to take my DD to see a G.P for fussy eating(94 Posts)
...or would I just be wasting their time?
Am at my wits end with DD3. she eats around 5 different foods and that’s it. nothing particularly healthy. I asked my HV for help, and we went on an 8 week NHS run ‘fussy eaters’ course. it was actually called happy healthy toddlers. It was okay, but in the 8 weeks she didn’t improve at all, and the lady who ran the course said she had a severe case of food neophobia (trying new foods) they said to keep trying new stuff.
6 months on she has not tried anything new despite trying every day, and her range of foods is getting smaller. I’m desperate. I can’t go out with my friend to a soft play place today because she won’t eat anything off the menu.
Do you think the GP would be able to do anything or is it a bit pointless?
Mine was the same. Well I say was he’s still a pain at 10 but very money motivated to try new things.
Vitamin drops and calcium supplements if that is lacking is your friend. I also did the bowl of ready Brek before bed though.
You could always try, especially if you’re worried about nutrition.
Re soft play just take something with you or go first thing and be home for lunchtime?
As someone who was a childhood fussy eater I can tell you that it’s pointless and making a bigger deal of it will actually make the problem worse. You can choose to ignore my advice but the absolute best thing you can do (although not the easiest as a parent) is to completely ignore the fact that there is an issue. Serve meals, always with at least one thing she likes on the plate, say nothing about what you expect her to eat, (the pressure to eat can be paralysing) if she says she doesn’t want anything then that’s fine, there are no alternatives. Tell her to bring her plate to the sink and then carry on eating your meal and chatting with the others at the table. Keep offering new foods in the plate with her “safe” foods but draw no attention to it. She’ll probably pull a face but ignore. Again, if she says “I don’t like X!” You say, that’s fine, eat the rest. And whether she clears her plate or not, no praise. (I know!! ) it draws attention and makes eating and meals an event to get anxious about. “If I got praised for clearing my plate last night will I have to do the same tonight? Will mum be disappointed if I can’t? What if I can’t? I just won’t have dinner at all. Maybe I won’t even go I the table”
And certainly don’t avoid going out places because you think she won’t eat. Don’t put your life on hold, I can tell you from experience, this could last well into her teens. (Less if handled well with least fuss)
Some useful insights there battered. Thanks. My son is also pretty picky and seems a bit anxious with it. I do my best to correct the mistakes my parents made with food that turned me into a picky eater until adulthood. I feel there are yet more to correct.
unless she is seriously underweight probably wouldn't go to the gp.
Battered - has some really good advice.
I wouldn't avoid going places, just don't expect her to eat and have snack in bag when leave soft play. Ds is on meds and has no appetite so eats nothing for most of the day. Soft play he would just have a drink and play on my phone while we eat.
It’s really stressful isn’t it trying to get them to like or try new things. My mum’s friend’s son lived on cheese sandwiches. Now grown up he eats all sorts. I guess time is our friend.
My dd was like this and I did speak to a GP and he said just persevere giving her different things but in a non confrontational way . We did , she’s 18 now and eats no veg unless it’s small and in a sauce and she only eats chicken / gammon and ham . She was diagnosed as coeliac at 11 which restricted her even more however in the past few years she has drastically improved and now eats pasta bakes / bolognaise / lasagne / sandwiches . She does eat fruit . As for the not going out , just go , she will either try something or be hungry and wait until she gets home , the sooner she realises that life will not revolve around what she will eat the better . Is odd when you get one that is different , my eldest eats all veg , meat and doesn’t like pasta / spicy food / stews etc .
I took DS as he has similar issues but mainly as he seemed to be run down last winter. This was partly as he increased his sport commitments but also down to not eating big meals.
He drinks lots of milk which I think has been a huge help for him as it is almost like a meal.
I find other people make the whole thing way more stressful - people have a big issue with fussy eaters and the only person affected really is the child and the parent.
Will she eat things like toast/pancakes/boiled egg/yoghurt? When we ran through what DS was prepared to eat it did cover all the things he needed e.g. for protein he will drink milk and eat kids yoghurt, fishfinger & chicken nugget for carb he will eat plain pasta, toast, potato waffle, and for fruit he will drink fresh apple juice and innocent smoothies.
I was a fussy eater as a child and so have been more relaxed than other parents might be. I remember sitting at the dinner table trying to eat luke warm roast dinner and such the like and gagging at the smell of certain things cooking.
Good advice from battered
PS We always still went to places with friends but I just didn't order the meals - would take rice cakes/bread sticks etc.
This is what I ate until I was about 13
Toast with only one brand of butter, no jam, marmalade etc
Cream crackers with butter
Kitkats and digestive biscuits
Only homemade chips made by my dad, mum’s just didn’t cut it and she still holds that against me
That’s it. I didn’t eat the chips or sausages until I was around 10. At 13 I went on a school trip for a week (my mum was a bag of nerves that I would die of starvation) and came home eating pasta, vegetablesoup, leek and potato soup, pizza, ham, chicken, mayonnaise. And probably a few more. Of course she almost threw a party when I told her and she made a big deal of offering me all this new stuff at each meal. Had the effect of making me not want to tell her when I liked something new and I went straight back to old habits. The attention and pressure was too much. I started eating fruit in secret so she wouldn’t whoop and cheer. Even now as an adult with a good diet I don’t tell her half of what I eat. She can’t help herself getting excited
Oh and I drank buckets of milk!
