How often do you feed your kids?

@foxyfire33 (10009)
United States
July 22, 2008 12:56pm CST
I know this might seem like an odd question from me. Surely after 6 kids I should know how and when to feed them. But apparently I don't. See I always thought that their little stomachs could not hold much and that it was much healthier to feed them 5 or so smaller meals rather than 3 big meals a day. I also thought that it wasn't necessary to include all the food groups in each meal provided their daily requirements were met by the end of the day...or at least when averaged out over several days. Apparently though, I am wrong about that. My feeding schedule is what is causing my 5 year old to still poop in his pants and is also why the 3 year old is not trained yet either. If they ate 3 times a dy only they would poop regularly once a day and there would be no more accidents. Their potty issues have nothing to do with the fact that I am essentially required to put them in pull ups and that they have been disciplined by others for having accidents. It like everything else is my fault some how. So before this turns into an even bigger in-law rant...what feeding schedule do you think is healthiest for children (I'm specifically referring to children age 5 and under)?80
7 people like this
21 responses
@Humbug25 (12551)
22 Jul 08
Hi foxyfire33 It sounds like you are having a hard time and getting some grief from people, please don't blame yourself. I have 3 boys aged 3,5 and 7 and each ones bathroom habits are different. They do normally move their bowels everyday but I don't panic if they don't. My kids usually eat cereal for breakfast, followed by a fruit snack around mid morning, lunch, then a fruit snack late afternoon and later dinner. If they are still hungry after all that I allow them to have some more fruit or a yogurt if they wish. I don't think that your 5 year old pooping his pants has got anything to do with what he eats or why your 3 year old is not trained yet. I don't think you 3 year old is quite ready yet or he is being lazy. I think your 5 year old maybe just not getting to the toilet in time as he is so busy playing. I hope I have been of some help.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
Thanks and you're right, I get a lot of grief from everybody. I explained the 5 year old's issues in the above comments. The three year old is getting close but I haven't been allowed to do what I did with my first three which is why in my opinion the training is taking longer....he does try though, there just isn't a consistent incentive.
@Humbug25 (12551)
22 Jul 08
My youngest turned 3 in March but I got him out of diapers/nappies in the January. He has 2 older brothers so he knew what it was all about and had no excuses apart from being a bit lazy. I put him straight into normal underwear putting him in pull ups of a night, which he hated, then I followed him around for 3 days with a bowl of hot water and disinfectant! I would put him on the toilet and he would say nothing was coming then 5 minutes later would wet himself. Anyway, after 3 days he seemed to figure it out and just started going by himself. I even stopped the pull ups at night time making sure he had nothing to drink an hour before bed time and going to the bathroom was the last thing he did before bed, even if he had been 10 minutes prior to that. All the best
@sweetdesign (5151)
• United States
22 Jul 08
I always went with three meals a day with snacks in between with my daughter and with my daycare kids also. Pooping however is an individual thing some kids poop more than once a day others once a day and still others may only poop every other day. It has more to do with what they are eating more than when they are eating. I had one daycare kid who pooped 3-4 times a day some days and only once on other days. But the 5 year old should by now know his body cues and know when he needs to go. You might want to talk to his dr. about that. the three year old is still new to the whole potty thing.
4 people like this
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
Suposedly the 5 year old's poop is too soft for him to feel it coming out...this from the MIL who has not changed him in months at least, trust me softness is not the issue. His doctor says his only problem is being prone to constipation...which starts a vicious cyclen -it hurts to go, he holds it, it explodes out, he gets in trouble, he holds it more, he gets constipated, it hurts to go, and on and on.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jul 08
Knew there had to be a reason for the five year old to still be having accidents. It is a vicious cycle. Your MIL needs to mind her own business and let you raise your kids. My daughter had constipation problems till she was potty trained then it got better but she still had very large very firm movements. Just keep encouraging him to go. You might want to add more fruit to his diet, more juices, and if he likes them prunes gradually though so you don't get the opposite problem. My daughter loved prunes so i had to watch he and make sure she didn't eat too many of them.
