Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – Other

I am finding it hard to get my son to eat and drink at the routine times

My son of 10-months-old wakes up at night 3 to 4 times, and cries for his dummy, as he is unable to sleep without it. I can’t seem to wean him off it. His sleeping pattern is from 9 till 9, but he is always up a few times at night then every morning at 8. He has breakfast at that time, as he is hungry, but he doesn’t want to sleep after that. Then he wants to go to sleep at 11, as he cries and cries all morning. He sleeps for two hours, wakes up, plays till 4 and then has another nap for 1 hour, as he can’t manage without one.
Then he plays, eats etc, and starts getting tired around 8.30pm and I put him to bed at 9.
He is also refusing milk feeds and solids and I often have to force him to eat.
At 8am he has 3ozs of milk, followed with a weetabix mixed with the left over milk and 3 ozs of water at 9am. At 11am I give him a tin of fruit which he does not really want and after his two hour sleep he has bread, vegetables and 2ozs of milk. At 3pm he has a yoghurt and tea is given at 5.30pm which is usually pizza and chips or pasta with juice. At 7pm he has another fruit tin and then takes 5ozs of milk at 8.30pm before settling to sleep. He weighs 25lbs.

Getting your son into a better routine of day- and night time sleeps and eating should help many of the problems you are encountering. In order to do this, you will need to move things slowly and change one thing at a time.

To get your son to sleep without a dummy will mean he will need to learn how to settle himself back to sleep when he comes into a light sleep. At 10 months he now associates falling asleep with sucking on his dummy. In order to break this habit, and so help him to sleep better, you will have to remove his dummy completely from all naps and sleeps and settle him back to sleep with controlled crying. Once you know he is able to do this you will probably find that his sleeping is much better by night so he will begin to not need a late afternoon nap. At first, whilst he gets used to these changes, he may need a 15-20 min cat nap in the afternoon to get him to his bedtime but keep cutting this back once he begins to wake nearer to 7am rather than 8am. Begin to very gradually push his whole day back so you are beginning nearer to 7am and putting him down nearer to 7pm. Move things by 15-20 minutes every few days so he does not become too distressed by the changes being made.

Take a look at a copy of The Complete Weaning Guide for some guidelines as to how to balance his meals through the day. If you wish to follow a vegetarian diet then seek advice from a dietician as to how this should be done. He needs to have three proper meals a day with perhaps two small, healthy snacks at mid- morning and mid afternoon. At present he is having a late breakfast, followed two hours later by fruit and then his lunch. He will refuse to eat these meals as he is not really hungry for them. At his age he needs to be receiving about 2oz animal protein or two servings of vegetable protein a day, as well as three to four servings of carbohydrates, which can include: cereals, wholemeal bread, pasta or potatoes. He also needs to have three to four portions of vegetables and fruits daily, preferably taking more vegetables than fruit. Getting his nutritional needs balanced is very important. Seek advice from your health visitor or doctor if you are concerned about his diet and how to introduce protein. He still needs to be having at least 12ozs of milk a day, inclusive of that used in cooking and to mix cereals.

It may take a while to get your son into a more regular routine suitable for his age. Putting his meals into place as his sleep in the night becomes better, will help as he will be being fed a regular spaced intervals through the day so is much more likely to eat better. Begin to encourage him to feed himself with finger food. Use a selection of lightly steamed vegetables such as carrot batons, peas and broccoli florets to tempt him. Also offer him small pieces of fruit and cheese along with mini sandwiches and rice cakes. Making meal times a happy and social occasion is important at this age.