My baby boy is almost a year old and most of the time doesn't want to eat his food. He occasionally has a good meal but most of the time just messes around, throwing food on the floor, spitting out food after hardly even taking a bite.
I have read several of the other answers about encouraging a child to eat which mostly suggest to let the child decide for itself and it will eat if its really hungry and to offer a variety of foods, particularly giving the opportunity to feed themselves finger foods for older babies. I already do the second part and my son does enjoy feeding himself when he's interested in eating but that doesn't happen very often. Sometimes he can be tricked into eating something that he otherwise refuses but this is not how I want him to learn to eat.
I would be happy to let him decide for himself whether he's hungry and I don't want to force him to eat and give him negative feelings towards food but my problem is that I know he's not eating enough as he keeps me awake most of the night wanting to drink milk. He is breastfed. I have tried settling him other ways than feeding but if he hasn't eaten well in the day he will wake three hours after going to bed and cry inconsolably until I give him milk. Then he wakes several more times in the night.
I have tried to be patient and accept that 'food is for fun until you're 1' and all that but he'll be 1 in two weeks and I feel we should be seeing some progress with increasing his solid foods. I certainly feel he should be going longer than three hours at night without a feed at his age. He sometimes has managed 6 hours when he was much younger.
I feel stuck as I can't see a solution that fits my desired parenting style whilst maintaining my sanity, not being too upset with my son and getting enough sleep to function at work.
It seems to me I have three options, none of which I really feel happy with:
Weaning my son from breastfeeding - I don't want to do this as I feel that apart from the excessive night waking, our breastfeeding relationship is more enjoyable and we both get more out of it than we ever did when he was smaller
Deal with a lot of screaming at night
Put up with lack of sleep and get frustrated with my son
My son wakes so frequently at night that the only way I can survive is to co-sleep after the first waking. I've tried sleeping in a separate room but it doesn't help and I've tried putting him back in his cot at night but he often wakes soon after. I don't really want to co-sleep either but otherwise I'll sleep even less. I could even accept one or two night feeds for a while longer if it allows us to continue breastfeeding but I can't deal with waking every one to two hours for most of the night.
Does anyone know another way I can help him to learn to love his food?