Eating help!

Rebecca - posted on 06/11/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I have a toddler who chooses not to eat pretty much ANYTHING I make for her. She's always been a picky eater, but the doctor told us it would get better the older she got. He was wrong. She still refuses to eat most of the time and every meal is a battle.

What do I do to get her to WANT to eat and what are some meal ideas to try on a picky toddler?!

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~Jennifer - posted on 06/19/2009

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I just posted this on a different thread, so I'm going to paste the same answer here. I hope it works as well for some of you as it has for us.
=)
I've become a master at hiding good food - lol!
What I've found that works for us (my son won't eat meat or vegetables) is 'hiding' them in corn muffins. I puree chicken breast, sweet potatoes, carrots (sometimes shredded coconut for the added fat content) and mix them in regular corn muffin mix - bake as usual. When I give him his plate I put a toasted, buttered muffin on the side. He usually eats only the muffin and has no idea that there's a full meat / veggie meal neatly hidden inside it.

Kristal - posted on 06/19/2009

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O MY I can so relate to you on this, this is going to be a long reply but if I can save you half the heartbreak and frustration, and money it cost me... I would like to tell you what I learned...

They can get WORSE. My son at one point could eat a handful of goldfish a month. However he was able to drink pediasure. Thankfully, because we were getting to a point where it was begining to become recommended he attend a eating clinic, 3 hours away and for weeks at a time without us being with him. I was not gonna have that... I think I read every book on this topic, the one thing I remember reading which was so true, was that EATING: is the only thing your child can control, You can lead a horse to water but you can not make him drink.

I remember trying to literally open my sons mouth one time and put food inside.

It was horrible. I remember our OT recommended buying Morroque on CD and listening to it hours before eating ( apparently it stimulated premmies in nursuries to eat) We even tried to have him sitting proper, feeling tight in chair with feet firmly on something, if we had to put a stool under table or box etc what ever to keep his feet firmly. THESE THINGS DID NOT WORK FOR US

Then we went to a seminar od Diane Lewis's I immediately made an appointment with her ( she was $500/ 2 hours) she promised me that she would and could get him to eat.

And she was right. I took a video camera, recorded our session so I wouldnt forget anything. She gave us the basic rules and techniques to try, then we were on our own.

one thing was oral stimulation... ( make up a picture schedule marking off after each one is complete so your child will understand which is coming and which is over)

I was still using the finger stall while brushing his teeth... she told I wanted to see his tongue actually follow inside as i brushed. so in order to accomplish this... I bought flavored gloves, and 2x daily I would model tooth brushing. Also I would apply a bit of pressure from top of head while n mouth.

2 nd I bought a vibrator massager and massages his face escp. his cheeks, chin

I tried to eliminate completely a sippy cup

The eating part of this is difficult and can be frustrating but remember to Rome was not built in a day....

(We started very small because he was so severe at this point)

Take your child's fav food (snack works fine) like my son's favorite food was Goldfish crackers line up 4 goldfish crackers on table ( I showed the difference in them by having 4 gold ones then one colored one to get him to eat the colored one) line them up adding something similar to look and texture, but something your child will not eat now.

followed by another of what he/ she likes. start at beging of line, and work your way to end. Do not give in. Be happy even if it is just one bite no matter how small a bite of all.

do not make this even last long, but do several times a day. Changing up snacks if you want.

My son still has issues with certain textures, so if that is something that bothers your child, I would try to stay away from them for time being (applesauce etc..) Just work on getting a new food into their mouths but be consistant.

If your child uses pecs system... you can also make a velcro strip of a type of 2 tyoes of food one you want your child to eat, and the other the food your child wants...start with making 2 pic of foof child dislikes along with 5 child likes. have an all done basket or tray beside the strip. teach your child after they take one bite of the pictured food, it goes into all done tray, try to put the un liked food like the 3rd choice, so tha they can see what is coming next is something they do like.

If this PECS system works GRADUALLY very GRADUALLY add to the list first more bites of one non liked, to eventually adding new foods.

I would like to say, that after years of trying advise from books, music, eliminating glutton, cassien, trying anything known. THAT this saved my son. My son is now 7 years old, he started using a straw, and a fork and spoon this year. Although he still struggles with textures, and let's face it, there are foods we all jst do not like to eat, he now will eat things that will surprise me like at his special needs school at lunchtime he buys his lunch, he chooses from pictures from menu, then he understands he chose it he eats it. We have come a very long way. Unfortunatley I can not tell you it was easy. But then again, nothing worth having in life comes easy really for anyone of us :)

Good luck to you and God Bless.