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21018)
22 Jul 08
Hi Foxyfire, My son is four and I like to make sure he has breakfast lunch and dinner but some days all he'll want to eat is fruit and drinks plenty, other days he will non stop eating from the moment he gets up til when he goes to bed. For example today he didn't want breakfast and had a drink instead then about 10 he asked if he could have a ham sandwich, he had an apple and half a banana before going to school at twelve, a fruit snack and glass of milk at school and then when he came home meatballs, potatoes and green beans which he munched his way through but yesterday other than a few mouthfuls of cereal and a sandwich and fruit at lunch he just picked at his evening meal. Kids will eat when they are hungry especially at that age. My son does go once a day though and we have no accidents. I think if the in laws stepped back and let you get on with being a mum they would be fine and completely accident free by now. I used to let mine run around without anything on when I was training and left potties in different rooms until he got used to knowing when he needed to go and now he just runs upstairs to the toilet. Good luck with this one. We all parent different, whatever works do it. Ellie :D
4 people like this
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
I definitely prefer to let them run around bare bottomed...it worked with the others and they were all trained by this age. It's like MIL doesn't believe I feed them right or that I just let them snack all day...she's said as much. The thing is she's not home all day except on weekends...and then she takes over the whole house which throws off whatever schedule I have established.
1 person likes this
@freedomg (1684)
• United States
22 Jul 08
O.k. sweety first don't blame your self. You are doing what every pediatrician has told me to do over the past 16 years of raising kids. Also Every kid will potty train at their own pace no matter how hard you push if they aren't ready they aren't going to do it. I'm not saying don't try just don't freak when they do it their way. I have a 4 year old that pooped her pants when she slept until 4 months ago. She said it hurt when she went so she wouldn't go. The problem was that she got constipated after a bout with the flu once and it hurt so she got scared, this lead to her holding it then things got too big and would hurt reinforcing her fears. So her body would relax when she slept and she would go then. Pooping is usually the hardest part of potty training, and getting mixed signals from multiple grown ups will make it even harder. Try to talk to the in laws and get them to let you raise your own kid. If that doesn't work do what I did... I stopped talking to everyone for 6 months while I got things on a working track. This not only let my little ones get focused on what I was telling them with out the confusion of everyone else it sent a message to the grandparents saying "I'm the mother back off or I'll take you out of their lives". I know that I will have upset a few people with that comment but I believe in putting my kids first and will do what ever I have to to be sure they are raised the way I feel is best for them. Anyone or anything that is a danger to this or directly to my kids is dealt with quickly and very rarely with any second thoughts. I've lost a lot of friends for this but my kids are healthy,happy,polite, and well educated and that is all that matters to me. Things will work out for you and the kids in time just have faith in your skills as a mother and stand your ground. Best wishes
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
If I wasn't stuck living here I would absolutely follow your example! I have told s/o many times that his parents will be lucky to ever see the kids if we get out of here. They have no faith in me what so ever despite the fact that I did just fine with the older kids.
2 people like this
@freedomg (1684)
• United States
24 Jul 08
I am so sorry sweety. I didn't know you were living with them. That is something that you guys will need to try and change (I say this knowing you probably already doing all you can to fix it). What state do you live in? I ask because here in Florida there are programs designed to help people get out on their own. Try calling 211 and tell them the whole story you would be amazed at the help is out there. The sort of stress that comes from living the way you are is not going to be healthy for any of you guys. I'll keep you in my prayers and if you ever need to blow up send me a pm. I've lived with my in law before so I feel what you are going through. You'll be o.k. though.
