resistant eater support thread - come and join me.....

(276 Posts)
tricot39 Thu 08-Nov-12 19:32:20

I hate mealtimes and have done for 4 years now. DS is 4 and has issues with food (likely due to illness in his first year) since week 4. We finally sought help last year and have seen paediatricians, SALTs and dieticians. It hasn't stopped the number of acceptable foods declining. We are mow down to plain/dry carbs and soft desserts/smoothies and chocolate. We hide supplements in the smoothies!

Over the past year we have got so much better at keeping things calm at mealtimes and trying to avoid pressuring him to eat (i give myself 3 "eat ups" per meal). But all that means is that the stress gets bottled up.

Anyway having ruled out physical and social/communication issues it seems to come down to phobias. He is a cautious chap and doesn't like mess or lumps/bits. The last SALT i saw actually knew what she was talking about and said that if we did nothing else we should do desensitisation exercises. We plan to use the ones in Just Take A Bite [[ http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1932565124 here]]. This thread is partly to record that process and keep us on track.

We dont know anyone else with a resistant eater and so have noone to let off steam with. I hope there are some of you out there in a similar situation who want to share? Particularly if you are further down this road - i want to hope that these execrises will work but hope faded a couple of years back if i am honest sad

If you have read this and and are thinking about posting about your dc who isnt that keen on veg or that "kids will not starve themselves" then please don't bother. You are way out of your depth and i get enough of this in rl! Sorry to sound rude but i am hoping to find some people who understand how utterly helpless i feel <sob>

Anyone out there?

Tricot - joining the party late and not reading 99 posts, so sorry if this has already been said. Are the sensitisation issues only related to food, or are there other ones - like scratchy labels in jumpers and not liking fast moving playground equipment? DD2 had sensory integration disorder, and so was fussy about texture in food, but it wasn't a food issue. Once we treated her for her sensory integration disorder she ate pretty much anything - expect yoghurt with bits in, which is still considered Satan.

DD3 is becoming a right pain in the arse madam about food. She is refusing anything with sauce, most meat except sausage and ham, potatoes in almost all varieties and is essentially trying to live on fruit, yoghurt, bread and chocolate spread. With her it is definitely control issues rather than anything else though - she is trying to exert her authority over me. It still makes me need wine at meal times though.

tricot39 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:55:00

Thnks jenny - just what i needed to hear!

dances we did look into sid about a year back but were not sure it was a great fit based on reading a book! How was your dd diagnosed? What is the "treatment"?

We lived in South Africa where is it the first thing anyone diagnoses in kids with issues, kinda like ASD in the UK these days. She was diagnosed at about 18 months by a neurophysiotherapist we were referred to as she had a lot of issues. She wouldn't wear most clothes as she hated the feel of them on her skin - shoes were also evil. Horizontal movement was a problem - so she desperately wanted to go on swings for example, but cried to get off pretty much as soon as she got on. Bright light, loud noises set her off too. She was generally unhappy all the time, for no reason, and was withdrawing into herself. She was treated with deep pressure stimulation and brushing. I was very skeptical about the whole thing, but within about 2 weeks she was a different child and within 4 months it was completely gone and I had my happy smiley baby back!

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Mon 19-Nov-12 21:35:14

Dances, that is so interesting. My DS is the same inc swings. <goes off to search on the net about treatment>. Actually, can it be done at home?

Yes Popmusic - they showed us how to do the compressions, gave us a brush and we were on our way smile Its just like a massage really

tricot39 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:07:26

Would it be worth looking on youtube? What search terms would be good?

You would need to get the brush - that's the main thing. Look at www.nationalautismresources.com/sensory-brush.html

Maybe watch www.youtube.com/watch?v=uETDXHrH1io and www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvtV8owbR3o&feature=fvwrel

Don't worry about the use of the word autism a lot on these links. Many autistic children has SID as well, but it is not a form autism!

haVe, sorry.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Wed 21-Nov-12 21:12:31

Thanks for that dances

I'm a bit upset today because last week I went to see GP about DS and his weight and his uncanny ability to catch every bug that is going. Seriously, he's been off from school more often than been in school.

Anyway, doctor looked at growth chart and pointed out that there is pattern to his weight, which is he loses weight in the winter and gains a bit in the summer, so on the chart it looks like an undulating wave. Fair enough. My point was that this year the weight loss is more rapid and it's happening earlier than previous years, we are only at the start of the season, what will he be like by the end of it?

Last week, he was in the 9th centile. He has had a serious bout of sickness and diarrhoea since then. He is down in the 2nd centile (about midway). He looks shocking, all skin and bones. Bearing in mind that his height is in the 75th centile.

