few days of trying or him realizing that if he throws his food, he gets none. He will not starve in that amount of time.
I have friends whose teenagers hold them hostage over food and you do NOT want to go there.

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answers from Honolulu on

feeding your child is such an emotional thing, because if you don't get him to eat, you must be a bad mom, right? Just relax a little. For the record, the next 6 months or so are the pickiest times in a toddler's life. All I can say is, Once you decide on a policy, stick with it. Is grazing OK? for me, that would be not OK, because I could not stand the mess that my house would become. But for my sister, her kids do it all the time, and the dog cleans up after them! All kids prefer to graze, but I put the kabash on that in my house. We eat at the table or the breakfast bar or outside.

For us, once the food was thrown, that was the end of the meal. Is your son hungry when he sits down to eat? Start his meal with something familiar and add in new things. You maybe can even eat some to show him how yummy it is!! I taught my kids sign language for "ALL DONE" which was to put their hands in the air while saying "ALL DONE" and then immediately releasing them from the chair. Once you do that a hundred times, he will start doing it himself. You might teach him other signs as well, to help him communicate with you, like when he wants a bottle and when he is hungry. I gave my kids formula after weaning them until about age 2. After that, my first daughter refused milk of any kind and still does not drink milk. #2 daughter drinks soymilk, but by the time they were done with formula, they were eating table foods exclusively.

For finger foods, just cut up whatever you eat (being careful of allergies with new foods). My kids always wanted what everyone else was eating.

Remember, decide on the eating policy and stick with it! Be strong! If you want to eat as a family, then do that. If your kid can only join you for the first 10 minutes of the meal, teach him an acceptable way to end his meal, and make sure that he understands that YOU are not going to play with him until YOU are done eating. Just separate yourself from his picky-ness and decide what you want your meals to look like with your son. Make sure that your husband is on board with the policy and start it in motion.



answers from Honolulu on

I'd agree to get him off formula. Just start mixing the milk of your choice (I used goat's milk at this age & now using almond milk) into his formula bottles. Gradually increasing the amount of milk & decreasing the formula. Just do 1 ounce at a time. My son always had to have a book/car/airplane, etc. while eating. We always had a couple of books which were designated "food books" as they were always a bit messy. My son threw stuff too & I didn't know how to get him to stop. Slapping his hand didn't really work. He's 21 mo now & doesn't usually throw too much food any more so it will go away!

I transitioned from bottles to the soft nuby sippy cups at about 17-18 months. My son still wants his milk now in these sippys & won't drink it otherwise.

Good luck!


answers from Norfolk on

I seriously thought about putting the high chair in the shower when I fed my son so the clean up would be easier! I wasn't in a hurry to get my son off formula or the bottle, and he was pretty content to let me spoon feed him when we got to solids. A few times I let him mush some mashed potatoes around but he was hungry come meal time so he was glad I helped him get the food into him as fast as I could spoon it to his mouth. He use to like to hold a French fry in each fist and nibble at them till they were gone. When he wanted to start playing around, his hunger was satisfied, and meal time was over. His stomach is only about the size of his fist. He fills up faster than you think he will. Hang in there! Before you know it he'll be a teenager and will almost inhale his food without stopping to chew!



answers from Kansas City on

Well I do agree that you have to relax a little bit or meal time will be horrible for everyone! Also, when you say you mean baby formula or toddler formula? I don't really know much about the toddler kind except that it exists, but if it's baby formula, you need to let it go, along with the bottle. If he isn't into tthe milk yet, start with getting rid of the bottles. Start putting his formula in a sippy cup. In a few days, start adding milk to the formula. I did about 75% form. 25% milk for a week, then 50/50, then 25/75 until it was all milk.

It's probably okay to let him graze out of his chair, but just be careful b/c what you let go on now will not end later without a fight, so if you do it, be prepared to do it for a few years.

Gerber makes a fabulous pasta that is very bland and very squishy and my daughter LOVED them. You can also make your own pasta and give him that with or without sauce. Any fruit or veggie cut up small is okay for him to eat. I used to buy bags of veggies (frozen or fresh), steam them and then put them into the freezer. When it's meal time, you can just thaw out a small portion (about 20-30 seconds in microwave) and cut it up for him to eat. You can tear up any kind of lunch meat for him to eat or roll it into tubes for him to hold and nibble. You can buy lunch meat without nitrates for a little healthier choice. Cheese squares or cut up string cheese is good. I also used to make oatmeal for my daughter with just a little bit of water and then I would just sort of clump it on to plates in little bites and she could eat it with her fingers...she loved that too. Bite size cereals (chex, cheerios, kix) are good along with crackers and other breads like pita, bagels, etc. I would probably only offer him milk or water at this point. You can try and introduce juice, but I would water it down. Also, if he is still getting so much formula, he may not be very hungry. Keep that in mind too, that could be filling him up during meal times and he isn't interested in food.


