My name is Sarah. My partner and I have just started having his 2 year old son from a previous relationship. We are having trouble getting him to eat anything other than jam sandwiches, which he calls cake. We know he likes the things we cook as his mum sends it with him or she has told us he likes them.

We have tried saying you can have pudding if you eat your dinner but it doesn't work. We have tried letting him choose but thats doesnt work. Please, can you help?

We are also concerned that he has a bottle at night. His mother told us to give it him to get him to sleep then leave him with it. We dont like the fact he is sucking on air through the night so want to get him off his bottle. Can you please advise us on the best way to do this?

Hi Sarah,

I think it’s best that all the adults talk together first and foremost. As you’re not the two-year-old’s primary caretaker, what you could do is get a list of the foods he does like from his mom, so you know. Also, there’s no harm in asking him as well.

You can start by incorporating mealtimes together when you have him. And if you offer him a choice and he doesn’t make one, then tell him you’ll choose it for him. Also, bottles at night are very common, but should be taken away after the child has drunk them. The mom obviously uses them as a pacifier, and it’s not good for him to be sucking on a bottle of air all night. I’m lead to believe that possibly this boy is being given too many bottles and not enough food. If he’s this picky at home with his food, then they’re probably substituting his food with bottles of milk.

The best way to take away the bottle would be to give it to him before he goes to bed, like when he comes out of his bath. Then take it away before he goes to bed and take him into his room and read him stories before he goes to bed. If he cries for his bottle, just put your hands up and say "Bottle all gone now. It’s finished." Realistically, if you want to take the bottle away completely, which is a good idea, you will have to talk to his mother and get her to do it as well. For his benefit, it would be nice if it were consistent in both houses taking away the bottle.

Best wishes,

Jo x

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