I am so stressed about his weight loss and his eating. sad. It's really hard to stay positive when he just won't eat. He has come out of his illness but he's still not eating much. Today, he accepted ice cream, which he has not done in a while so at least I was able to get a bit of fat into him.

tricot39 Wed 21-Nov-12 23:08:41

Oh dear pop. Sorry to hear your ds is not doing so well. It must be such a worry. Is he refusing everything or could you break all taboos and feed him chocolate at every meal? <desperate measures emoticon>

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Wed 21-Nov-12 23:38:47

Thanks tricot I wish I could give him chocolate but, unfortunately, chocolate is not one of his accepted foods. hmm. He must be the only child on earth who does not like chocolate.

He ate a little yogurt (4 teaspoonfuls), ice cream w/ strawberries and 6 mini breadsticks w/non sugary jam. Might have to put him on the ice cream diet.

tricot39 Thu 22-Nov-12 06:29:04

Or chips? The rest of his list is not exactly calorie laden sad
ice cream banana milkshakes with hidden cream?
Oddly our ds seems to get worse in winter too.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Thu 22-Nov-12 20:40:23

Well, I packed his little bag full of Tupperware pots of Cheerios, Special K, ginger biscuits and strawberries to take to school. I know he had a banana and some bread for lunch. His Tupperware pots were all empty!

Thanks for the suggestions, tricot. I'm liking the idea of ice cream milkshake with banana and hidden cream, I'm going to try and make it this weekend and see if he will go for it. Just a bit so as not to overwhelm him.

ConstantCraving Thu 22-Nov-12 21:17:52

My DD won't do chips or choc either. She is also refusing fish fingers. Happily baked beans are accepted still and I managed to get her to eat banana and raspberry muffins, which we made. She will not eat banana or raspberry normally.
Quick question - when introducing a new food alongside a safe, accepted one, do you put them on the same plate or a seperate one? Worried the presence of pasta or fish will mean the baked beans will also be rejected...

tricot39 Thu 22-Nov-12 22:55:58

I bought compartment plates so nothing touches. Ds will tolerate things he will not eat being in a separate compartment but some kids might refuse to be in the same room. So you have to play it by ear and work to your dc's threshold.

cantmakecarrotcake Fri 23-Nov-12 08:50:11

I've had some success with putting an empty plate in front of DD and maybe 3 little bowls/pots each with a different food in. It gives her some ownership over choosing what she eats. Putting the new food almost out of reach sometimes sparks a little bit more curiosity about it.

Writing this reminds me that I don't do this when we eat lunch out on a Friday and it's always a nightmare. I'll try it today and see if it's any better.

cantmakecarrotcake Fri 23-Nov-12 09:01:16

Sorry about your DS losing weight, pop, it's so worrying when you can see they're out of synch with the growth charts (although sense tells me there will always be some that are just built that way).

The D&V is unfortunate but I'm sure he'll make that up eventually. Sometimes after the symptoms are over you can still be left feeling a bit delicate. It sounds like the pots of cereal were a success - that sort of thing is great for re-introducing food - it's the sort of thing I'd go for. Picky bits but healthy too. Have you tried Shreddies, they're fortified so you can sneak in some extra nutrients.

Re the losing weight in the winter thing, was the doc worried about Vit D? You normally get lots of vit D from sunshine and it's hard to get from regular dietary sources. We were advised to give DD petite filous as it's got extra Vit D. Overall her vitamin supplements have boosted her appetite. Not necessarily the answer for your DS but it's an easy thing to rule out. Good luck!

ConstantCraving Fri 23-Nov-12 20:41:33

Thanks - I haven't got a compartment plate so put in three seperate pots as carrotcake suggested. She ate the baked beans and nothing else - but did look at the fish and the cheese - and even touched the cheese, so a good start I think. I am doing absolutely no comments now as i'm finding giving any attention to what she eats - good or bad - makes things worse.
Will try pots of cereal too.
Hope your lunch goes well carrotcake

storynanny Sat 24-Nov-12 19:07:49

I can remember watching a programme years ago about a charity sending high calorie biscuits, 800 calories in each, being send to children abroad, and thinking that on most days that exceeded my sons intake!
On the subject of tv progs, I was once interviewed for a tv prog on children with eating disorders and being very surprised that my son actually ate a lot more than some children! A local mum was always interviewed, her daughter had been diagnosed eventually with silver Russell syndrome, one of the problems is that children with this disorder apparently do not have a link ( a nerve I think) between stomach and what ever usually tells them they are hungry. Interestingly my son never ever said he was hungry, but was never given a diagnosis for his food refusal. One consultant did however say he had a quite narrow windpipe.
As Christmas approaches I can also remember that until 2 years ago, at the age of 19, he was still not eating a whole meal, but then seemed to turn a corner and will now even have some gravy on a plate of meat, a few roast potatoes and small amount of carrots and peas!
When you are going through these difficult years it is impossible to relax and not worry about the long term effect of poor eating. Hopefully I can reassure some of you that "normal" or something approaching it , will happen eventually.

