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Picky eater or something more?

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#1 hatshepsut123

Posted 09 February 2019 - 10:31 PM

My almost two year old boy has always had issues with textures in his food. I've become pretty good at knowing what he will or won't touch and generally try to make his food for him and my family will say he has an amazing appetite. But the truth is that outside of maybe 3 or 4 recipes, he won't touch anything else. This makes going out quite difficult as he won't eat most things outside of what we make. It also means when he's sick of eating one meal, I only have a very limited repertoire to choose from.

Primarily, he has real issues with anything that is mushy or looks wet (usually when covered in sauces). He won't even touch these things no matter how we try. This includes things that I thought kids would like, such as pizza, pasta (if there is sauce present), mashed potato, nachos, sandwiches etc. He likes carbs, but only if they are dry or served with no sauce. The only exception is rice, which he's usually fine to eat with a little sauce mixed in, and soft cheeses. So the only places we go where there is a good chance he will eat as well are Asian restaurants. Cafes are almost impossible.

He's been like this since a baby - he refused purees or being fed by spoon when he started solids, so we had to do baby led weaning with finger foods from the get go.

Is this normal or might he have sensory issues? Is there a specialist we can see for that? Or should we just wait it out? I'm concerned he isn't getting enough variety in his diet. My husband thinks he'll grow out of it, but I also worry that if he doesn't eat much in a meal, it's not because he's not hungry (because he eats a LOT when it's something he likes), but because I haven't provided something he can eat. It stresses me out!

Edited by hatshepsut123, 09 February 2019 - 10:33 PM.

#2 Lou-bags

Posted 09 February 2019 - 10:44 PM

Sounds a lot like my DS1. He pretty much never ate purées (very occasionally ate the sweet ones, never the ‘meal’ ones).

He’s still quite fussy now at 5. He generally doesn’t like mixed foods- he’ll eat pasta, and he’ll eat meatballs but he will not eat pasta and meatballs mixed together. Or he’ll eat berries, or yoghurt- but not berries IN yoghurt. I tend to serve him ‘deconstructed’ versions of those kinds of meals if we’re having them, but also offer the ‘mixed’ version and over time he has started trying some (like OMG he eats bolognaise wtf? Haha). I’ve always suspected he has some sensory issues with food and that this is where the fussiness comes from (as he’ll refuse even treat food like cakes and puddings etc if they don’t meet his ‘edibility criteria’.

I’ve never bothered to follow it up because he eats *just* broadly enough that I think his diet has sufficient variety. It’s a looooong process to introduce new foods but pays off in the end a lot of the time.

But.., DS1 has always been really huge for his age (above the 97th centile in height and weight until 2, tracking in the high 90s now at 5) and breastfed until past 2 so I never had to worry about him getting sufficient nutrition. I think if I had reason to believe he wasn’t eating enough (beyond the normal fluctuations of a typical child’s appetite) I might have chased it up. My CHN and GP were both unconcerned.

Have you asked a CHN or GP about if?

Edited by Lou-bags, 09 February 2019 - 10:45 PM.

#3 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 09 February 2019 - 11:28 PM

My 4yo is similar to Lou-bags’ - she won’t eat mixed stuff, but she actually eats well from all food groups, just in a restricted manner. So tonight she ate steak (plain), with cucumber, capsicum and carrot, and ate some yoghurt after. She doesn’t like pasta or potato (weird kid).

When we eat out I take food for her, unless we are going for Japanese as she will eat tempura fish, rice, and edamame. She is becoming more and more willing to try new things, and is ok with trying something and not liking it. I’ve focused on the aspect of trying new things - so that might be trying a different ice cream flavour or type of chocolate, not just a new vegetable.

So, is he eating from all the food groups? Does he get distressed by foods he doesn’t like? Keep offering a range of foods. We saw a paediatric dietician when DD was 1yo as she had allergies and intolerances, and I was worried about her range of foods. The dietician was very reassuring, she said it was my job to provide a range of healthy foods, and it was DD’s job to eat what she wanted to eat. So if you’ve got access to one, and the money to pay for an appointment, it might be helpful to see one.

#4 Wonderstruck

Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:55 AM

We have texture issues that arose from allergies and reflux. Lily who is 2 struggles with mixed textures or mashed food so nothing with sauce etc.

We see a feeding speechie and dietician and both are helpful. We are slowly making progress through techniques they have taught us and wanting to try new foods at day care.

I can recommend names if you're in Sydney

#5 hatshepsut123

Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:02 PM

Sorry for the late reply, we're still unpacking from an interstate move and I don't get to sit down much!

He does eat maybe one or two things from each food group... Like for vegetables, he loves corn and will tolerate eating broccoli if we distract him with tv or if he's very hungry. But we have to feed these items first before we show anything else, otherwise he won't have it. I just plain boil them. He'll eat most carbs in dry form if there is no sauce and he eats fish and meat if prepared right, also with no sauce. So his diet is basically broccoli or corn, rice with bolognese, grilled fish or grilled chicken and sometimes dumplings (on their own, no sauce or soup). Snacks are cheese, nuts, dried fruit, crackers. That's about it.

I should take him to a gp, he's a bit of a skinny Minnie and last I saw he was trending on the 15th percentile (but the gp and nurse were not worried then). He's very active and talkative though.

Tonight I made a very mild Japanese curry with beef and veg and rice, I did have a bad feeling about it as it isn't something we've given to him often, but my DH was getting impatient and said if he won't eat it, he can go to bed hungry and then he'll eat. But DS doesn't work that way - if he doesn't want it, he doesn't want it. It's like he's not even hungry even though he should be. Threats or deals make no difference. Anyway, he refused to touch the food and went off to play dating he was finished... Do I hold out or offer him something else, I just don't know. I don't want him to grow up a picky eater!

#6 Lou-bags

Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:07 PM

I’m fairly certain the evidence doesn’t support an all or nothing approach like your DH is wanting to do. I think the advice is to offer something you know they’ll eat alongside some new foods they can try.

Do NOT make food a battle ground, that way be dragons...

PPs who have had professional advice might be able to offer more advice on this. But if you’re at the point where your DH is considering sending a child to bed without food because the child won’t eat what you want him to- I’d be considering seeing a dietician.

#7 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:33 PM

Yep, offer some foods you know he will eat, and some you want him to eat. Don’t make a big deal out of any food, like try to convince them to have a taste. And just keep serving it, and let the child choose when to eat it, and how much to eat.

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