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Neophobia, toddler food phobia and extreme fussiness

(16 Posts)
Carine3 Wed 04-Jan-12 23:23:18

My toddler suffers from neophobia - fear of food. I have been doing a lot of research in to it and have been making small but successful steps forward with my child in order to introduce new foods for her to eat but it is hard work and a struggle. Not a lot of information is out there in regards to Neophobia, one can only find things on fussiness of food but this is much more than that.
I wanted to see if anyone else is going through this with their children and perhaps we can share tips and help each other out with our experiences. If someone has been successful in battling through this and getting their child to eat normally I would love to hear about your experience. Thank you!

BITCAT Thu 05-Jan-12 00:52:47

im interested..when did it start? and what kind of problems do you get?? My son used to make himself sick as a toddler and wouldnt eat anything that has lumps in it and is very the point where he would hardly eat anything..interested as ive never heard of this before

Carine3 Thu 05-Jan-12 11:45:01

It started from around 18months, basically when she first started to eat herself, and had more control. She used to eat everything before hand!
Slowly slowly she would only eat pasta. We went through a phase of pasta with pesto but she doesn't want that anymore. She just eats "plain" foods, so her pasta now I cook with olive oil and cheese that has melted in so it is not overtly cheesy. She eats rice but we blend chicken or fish and mix it in. and have to feed her so she eats it but she doesn't complain about that as it looks "plain". My latest thing is pizza. She loves going to pizza express and has a margherita, so I have bought small wholemeal pizza bases and make them myself at home, put protein/meat and veg in the sauce, blend it so it is really tomatoey and then pile on cheese on top and she eats that.
My DH and I watched a programme on tv recently about neophobia/food fussiness in toddlers, and the answer seemed to be just to let go and expose them to new things but if they don't want it, let it be and just stay calm and happy and try again another time. If you stress, they stress and it becomes more of an issue.
One thing I have been doing with her proactively, in order to introduce vegetables and fruit is do a chart/sticker game so slowly slowly through "this game" which is essentially a reward scheme she has started to eat some new veg and a couple of fruit. It has been slow process but we are getting there.
Neophobia is a fear of new foods. Totally fine with Carbs/starchy/snacky foods but a fear of "fresh foods and protein"....

foxy123 Thu 05-Jan-12 14:39:30

Carine3 your DD sounds exactly the same as mine, except mine is now 3 so has been eating only pesto pasta and pizza for dinner for a long time now.

I wish there was a magic answer but when you tell the health visitors all they say is as long as she's a healthy weight then there's nothing to worry about. Not very helpful.

foxy123 Thu 05-Jan-12 15:11:48

I just found a forum on this website made just for us!

foxy123 Thu 05-Jan-12 15:21:06

forum link:

Listzilla Thu 05-Jan-12 15:27:34

This describes my DD exactly! She'll happily eat toast, bread, breadsticks, rice cakesand anything else plain and carby, but no veg or meat, and fruit actually makes her cry.

Even yoghurt is a no-no these days.

Bizarrely, she eats everything they throw at her in creche hmm

30somethingmom Wed 22-Feb-12 22:01:55

here is the story from u.s. abc news, this is how I learned what is wrong with my DS. He just turned 3 a week ago. I have tried everything, but he only eats fewer and fewer things. He won't even try new things. It took us a year to get him to eat nachos and chips with salsa. He will go without (and does) rather than eat what everyone else is eating. With my son it seems to have developed because of his food allergies from birth that gave him great abdominal upset for 1 1/2 years. Now that he can finally tolerate any food, he eats fewer than ever before. It is good to know I am not alone. If you google it there is a lot of information and food therapy might help. We try to offer something he likes with each meal, but that is often only bread and butter since he only eats: pancakes, toast, nachos, yogurt, pizza crust (no cheese on it). Sometimes he will eat strawberries and bananas. Oh, and he will gladly eat most cookies and donuts but not cake or ice cream. He has never even tried rice, pasta, mashed potatoes and gravy, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, etc. He used to eat meat and he ate mashed vegetables before he turned 2. It is so frustrating that others don't understand and blame us.