@freedomg (1684)
• United States
24 Jul 08
MSV1313, Thanks for the comment it was very sweet of you . I don't know if I'm a great mom but I try my best and i guess that's all we can do. As for the friends I lost, most of them weren't really anything to cry over but there are a few I miss. Not enough though to let the things they would do or say slide. Oh well that's life.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
22 Jul 08
In-laws! The always know everything better, don't they. First off, feeding schedules have nothing to do with wetting or pooping in your pants. Nor does proper nutrition. Who came up with that garbage? Although, it's easier for them to poop if they get enough fiber, lol, and certain foods will make it more liquidy and harder for kids to judge whether they just let off gas or something else is coming out. Some kids do have issues with potty-training, and it does take longer. Growth spurts can throw you back to accidents, too. Sometimes there may even be a medical condition. And yes, sometimes it's the way one potty-trains. How are they disciplined for accidents, etc.? Or better rewarded for no-accident days? Who does the disciplining? Why do you feel forced to have the five year old in pull-ups? How can the kid feel uncomfortable that way wanting to bring things away before an accident happens? And who is watching for signs of a need to go potty? I have a seven year old who rather plays until the very last second than go to the potty. She thinks she'll miss something if she doesn't go. We see the signs and send her no matter how much protest we get. And we have always been right, out comes the waterfall or the mountain of poop. Anyhow, many nutritionists recommend five smaller meals throughout the day, even for adults. However, the average kids usually gets breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and two small snacks, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. They have faster metabolisms and work off more energy than the average adult anyway, especially at such a young age, when the stomach indeed doesn't hold large amounts of food. But really, this is the first time I hear somebody relating a kid's potty training accidents with the frequency of meals, lol.
3 people like this
@Hatley (164266)
• Garden Grove, California
22 Jul 08
foxyfire33 hi when my son was little I fed him three times a day and snacks in between and it seemed to work just fine.How come your little ones are being disciplined by others fo having accidents. thosethings are unavoidable and no child should be disciplined for that.And everything is not your fault. IN-laws should stick their noses out of what is really your own business at leastthats my take on it.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
That is just their stupid method of potty training. When SIL was babysitting the 5 year old was 2 1/2 to 3 1/2. She would tell him if he messed his pants he'd get a spanking. That scared him and caused him to hold it until he couldn't. Now we're left with that whole cycle and it's been hard to break...especially with MIL looking over my shoulder and reinforcing the aunt's methods.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (112459)
• United States
22 Jul 08
No, they poop when they poop, regardless of when you feed them, and I figure that a wide variety of foods offered in small portions, several times a day is just fine. Go ahead and feed them "Breakfast, lunch and dinner" Call the other two meals snacks. Tell the inlaws to butt out. If the poop theory held true, then I would only poop once a day, at the same time every day. You need your own place, my dear.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
Your last line really sums it all up! Thanks for the support!
2 people like this
@cjgrooms (4456)
• United States
22 Jul 08
Most children don't eat BIG meals. Mine always ate supper with us (still didn't eat a lot at one time) but the rest of the day they had small amounts of healthy foods, they also had a snack before bed. You might want to talk the five year olds problem over with his Dr. My oldest son couldn't drink fruit juice because it always made him have a accident, he is thirteen now and still can't tolerate fruit juice although he doesn't have a problem with the actual fruit, so the problem might just be a certain type of food he is eating.
2 people like this
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
We've gone through the fruit juice thing before too. We (well MIL) cut him off and he got so constipated he wound up in the ER. So he's supposed to drink apple juice daily to help with that...now its more of the fear and stubbornesswe have to get him past!
• United States
22 Jul 08
I try to feed my son at least three times a day. I say try because he is a very picky eater and will only eats when he wants to. Some days he gets three meals in and other days I am luck if I get him to eat one meal.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
And see there's a totally different struggle I have within this one. The 5 year old is satisfied with 2 pieces of toast. He might get that for a meal and a bowl of noodles for another, apple slices for a "snack", cheese cubes, chopped hot dogs, a dish of green beans...there's a whole list of small meals he prefers. Each on it's own doesn't add up to much but he eats every couple hours and it balances out in the end. MIL thinks that's horrible that he doesn't eat a complete meal all at once...I have tried and he won't, he likes one, maybe two items at a time and no more.
• United States
23 Jul 08
I know what you mean about MIL. Mine is the same way....Just remember that you are doing the besy for your child. If he will only eat two items at a time that is fine. It is actually better to eat many smaller meals throughout the day than three large ones anyway.
