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

(278 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 [[ 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?

LemonEmmaP Wed 06-Feb-13 16:06:05

I want to add my bit here, not least so I can find this thread and return to it when I have more time! DS2 (age 6) is a fussy eater - won't entertain anything 'wet' and has a limited selection of dry foods that he will eat. The plus side is that he does like things from all food groups (protein, carbs, fruit/veg, dairy) so I feel that he gets a balanced intake, but it makes for stressful times, particularly if we are eating away from home. We're about to go on holiday for two weeks and I am looking forward to it in every respect except wondering what on earth DS2 will actually eat hmm. I think there may be glimmers of hope, as DS2 will ask about other foods, but still refuses to eat them, and will curl up in a ball on his chair if faced with unfamiliar foods on his plate. Having said that, we did put baked beans on his plate the other week, and he stayed at the table - maybe we're getting somewhere! Like others, it is the presence of DS1 who will eat pretty much anything that reminds me this is DS2's issue, rather than some monumental error on my part.

movicolisfab Mon 11-Feb-13 10:20:31

OP – not sure if I meet your criteria as I had never considered my DS would starve himself to death. I have always presumed that children could survive on very little.

I have a brother who has never eaten any fruit or vegetables and as a child only ate 3 or 4 different foods and never any part of any family meal. Even now he only eats a very limited food range but is the fittest, strongest and healthiest adult I know. Perhaps because of this experience I have never got stressed at meal times much as I would love my DS to eat. The main difference is my brother always grew whereas DS weighs under 16kg at age 8 (and has been this far below the 0.04 percentage line for years).

DS, age 8, eats very little, far less than 3 year old siblings. He is under GOS, dietitian, paeditrician, gastroenterologist etc etc. He only eats a few different foods and always in tiny quantities. I think being constantly hungry makes him continually on edge and generally less happy than his contented siblings who eat normally. I agree that lack of food can impact on both health and happiness and it certainly takes DS longer to fight off any illness due to the lack of intake and body fat.

We tried all the different calorie supplement drinks such as pediasure plus on recommendation of the professionals but he sicked them up at school and told school I was making him drink awful things so we stopped.

I would suggest not worrying unless a child is constantly ill or not growing to the extent that the health professionals are concerned. Children will pick up on parents concern and use it for control. Very few older children seem to be mentioned on this post, would be interesting to hear more experiences beyond school age.

Titchyboomboom Mon 11-Feb-13 23:13:57

I mind some resistant eaters and find the parent food list hard to stick to. I have decided to put one thing on then plate they like, then put the other things on too. At first they freaked out, but now are happy for the other foods to sit there. They are now at the stage of trying a little nibble ... Getting there - it has taken 6 months

mummy2benji Fri 15-Feb-13 12:35:08

Hi all, just wanted to post a link for those of you who might be able to persuade your dc to eat a bit of burger.

I have just made 3 portions of the 'purple puree' which is pureed spinach, blueberries and a dash of lemon juice, which you can sneakily add to the burgers to provide some extra vitamins. The puree tastes surprisingly yum. The burgers also contain tomato puree and oat bran. Burgers are one of the few foods that ds (4) will eat, so I'm really hoping that he'll be happy to eat these and in a small way I'll feel like I've achieved something by getting some goodness into him. He doesn't eat vegetables of any form, shape or size.

Hope some of you find this helpful, at least!

storynanny Sat 16-Feb-13 21:56:01

Those of you on this thread who have read my posts might be interested to hear about my conversation on the phone with my resistant eater son ( now aged 21 and in last year of university)
"Did you have a good evening out last night?"
"Yep, ended up having a curry"
"What, with rice and everything?"
"Yep, it was ok"
It has taken 21 years and 4 months to reach this point, I'm so excited.
He actually has tried rice and curry!
I think I might be,I've he is (almost) a normal eater.
Take heart all of you.

storynanny Sat 16-Feb-13 21:56:31

Believe that is not be,I've

storynanny Sat 16-Feb-13 21:57:08

I actually am going to ring my parents and my best friends to tell them!

jussey17 Tue 19-Feb-13 19:35:18

I hope this thread is still active enough for seeking advice. My 3 year old has been viewed eating a meal by the HV and we are now to have a full developmental assessment, the start of a World of pain I fear. I don't think we are in phobia territory and instead control is the issue, but he has only gained 2lbs in 15 months. realistically what can the HV do next? We have been following the low stress no snacks approach for about 6 weeks on HV advice and ds now eating less than ever, he is definitely "starving himself" and is getting thinner by the day (as I get fatter from all the stress) . Any thoughts advice, help would be very gratefully received.