Karimmum Sat 21-Apr-12 20:20:31

Hello to all the parents out there ...I am so happy that I am not the only mother going through this food phobia phase .My son is 3 year old and until this day he is not eating except plain rice, yoghurt's,chips ,cucumber,carrots &as much milk as He can have .He loves sweets .I have reach the end of my patience & I don't know what to do and how to convince in trying new food.He will make himself sick only when you show him the food.I have tried reducing the milk ,I took him to all the doctors who all they could tell me is that he will outgrow of it but this is not making me happy as I want him to eat .Pls can anyone give me some tips and tell me what else I can do in making my son eat.Thank you.

sarahdavies05 Wed 20-Mar-13 22:07:28

Hi all, my little boy is 2 1/2 and is neophobic, it started with him as soon as introduced weaning with him. i first started him with baby rice but would only have it off his dummy and not a spoon, he's always been a fussy eater and even now mainly lives off fruit and yogurt and cereal. I have defenitly felt alone with this problem because i was getting told different things off different professionals but everything i tried never worked. Eventually i put my foot down with them and demanded him to see a dietician which he did but not really much improvement there either so i said to her he needs more support so she referred him to a speech n language therapist (for chewing and throat), the woman that is dealing with him is helped me understand everything so much better and given me a clear plan of and where we are aiming to get with him. i would strongly suggest to any parent who's child is going through this is to go back to your doctors and tell them you want them referred to speech and language. (chewing) I hope this helps use.

Mntmama123 Mon 24-Mar-14 21:20:34

I'm so glad I found this page I have had the hardest time with my little one hopefully we can get more advice from mamas out there facing the same issue.

tricot39 Mon 24-Mar-14 22:50:12

Try this thread which is very slow but posters do come back from time to time:

kimber470 Thu 17-Jul-14 02:31:20

My 2 year old seems to have it, too. I have no idea what to do. I keep trying and trying. Tonight I was playing airplane with the spoon and he was laughing. Then he freaked out when I put a small bite of mashed potatoes in his mouth. Like REALLY freaked out, putting his fingers in his mouth and screaming. I'm really worried about getting him to eat normal food.

bringbackfonzi Thu 17-Jul-14 12:33:27

Two of mine have this. I was the same as a child and only gradually started eating a wider range of things when I was a teenager. I am still fussy compared with most people but I can eat a lot of normal (vegetarian) things and can happily eat in restaurants etc, the only problem I have is if I eat at other people's houses and they have cooked one thing and it's a strong taste with onions or garlic or something (which vegetarian recipes often are). With my dc, I go along with it but encourage them to try new things sometimes with no pressure. My oldest who's now 7 has improved a bit this way, but only a bit.

scottishmummy Thu 17-Jul-14 12:50:54

Op Is this a self diagnosis or have you seen a paediatrician?
if you haven't already get gp make referral to paediatrician and dietitian. May also require speech and language therapist

kimfuente91 Wed 29-Mar-17 10:43:49

Im so happy to have found this post. Not sure how live it is now but i am hoping someone could respond. I have a 3 year old who is causing us mega problems at nursery and at home. he will eat penne pasta but he will not eat wheat coloured pasta (which they have at nursery) he will take the mince or veg out of pasta. he will not eat chicken nuggets, sausages, waffles, fish fingers, mash only pasta and chips mainly. he used to eat anything as long as it was all mashed togther with sauce on but nursery soon put a stop to that plus he prob would of outgrown it. he is not underweight and not too overweight imo. he wil not eat fruit yogurts but loves a choc yogurt (when he finishes his food) he will eat apple and maybe other fruit if he is in the mood to at nursery not home. he likes crisps (1 packet a day if he finishes his sandwich but wont eat ham cheese or jam so its always choc spread. fussy isnt even the word but we think he is scared to try new food. he looks at it in pictures and in the shop and says yumm but wont even try it. its become so stressful now paying for meals he wont even eat. sad

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