@boerema (60)
23 Jul 08
I would stick with a 3 a meal day schedule. 5 small meals is more designed for older people who have a much slower metabolism. When you eat 5 small meals your metabolism is constantly up which is a good thing for an older person. When you are 5 years old your metabolism is already fast and your are going to have to use the restroom quite frequently if you are on a diet that is supposed to increase your metabolism.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Jul 08
5 small meals is a better way to eat for any age, it does keep the metabolism efficient and keeps blood sugars leveled out. Its not just a good thing for older people but all ages can benefit. 5 smaller meals compared to 3 is not saying to add extra calories, but to spread the calories out better across your day, or the day of your children. Having Bowel movements is individual to each person and child, really it has nothing to do with how many meals you have, or the rate of metabolism. Every person and child is different.
@reckon21 (3485)
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
[i]I don't have kids yet but I know many parents feeds their kids 3 times a day. Kids are too hyper and cant stay in one place that's why they will be hungry anytime.[/i]
1 person likes this
@Aali311 (6126)
• United States
23 Jul 08
I have a son who just turned three, not even wanting to potty train at all, even though he knows when he has to go. I am leaving it up to him, when he is ready there will be less accidents. I feed my kids three meals a day and a couple of snacks, I have a four year old who's been potty trained since he turned two, he poops once a day everyday, my three year old goes sometimes three times a day or sometime none a day, it's all depending on the individual child, I am pretty sure your meal patterns are fine. Don't worry about what others have to say about your children, you are raising them not others, remember that and don't let anyone make you feel bad. Things will get better in time for both children.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16233)
• United States
22 Jul 08
My son usually has 3 meals a day with snacks in between. Some days he doesn't eat much and other days he eats a lot. I make sure he has breakfast every day and if he snacks a lot then usually he isn't too hungry for lunch and then we eat dinner early afternoon. He was potty trained by 3 1/2 years of age too. I think I only tried those pull ups at night for a few days then just persisted with the potty training and eventually he got it. I never disciplined him when he accidently pee'd on the floor or pooped in his underwear. I just kept encouraging him to use the toilet and eventually he did. It must be really difficult living in the environment you are now with your inlaws and I feel for you on this one. How is the hunt going for your own home?
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
I find every excuse I can to not be around...and with one vehicle and gas prices where they are that means I spend a lot of time outside or with the 4 of us stuffed into my teeny tiny bedroom (seriously small, I'd guess it's 8x10 at the absolute most and that's including the whole closet are that is still storing some of their stuff.) We actually had a place to go on June 1st...but the owners had a nasty fight and split up the week before so the hubby ended up moving into the place we were going to move into.
@maddysmommy (16233)
• United States
23 Jul 08
Wow that is a small space for you and your kids to be in together. I hope another opportunity comes up soon in terms of housing. Life would be so much happier with just you, your hubby and children.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
24 Jul 08
The two boys have their own bedroom next to mine which is roughly the same size so at least we aren't all trying to sleep in that space, we just all hole up in there when FIL is home...and judging by his mood tonight, we'll probably be back in there soon.
@elemental69 (1562)
• Ireland
22 Jul 08
I only have four kids, but I wouldnt call myself an expert lol... But I feed my kids three meals a day. And if they get hungry between meals then they would get a snack. Whether its kids or adults their toilet habits will vary. Bowela are not on a timer.... As long as they are pooping at least once a day then thats healthy. You are their mother and with them 24/7. You know whats best for them... You carry on with what you are doing. It would be different if you didnt feed them at all!!! :-)
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
22 Jul 08
Sometimes I think that's what she implies. It's like if she doesn't see it herself it doesn't really happen. I started taking clean dishes from the cabinet and putting them in the dishwasher before she gets home just to make it look even more obvious that we ate a lot while she was at work...how pathetic it that!