From the age of six, my brother ate only cream crackers, microwave chips and cheese (under pressure from my parents). Once 12 or so, he also drank milky tea.
He started to expand his diet age 18 and now eats a wide range of food. He even cooks for his wife, making sure she is well fed (demanding job, shift work).
He is over six foot, solidly built and apparently healthy.
IMO, it's better to let them self-regulate and not make meal times a source of stress than to fight the fussy.
battered I hope you don't mind my asking... I'm interested in your 'safe foods' idea. At present, I tell my children that they can 'earn' an alternative food like cheese on toast if they are willing to try the new food I give them first. And ideally to give it a good try unless I can see they really don't want to. One child is absolutely fine with this and often my other child reluctantly agrees too. But sometimes when he is really tired he will refuse to come to the table and takes himself off to sleep. I want to expose them to new foods (repeatedly) and then to arrive at the safe option if needed. How does this sound to you? The child concerned is sensitive and slightly nervous (finger picking etc) like me, whereas the other just gets on with things far more
I don’t mind you asking at all, glad to help if I can. TBH (and I’m aware this may be hard to hear) I’m recoiling at the idea of having to earn the only foods I feel no anxiety about eating by putting scary looking, smelling and tasting things in my mouth and even worse having to swallow them! Every child is different so maybe your child is ok with this but to this day I would still go without my safe foods if it meant having to eat something I didn’t know/like/feel comfortable tasting. For someone who never had any food issues it’s very hard to describe how terrifying the thought of eating a non approved food is. Your throat clams up, your gag reflex kicks in, your body get hot and hands clammy, it really feels like a fight or flight instinct. Being confronted with a new food as the only way to get the safe food would have me running for the hills internally. My insides would be screaming whilst outwardly I might say “no, thank you” and appear to just be not bothered. I’m a big believer in food not being used as a reward or punishment. It’s a sure fire way to create a comfort eater by attaching emotions to certain foods. I know that maybe isn’t what you want to hear but I have to be honest.
I'm a GP. TBH, unless your child was failing to thrive/falling off centiles or there are other mental health issues that meet the criteria for referral to CAMHS there isn't much I'd be able to do and I'd probably direct you to the HV. GPs can sometimes access dietitians but I'm not sure how helpful that would be.
I'd go with battered's advice. I ended up with an eating disorder in my teens because my mother made a huge deal out of me not eating - I'd lost my appetite a bit, that was all, but it became a really big deal and I couldn't get anything down in the end. A horrible experience at the time and the issue carried on for years afterwards to a lesser extent. Keep it relaxed. As long as she's eating enough of some things then go with it.
I have heard good things about Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility for eating. It seems to back up what battered is saying. Basically as an adult you’re responsible for what, when, where of eating. Children are responsible for how much and whether to eat. Don’t pressure child to eat, don’t praise etc
I am banking this for when I inevitably have a fussy eater, being a ‘will eat everything’ kind of child and adult....
Agree with BatteredBreadedOrSou
You can praise sitting nicely at the table, that way she still gets praise but it's not directed at the food.
Soft play, I would just go. If she says she's hungry let her know what they have or say we can go home and have X there. Just in a matter of fact way, not as a punishment or anything. If she chooses something but doesn't eat it, just say 'no problem, we'll eat at home shortly'.
If you do go to the GP, go without her. They pick up on so much more that you think and if she hears you speaking about this huge 'problem' it will only make things worse.
Thank you battered for your honesty and giving me the chance to learn from my parents' mistakes and from yours. A lot of what you say does sound like my son
Just want to back up what battered is saying. I was very similar as a kid and nothing worked. You just have a physical reaction to the disgusting food. I was a bit better in other people's houses cos my pride was at stake. But at home it was just extremely stressful. And can quickly become a control thing if you're not careful.
Now I eat a wide variety though some things are forever disgusting (egg white - yeuch).
I wouldn’t say mealtimes are stressful, she’s been fussy for far too long! i try and give her whatever we’re having, for example if we have chilli and rice i know she will eat the rice but i put the chilli on anyway. if we’re having something i know she won’t even eat any part of she has chicken nuggets and a bit of what we’re having. she never ever tries it and hasn’t for 6 months.
It’s very hard to step back. As a parent you’re instinct is to feed feed feed. We’re programmed to make sure our DC eat. But fussy eating is in the head, more often than not what starts out as very normal toddler pickiness (most DC go through a short phase of pickiness) becomes a lifelong eating disorder or eating issue because it was made into a big deal at the start when ignoring would have seen the return to normality far quicker.
mine is the same for the few things he eats are healthy so it isn't a medical problem
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