ZimboMum Fri 08-Mar-13 20:31:53

Hi jussey, I'm sorry that I don't have any help to offer, but I worry about my son's eating too. Bumping for someone more knowledgeable.

ConstantCraving Fri 08-Mar-13 21:45:06

Hi Jussey, it may be best to reinstate snacks. if you have a truly resistant eater its important to avoid battles about food and get them to enjoy eating - even if that is 'junk' food. Your DS sounds like he needs the calories, so go for whatever he will eat to get past this inital impasse. This site is really good and the fact sheet may help you HV understand the difference between fussy eaters and children who have a real resistance here. My DD is a resistant eater and has been since around 18 months. Prior to that she ate brilliantly. She is slowly improving - but it is very stressful and a very slow process. Good luck.

mrswoz Sun 31-Mar-13 02:59:30

Thank feck I found this thread! Have only managed to read half of it but will be back for the rest tomorrow.

Waiting for paediatric appointment, after my insistence that the gp referred DD, just turned 4. If I hear children will not starve themselves one more time I may possibly explode!! No my child wouldn't starve because I believe it would be neglectful of me not to provide her with enough calories. DH and I disagree on a few points as well which is not useful considering I do all but 3 meals a week without him there.

It is affecting every aspect of our family life, and now DD2 has just hit 6 months and starting weaning, I am worried history may repeat itself sad

Interesting to see a lot of you mention problems from around 18 months of age, and also issues with sauces, wet foods and textures.

DD catches every virus going, sleep and general behaviour are terrible, purple under her eyes, dry skin, on 50th for weight, 9th for height, caused bad toileting issues, yet I've been told by gp and health visitor for nearly 2 years that this is all fine. Desperate. She starts school in September.

pollypandemonium Sun 31-Mar-13 03:14:30

18 months is when human beings develop an understanding of what is poisonous and what is safe to eat. This is the reason things can get very out of hand at this age and confusion can arise which may then turn into a bigger problem. They need to be able to touch, smell and taste foods and feel safe about it at the same time. The sense of smell is almost MORE important than what they taste and feel in their mouths so I would recommend providing foods that they can smell when they're cooking. Try to get them to smell the food first as it will give them an appetite.

Always eat with them to demonstrate that the food is safe and stay relaxed. Your tension will be picked up and then misinterpreted that the food is a problem or 'not safe'. Trust that if they don't like something there is a very big reason in their minds why they don't like it and it's probably because they don't think the food is safe to eat. Don't force it on them - you have to get them to like it by themselves and that's where the smell thing comes into it.

Toileting issues are often connected with eating problems when a child develops with an unclear association of clean and dirty. This is where messy play comes into good use. They need to get their hands dirty and learn that their hands can get dirty but they will be safe. It is difficult for them to be able to distinguish between safe dirt and dirty dirt, so that's where I advocate using cutlery. Apart from being sensible it ensures they know that what is going in their mouths is not associated with the mucky stuff they get on their hands when they play in the mud and that's where the toileting connection comes in. Children need to know that they can get dirty but can get clean again.

ConstantCraving Sun 31-Mar-13 20:53:29

Just dipping in to say I'm glad this thread is still going - because i still need it. DD 3.5, is still resistant as ever. Finding the tantrums when her blood sugar drops hard to deal with, and keeping calm is a challenge. The only thing she reliably eats is fromage frais - wouldn't even eat an easter egg!!

VikingLady Tue 02-Apr-13 20:41:01

mummy2benji is he getting enough calcium and vitamin d/sunlight? That is a common cause of brittle nails.

I know very little about infant food refusal, but adult anorexia as an aspect of mental illness seems pretty similar - from just reading this thread and looking at DD (13m), who looks like she may be heading down this route...

ClosedAuraOpenMind Sat 27-Apr-13 22:17:50

Hello.....can I join.....DD is 2.3 and it feels like all I know she'll eat is yoghurt, baked beans , toast and chocolate. She usually eats fish pie but most other things just get pushed aside..... she's still under the care if our local sick kids hospital, as she had surgery just after birth. They're now referring her to a dietician cos she's so small (0.4th centile for weight and just below it for height)
She eats ok at nursery, just not for me. Feel like I'm failing to feed her, but trying hard not to show her how stressed I am about it.

mummy2benji Sat 27-Apr-13 22:38:34

VikingLady sorry I only just saw your post - ds1 saw the dietician recently and we now have a very helpful chart telling me how much calcium is in everything and how much he needs to be having a day. With a combination of milk and yoghurt I think we are achieving that now. Thanks for commenting.

