Anyone else with a difficult / impossible eater? Support needed

(6 Posts)
mummy2benji Sun 20-Jan-13 18:47:52

Sorry, this may end up a bit lengthy... The background: ds (who is now 4yo) had severe reflux as a baby, to the extent that no medication worked and he got such bad inflammation that he refused to drink milk - he had 10 hospital admissions before he was one and had tube feeds on occasion. He only had to see a bottle of white liquid and he would start screaming. He learned that feeding = pain, so better to starve himself. That obviously made weaning difficult too, and he eventually started to eat some solids at 15 months. Prior to that I did two finger-food meals a day for 5 months before he started to swallow anything - I had to think of it as 'food play' rather than attempted meals, or I would have lost the will to live.

He is now 4, and in many ways it is wonderful that he even eats, when compared with how it used to be. But his diet is awful, and I am desperate to try to improve it somehow. He won't eat any fruit or veg - apart from two flavours of shop-bought baby fruit puree jars. It has to be those two flavours, and eaten from the jar. I make sure he has two of those a day, just to get some fruit into him. He has no veg in his diet whatsoever apart from potato and carrot waffles, which have a few miniscule orange specks in. He eats: yoghurt (has to be Munch Bunch, strawberry and vanilla or raspberry), Nutella on toast or sandwiches, sausages, chicken nuggets, chips, burger, crisps, biscuits, bread sticks. He won't eat dips, or toast without Nutella on it.

I have tried cooking with him, to see if he'll be more likely to try new things - we made toad-in-the-hole and he ate the sausages and a tiny bit of batter. It is hard to find the time when I also have 12 week old dd and it is very demoralising to make homemade food that doesn't get eaten - dh works late so isn't home for ds's dinnertime. If I put peas on his plate he'll get upset and ask me to take them off. He won't touch the fruit and veg they offer at school. I've encouraged him to try licking things, and then give him a sticker if he licks say a piece of nectarine.

He still has a bottle of formula milk morning and night just to try to get some vitamins into him, and he has vitamin supplements. He just won't try anything new. He is currently on iron medicine as his fingernails are all brittle and splitting, likely due to iron deficiency.

I just wondered if there were any other mums out there with nightmare eaters like this, and how you approached it? Please don't suggest seeing GP or health visitor as I am a GP and we have tried everything down that route, including Sure Start who came out to do messy play with food when ds was younger. Just wondering if anyone has any similar experiences of their own? I'm desperate... Thank you for reading.

CrunchyFrog Sun 20-Jan-13 23:47:48

DS1 has ASD and had/ has several issues with regard to texture. He didn't eat any meat, at all, from weaning until his 5th birthday. For that, with no expectation that it worked, we did "social stories" about trying new things, it worked, he started to eat some meats (nothing processed except burgers). I just kept on presenting him with new things. Now, at 7, he has an odd lunch box - frubes (HAS to be frubes), apple, sandwich, olives.

He still will not eat anything with a mashed texture, gravy or sauce has to be on the side, fruit has to be apple, grapes or blueberries, veg is carrots (raw), peas or (madly enough) celeriac. He'll eat chips, though. hmm

He has had periods of very skinny - just before he turned 5 he was 92nd centile for height and 25th for weight - recently he's been 75th for both, but we're entering another period of not eating, so he's going to skinny up again. I try not to sweat it, just keep offering the food that he's eaten in the past plus a few new things each week, and hope that he eats something.

It's very frustrating and worrying, you have my sympathy!

wiltingfast Mon 21-Jan-13 08:24:03

To be honest his diet doesn't sound that bad. He's getting some fruit fron the purees, potatoes are incredibly nutritious, he's getting some fat, he eats loads of carbs and he eats dairy in form of yogurts. I can totally understand you would like to expand his range but I think you are actually doing really well.

I would try not to make any fuss, act as if his choices are completely normal and perhaps put communal bowls of food on the table of what everyone else is eating and occasionally ask him if he'd like to have some. Here's a bit if you do, no problem if you don't. Passive encouragement.

My ds is 3 and is similar and this kind kinda work with him. Yesterday he actually asked for some chicken with his spaghetti (we were having a roast chk dinner, he was having buttery spaghetti). Ate it too

mummy2benji Mon 21-Jan-13 13:01:31

Thanks guys for the helpful and encouraging posts, much appreciated smile

ConstantCraving Mon 21-Jan-13 20:39:16

Hi mummy2benji you are not alone! There are alot of us in your position over on the resistant eater thread - many have Dc who had illnesses around weaning time which seems to have led to a fear of food: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/behaviour_development/1607441-resistant-eater-support-thread-come-and-join-me

This link might also help you https://www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/extreme-food-refusal

wiltingfast Tue 22-Jan-13 16:18:28

Hey I came across this discussion with links and I thought you might like to read it! I'll certainly be reading it more myself:-

www.thekitchn.com/in-defense-of-kid-food-182863

Hope it helps!

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