ConstantCraving Sat 24-Nov-12 20:42:32

Thank you story after another evening meal of only baked beans, no fish or veg, no cheese, no anything else offered i'm slightly desperate so any good news stories are gratefully received!

storynanny Sat 24-Nov-12 21:04:51

I can sympathise so much with you. Amazingly baked beans are still on the no-go list for son, despite him now being an impoverished student living away from home, not one bean has ever passed his lips! I remember begging him to try just one as I was aware it was a good source of protein, I even knew the calorie count of a tablespoon of baked beans!
I don't know how others are feeling about the impact of a non eater on the rest of the family? I was rather worried the other day to hear one of my other sons recalling how much hysterical shouting (me) went on sometimes at mealtimes. Sad that is how they remember some of their childhood mealtimes, that must have been the times when I was completely at the end of my tether which I have to admit happened frequently.
My aims were always, enough food for steady growth, to keep in reasonably good health and, as he got older, to be able to eat socially. Eventually as he reached the end of teen years these have been achieved. There were ways round the social eating, eg on a residential school trip in year 5, the school were brilliant, always made sure plain bread and butter were available at every meal, thus making it possible for him to go on the trip.
On a memorable holiday to USA, he announced on the plane "Im not going to eat anything American". True to his word, he lived for 2 weeks on a box of dry rice crispier that I took with me and ice lollies, washed down with milk.
Hope my recollections are helping someone in a similar position to keep sane!

tricot39 Sat 24-Nov-12 22:07:07

i think i have reached some sort of sense of peace with the idea that ds will only eat dry carbs. we are also bean free. i find the most stressful times are eating out or as others' guests. we have managed collectively to eliminate shouting but i still nag on a bit when i forget not to. dh keeps working out protein and calorie consumption a bit too often and i just feed.him cake or yoghurt if all else fails. aaaargh

ConstantCraving Sun 25-Nov-12 20:42:57

Hi - i guess I should be grateful for the beans! Had an awful couple of days where her intake has really dipped but got a bit better today - after one piece of toast for breakfast, we made banana and raspberry muffins and she ate some of the muffin mix and then 2 muffins!! No lunch but a homemade biscuit and raisins at my mum's and then baked beans (!) for supper. I put one cut up fishfinger in a seperate bowl and just put it doen near her and she picked it up and gave me one and then ate one herself! Did it again with the other two pieces so she had half a fish finger. today was a GOOD day!
I avois anything other than tea and cake in public because it is too stressful. I also find not telling people about it (especially other parents) helps as it leads to lots of unsolicited advice about spoiling her, leaving her to it (as she won't starve herself..) or advocating the naughty step...

cantmakecarrotcake Sun 25-Nov-12 21:43:52

Yay to the half a fish finger, constantcraving. grin

I took my own advice about the 3 bowls too and it did make a bit of a difference. Friday lunch was pretty relaxed and DD ate a whole sausage and some peas.

Baked beans are a no-go in our house to. She did once eat 15 (yes, I counted as she ate them 1 at a time) but I think she ended up with tummy ache and never ate them again.

Aside from the nutrient/calorie concerns I have, the social side of things upsets me the most. Toddler groups when they provide snacks, attending nursery, visiting family, eating out, going on holiday are all tricky. We've holidayed in the UK so far because we'd have to take all her (mostly frozen) food with us and self cater. We enjoy food and eating out so much and I just wish we could enjoy it as a family and order her something off the menu rather than packing the same old packed lunch. The packed lunch thing is fine while she's still a toddler but when she's a bit older I doubt any cafe/restaurant would be too impressed. sad

storynanny Sun 25-Nov-12 22:36:31

Don't worry what other people/cafes etc think, you are the expert with your own child, plain bread and butter can always be provided by anyone anywhere. I just used to say, it's medical. For 12 years he had the same school packed lunch every day,2 slices of white bread and butter, few pieces of raw carrot or cucumber, couple of plain(round only!)biscuits and a packet of hula hoops. He was always happy to go to parties etc, I just used to say, he has issues with food that we are dealing with, dont be surprised/worried if he doesn't eat anything.,
At his big brothers wedding he ate chicken nuggets and ,guess what, bread and butter! He was then 15.
Speaking to other mums about older children still having food issues I found that late teens was a common age to"conform" so as to be able to join in socially. Going off to university was the first time my son showed an interest in preparing anything to eat himself, albeit still limited comparatively speaking .
It's very interesting to read here that a common acceptable food is dry carbs, perhaps there is something significant to resistant eaters in that choice?

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