@SViswan (12071)
• India
26 Jul 08
lol..I was just about to start a similar discussion....but now I don't have to. I'm not about which is the healthiest or the right way. I'm a mother who lets the child fix their routine (within reason, of course). When my now almost 8 year old was younger, he used to have only 3 meals a day. He was never hungry otherwise and the 3 meals were proper, full meals like adults. So, I wasn't really concerned. He would poop once a day and was totally potty trained by the age of 1.5 (though at that point he was not on a 3 meals a day schedule). Son no.2 is now 20 months old....and he needs to be fed every 2 hours. Now that he is in a toddler group and I've started work we are still trying to find the right routine for us. But he is just starting to give signals. He does poop in his pants. Personally, I feel that whatever routine you follow, with very young children one has to be consistent. You can't have different people disciplining in different times....it is confusing to the child. Maybe you need to be setting the ground rules for everyone else to follow(I know it might not be possible in your case....but just a suggestion)
@guss2000 (2233)
• United States
23 Jul 08
My son is a little different then most kids (preemie, trached with a g-tube) but meal wise, I think he is pretty similiar to other toddlers. He eats 3 meals a day, with 1 or 2 snacks in between. At night, he is pumped (with pediasure). Anyway, with all that, he still only poops once a day, and pees about 3-4. His biggest diaper is the morning one from being pumped with the fluid all night long though. I think that 3 meals a day, and 2 snacks is okay and works for us. He doesn't each too much at his 3 meals though-- so that is why I often supplement with some type of snack.
@bieke81 (1067)
• Belgium
23 Jul 08
Here we have five mealtimes during the day (my sons are three and two years old). They eat their breakfast around 8 o'clock (when the oldest is going to kindergarten, it's half an hour earlier). Around 10 they get a healthy snack (fruit or yoghurt) and in a rare occasion some kind of cookie. At 12 they have lunch (sandwiches with something they choose). At 4 in the afternoon fruit again and around 6 it's dinnertime. I don't think three meals is enough for little kids. Have a nice day
@heart4u (409)
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
anytime they want and hungry
• United States
23 Jul 08
I don't think there is any one right feeding schedule to children on. Just like adults, they are people too and they are all different. What works for or is right for one, might not be right or work for another in that issue. I have two children, one of them eats meals regularly, usually at least 3 a day, and a few snacks here and there throughout the day. The other is extremely fussy, rarely eats meals when they are served and as a results, ends up eating usually one meal a day, (dinner because by that time he is more hungry for a real meal and less fussy about what he eats) and several healthy snacks throughout the day. Maybe it sounds weird that I do things that way, but the thing is, with the fussy child it's really hard to get him to eat a lot of things if and I was getting tired of fighting with him over it. I asked advice from the pediatrician and he told me that as long as the child is gaining weight the way they should and is healthy,which both my children are, it didn't really matter when or how often he ate or not throughout the day. So when he's picky and doesn't want his breakfast or lunch or whatever, I choose not the fight with him about it, I know he'll eat when he's hungry and if that turns out to be to late for breakfast, lunch or both and he ends up just eating healthy snacks and then dinner, so be it. Anyways, neither of my childrens' eating habits had anything to do with how long it took them to become potty trained or how many accidents they had in the process. I'm sure it's nothing that you are doing that is causing these problems. They are your kids and I'm willing to bet that no one knows them better then you or how to care for them better then you. Tell your in-laws to mind their own bees wax and do what you think is best!
@Sillychick (3279)
• United States
23 Jul 08
Kids under 5 can be pretty unpredictable with their appetites. My son, who is 22 months old, eats 3 squares and a few snacks some days, other days he just nibbles a little here and there. All children, like adults, are different and have different preferences and appetites. Their preferences and appetites will also change from day to day, week to week. They are old enough to tell you when they are hungry, when they have had enough, and when they could use an extra snack. Listen to them (within reason) and what they want. Generally speaking, 3 reasonable meals with snacks in between is good. But as I said, follow their lead, because children often stray from schedules- as I'm sure you know. Also, you are right, it is not essential to get every nutrient at every meal, as long as it all balances out in the end. In fact, my son's pediatrician said it doesn't have to even be every day, but average out over the course of several days whether they are getting all of the nutrients they need.