Chewed Off!

Hi I'm hoping someone else has successfully dealt with this problem before. Those of you who follow my blogs/discussions will know that my 2 year old is an incredibly fussy eater. Well now we have a new delightful problem to deal with. She eats what she wants from her meal then keeps the last mouthful in her mouth for about 20 minutes until we get so fed up of her not chewing or swallowing it that we end up removing it from her mouth.

At this point my hubby is totally fed up, he's coaxed her gently into swallowing it for a good 10 minutes but she just sits there with a mouth full of mashed up food which probably now tastes disgusting having no flavour or moisture left in it.

We've tried saying it's naughty to do this, it's disgusting in fact but she just does it again and again even when she's enjoyed her meal.

Anyone got any clues why she is doing this or how to deal with it? My hubby lost it last night and had a bit of a strop at her which had no effect whatsoever of course and he realised this afterwards but he said it just wound him up so much.

It's a shame because when she's eaten ok we then let her have fruit then a dessert but she's missing out now as we won't let her have 'treats' when she does this. Is this the right approach?

We've only just started to deal better with her fussiness by mostly ignoring it and now this comes along...

It might not be attention seeking - only you will really know best but Daisy did this till she was about three.

In the end I more or less gave up on solid food and went back to milk and mush. She was a huge child -98th centile - and very healthy so I never worried but she really could not chew. She would start off ok and then get slower and slower.

She suffered really badly when teething so I always wondered if there was some lingering pain association with chewing?

I got so wound up it was going to become an issue so in the end it was easiest to just back off. On the upside by the age of 5 she ate everything so they all get there in the end. Very frustrating though!

We had it, its a form of attention seeking. We used the ignore it with a little plate of fav pudding for afters. No conversation about food in mouth except once you swallow that you can have...... Make sure you make the statement as soon as it starts so the food in mouth is still warm and pleasent to eat. Took two weeks.

Thanks Yvette, I'd like to still give her the fruit as she has such a small appetite but she isn't starving at all, she's the picture of good health - shiny hair & eyes etc. I think you're right that Daddy should give Izzy more attention then Jasmine will realise it's silly to be sat at the table when everyone else has finished. She knows she can't get down until we say she is allowed to leave the table so I can imagine her sitting there till midnight. Will try it in half an hour & see!

Hi Suzanne

I would also do my best to ignore her competely. We always let our girls have the fruit but not the pudding even if they don't finish /behave and I get up and clear the table around them without letting them leave the table. My 2 year old has a nasty habit of spitting her food into her drink to get attention if she's worried she's being too well behaved so I just clear the drink away and say nothing. If she really winds me up I take away something she really likes which is totally unrelated to food and I always try to remember to congratulate her with something she really likes if she does well. Like Wendy said she's not going to starve. Maybe if Daddy took Izzy somewhere Jasmine could see them and read her a story or something but you don't let Jasmine join them till she has spat or swallowed that would convince her there was better fun to be had elsewhere than being a table diva.... lovely names by the way :) Hope you stay sane!

Thanks Wendy - will try that. We already cut out nibbles completely as anything no matter how small between meals would stop her eating completely. I think you're right about the control thing.

I would suggest take the attention away completely.... ignore it... she won't die of hunger, but make sure she doesn't get lots of nibbles at other times. Sounds like she's found something she can 'control'.

This is interesting:

Good luck!

Hi Wendy - she gets lots of attention from Daddy, I try to ignore it but he gets wound up. He starts off really calm, asking her gently to chew & swallow but eventually he ends up getting cross, takes her plate away & either makes her spit it out or he takes it out of her mouth.

It started before Maisy came along so I don't think it's the new baby causing it as she still gets the same attention from Darren as before...actually it's Izzy who is missing out on Daddy time because Jasmine messes about so long at the dinner table then it's bath & bedtime in a rush.

The other thing I thought of doing was feeding them earlier before he comes home so that she can't wind him up and that way he stays calm when he comes in from work & maybe she'll stop doing it.

I'd be inclined, to either ignore her and if she just doesn't finish don't even mention pud. Or take the situation away from food completely... and promise one on one play time with new / favourite toy as soon as she's finished. Dangle toy at other end of the table as an incentive.

Is she getting a lot of attention from you for this trick do you think?