Lena - posted on 06/13/2009

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Gina, I loved your idea of a New Food Friday. We're in the same boat with out 3 year old. He has a number of trusted food choices and that's about it. He won't even touch a cookie or cake if it is not the one he had before. Shocking to a regular family, right?! And you're saying your ST worked on eating challenges with him? I am going to ask our ST if she can do that! I have tried a "tiny amount, try this and then you can have "your" food" but I guess I have not been disciplined enough. Your success gives me renewed hope :O)

Gina - posted on 06/11/2009

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My son had food aversion between ages 2 and 5 and had such an extremely limited diet (11 things) I actually logged down what he would eat and spoke with a pediatric nutritionist to make sure he was getting enough balance. She helped us look at the total picture of nutrition and we backed off variety. Stress went way down. We also addressed this problem with his speech therapist who did exercises for textures in his mouth and we'd give her foods to work with him - like chicken or hamburger. Once we got through the "battles" we instituted New Food Friday. On Fridays we would put two tiny pieces of something on his plate - like two very small green beans or chicken. That's all he had to have of it - before he could get his dinner (yogurt then later pizza became the all time winner of bribery for him). Then the next Friday I gave him the two tiny green beans again. I always acted really excited about New Food Friday. The third week the green beans were a part of his Friday dinner along with something new. Then I moved those foods over to other weekdays. 2 years later - he eats the same thing we eat for all dinner meals. The foods he truly dislikes - broccoli and corn - I don't really "make" him them because he has other likes that are just as good. Fruits (except banana's) always a challenge so we got him drinking V8 Lite Fruit Fusion. There are still things he won't eat but this is really small now. Hope this helps it worked for us and he's almost 7 now - maybe this year he will actually have a piece of his own birthday cake!

Kristie - posted on 06/11/2009

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I agree with the suggestions given. My daughter is 12 and she is still very picky. Her medicine doctor said to find whatever she will eat and let her eat it. As long as it is nutritious it will be okay. She goes through phases which is hard, for I never know when she will eat something or not.

Barbara - posted on 06/11/2009

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There could be several things going on here:



A) Is it possible that this is just a control thing? She's not eating because you want her to? If so, then don't make a big deal about it. She'll eat when she's hungry.



B) Is there one particular thing she WILL eat? Some toddlers will go through a thing where all they want every day is mac-n-cheese or pb sandwich. If so, give that to her everyday, it won't last forever and she should be fine health-wise.



C) Does or will she just graze throughout the day? Maybe keep things like apple wedges or carrot sticks, maybe celery with pb around so she can just snack now & then?



You said she's a toddler so I'm guessing she's around 3 or 4? At that age they're getting into the "I want to do it MYSELF" stage plus "don't tell me what to do!" So this could be her way of asserting her independence and testing limits. Your main defence should be calm. Refuse to "fight" with her. If she doesn't want to eat, say "okay, but it will be here later if you change your mind." and don't try to force her. Find ways to make it seem like her idea. Or even don't fix her anything, just fix yourself something. When you sit down to eat, if she asks why you didn't make any for her, tell her because she won't eat so you just made food for yourself. If she wants a bite, give her a bite. If she likes it, ask her if she wants some for herself. Kids at that age need to feel like they have control in certain areas of their life...and eating is something they CAN control. Give her choices, "I'm getting ready to make lunch for us, do you want a hot dog or a sandwich?" If she feels she has a voice in things, she may not fight you as much.



Hope this helps!! Good luck & let me know!!

Dara - posted on 06/11/2009

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We are having the same problem with our son and he just turned 5. Basically, start small. Find anything with any nutritional value that she will eat. If you can find little things that are healthy than you can feed them as meals or frequent snacks. Does she drink pediasure or eat yogurt? Does she eat cheese or any fruit or veggies. My son used to love this dip and eat it with cereal. Now he loves a bowl of letuce with ranch dressing. He used to like crackers and butter, noodles with butter, rice, he loves guacamole, quiche. Sometimes it is a texture thing. Try taking her to the grocery store and picking out foods that interest her. With us, I am happy if I get one good meal in him. Hope this helps a bit...

Dara - posted on 06/11/2009

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We are having the same problem with our son and he just turned 5. Basically, start small. Find anything with any nutritional value that she will eat. If you can find little things that are healthy than you can feed them as meals or frequent snacks. Does she drink pediasure or eat yogurt? Does she eat cheese or any fruit or veggies. My son used to love this dip and eat it with cereal. Now he loves a bowl of letuce with ranch dressing. He used to like crackers and butter, noodles with butter, rice, he loves guacamole, quiche. Sometimes it is a texture thing. Try taking her to the grocery store and picking out foods that interest her. With us, I am happy if I get one good meal in him. Hope this helps a bit...

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