answers from Detroit on

you do need to take him off that formula, he's to old for it and needs the nutrition from that milk will provide. as far as the food, let him sit thre eventually will get hungry and finally figure out that that;s all he's getting. babies/toddlers are much smarter then we think! put him in that high chair and like the bumper sticker says" sit down, buckle up, shut up and ride" if you let him walk aroung your house eating you will have food and huge messes everywhere and it will hard to get him to sit down at the table as he gets older and when you try to go out and eat! are you going to let him "graze around the resturant"? just pray on the situation and it will get better he testing you, jsut make sure you pass it! lol good luck and i hope everything works out for you.



answers from Billings on

Good luck. Please don't discipline him. He's too young. Educate. Time outs and hand slapping won't work. It's difficult but be patient. Or more patient as the case may be! Read one of Ellyn Satter's books children and nutrition. Give him lots of options. Your job as a parent is to offer him acceptable food choices -- think all of the food groups; his job is to choose any of those options you've provided him. They say it takes up to 10 times before a child may choose some types of food so even if he snubs one of your choices, keep offering it to him! And don't get angry if he won't even try it. If you only give him the foods he likes or the ones you think he likes, he'll end up like many children -- eating only pizza and chicken nuggets. He should pretty much be able to eat anything at this point. Serve him the same dinner you have unless it's super spicy or rich. Chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes etc. Typical American diet works! Stay with him at the table to keep him company. Let him self feed when he can! Pastas are good (Keep a tupperware container of elbow macaroni and add a little plain macaroni to a microwaved Stauffers mac and cheese (which is simple if you're exhausted) or simply dress plain pasta with butter and cheese). Fruits also. Frozen berries, thawed or not, are always favorites! Kids will throw food and the bigger issue you make of it, the more likely they'll throw. Ignore it, if you can! Good luck. It's difficult. No one ever tells new moms that they'll be preparing 21 meals a week plus 14 additional snacks. That's a huge adjustment to having children! Just remember the food choices you give him now will be the springboard for his diet for the rest of his life. It's easier to introduce vegetables now than later! And be prepared, he'll be in and out of "picky" stages until he leaves your home but continue to offer him choices and it will work out! (Also, when he is older, as in elementary school, allow him to quietly leave the table and prepare a PBJ sandwich in lieu of the family meal if it is truly something he won't eat (think eggplant parmesan or something with unchildlike textures/flavors). But make him return to the family table for the camaraderie which meals provide.) Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Unfortuntely throwing/dropping food comes with the territory , as dos shoving their face in the bowl of spaghetti!! consistent with telling him no and he will learn and stop. I do think though that formula 3x/day is a bit much , there is no nutritonal reason for a child to have formula past 12 months so I would stop that , it is a food at the end of the day and is making him feel full so this may be why he is throwing food rather than eating it. Move him onto whole milk and he should improve , I would give him milk when he wakes and then before bed , plus milk based foods such as cheese , yogurt , milk on cereals etc , I would also not give milk an hour or less before a meal as this will make them feel full so they don't eat.



answers from Detroit on

My son who is 20 months loves Gerber Graduates lil crunches and fruit bites. They dissolve in his mouth so it doesn't matter if he shoves all of it in his mouth. There is alot of different kinds so you should be able to find something he will like.



answers from Dallas on

OMG my 11 month old baby girl does the same thing, she will put a whole cookie in her mouth and if I cut it up she just throws it on the floor LOL.
I think it's funny but I'm not sure how I'm going to feel when weeks go by and she doesn't stop!
Just to let you know you're not alone, I'm interested in seeing the answers you get so I can stop her now before it becomes a habit ;o)
have a great day!



answers from Dallas on


My son is almost 13 months old, and poor kid had to go through weaning from the breast at 12 months, weaning from the bottle at 12 months and a week, straight to a sippy cup. He did NOT like this transition at all. But I did not give in, he is just now getting used to the sippy.
As far as food, my son is the same way, he wants to do it on his own. He wants to shove as much food in his mouth, store it in his cheeks and eat lil by lil. He gets mad at me if I take it out, or give him one at at time. So i let him do it how he wants, and he has done fine. Of course I hover over him ready in case he chokes lol. He is getting better, realizing I won;t take his food away so he is eating one at a time... Everyone is different, I have asked questions and when trying them wtih my son, it didnt work., You know your son best and what he will respond to best, so maybe try giving him a sippy, even put formula in it if you want! or half and hafl! and with the food, if he throws it, too bad. See if that works! Good luck, and good for you about your patience, Im not as nice :)



answers from Pittsburgh on

Get him off the formula. He should be drinking whole milk now. And pick a day and get rid of the bottles.
He can pretty much eat what you eat, just make sure it's not a choking hazard. Put dry cereal in a bowl. Put fruit in a bowl. I'd let him walk around and eat--I remember my son doing that a lot.
Food ideas: Jelly toast, french toast strips, waffle bites, soft fruits, crackers, cheeses, yogurt, banana & peanut butter. Dipping is probably very popular at that age! Small tender pieces of meat.

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