Welcome Closed! Dietician is a good idea, I hope they are helpful. The first dietician I saw with ds1 years ago was a bit useless - she pointed out lots of good foods that would improve his diet. That would have been great if I'd been able to get him to allow any near his mouth, which was the problem in the first place with his food phobia. Recently we saw a dietician who was much more helpful though.

Ds1 is making slow but significant progress - he is now 4 1/2. Until a few months ago and starting school he hadn't made any progress for a long time and pretty much lived off sausages, chicken nuggets and yoghurt. And chocolate. I tried a 'just give it a lick' approach to new foods and didn't try to make him eat them. Initially he wouldn't even tolerate a new food on his plate and had hysterics, then he got used to peas for eg. sitting on his plate and although he would announce "I'm not eating those" he would at least allow their presence. I made him laugh by pretending to make them talk. After a while he agreed to lick one, although he wouldn't eat it. I praised him and left it at that. Very recently though he has started to eat raw carrot sticks with this same approach - as in, a VEGETABLE. I cannot tell you what a miracle this is! Wherever you are at with your dc's eating please don't lose hope - if my ds1 will eat carrot, ANYTHING is possible, given time, internal stress and a LOT of patience....

ClosedAuraOpenMind Sun 28-Apr-13 17:25:21

Hello mummy2benji..... Good to know there is hope if you have got DS to eat carrot sticks. And also nice to feel a little less alone, every other child I know seems to happily eat whatever is put in front of them.

And yes part of me thinks a dietician could be helpful.....part of me fears they will just tell me to give DD more meat and veg. I guess we will see.

mummy2benji Sun 28-Apr-13 19:40:05

There is a good book called "Just take a bite" that you might find helpful - covers everything from fussy eaters to food phobias and how to deal with it. I found it good - they sell it on Amazon.

ConstantCraving Sun 28-Apr-13 20:35:09

I'm back sad. Glad things are improving with your DS mummy2Benji - I'll be buying that book. DD has regressed since her pasta improvement - it is back off the menu and she is down to fromage frais, toast (good, multi-seed bread), occasional hummous and bread stick, occasional fishfingers and sweetcon, oatibix, croissants - and (thank god) my home made carrot, banana and honey muffins.

storynanny Sun 28-Apr-13 21:16:03

Still following this thread and feeling for you allxxxx you will get through it and come out the other end with experience to pass on to others in need. As you will know, my resistant eater is now approaching 22 and as well as the curry night out a couple of months ago, he has been abroad with uni friends for the first time without family and managed to eat some Spanish food, a true miracle.

ClosedAuraOpenMind Sun 28-Apr-13 22:19:48

Will check out that book, thanks for the tip. A mixed day today.....lunch was, by DDs standards relatively successful.....a rare meal out and she ate most of an individual garlic bread, dairylea Dunkers and half a small box of raisins. Dinner not good though....she refused point blank to eat chicken pie, baked beans toast and then cereal. After an hour or so she ate 5 little fromage frais. I know I probably shouldn't keep offering her alternatives, but she's so tiny I don't feel I can just let her have nothing. Still has boundless energy though!!
Off to HV for 2 yr check up tomorrow so will see if they have any bright ideas

tricot39 Mon 27-May-13 21:16:48

Oh my giddy aunt! I can't believe this thread is still going. I have been off mumsnet for ages but have thought of this one often! We have had interesting times but little real progress. I will be ba k tomorrow with an update.

ConstantCraving Tue 28-May-13 20:41:18

Hi Tricot, I just posted on another thread about fussy eaters, quoting some wisdom gained on here. Will link them to this one. Will be interested to see how you're getting on. I've been up and down - 1 step forward, 3 back and am in roughly the same place I was at the beginning of the thread! Have been hugely cheered by the wisdom of those on here who have been through similar and come out the other end.

mummy2benji Wed 29-May-13 20:17:38

Oh yes look forward to an update tricot

Sorry I didn't see your last post closed or I would have replied. Hope you have had some improvement. Constant I also find it a case of progression and regression. Ds1 will now nibble on a small carrot stick though, which really is enormous progress. I have never been able to get any vegetable down his neck in any form up until this. I am struggling to find time and motivation to work at ds1's diet and try new things, as I am now weaning dd2. hmm I really am desperate for her to be a good eater but she is currently up and down (she's just over 7mo). She doesn't have a medical reason to be a resistant eater, like ds1, so I have to keep reminding myself there is no reason why she shouldn't be fine with eating. I just have to appear calm and relaxed about it all! hmm

ConstantCraving Wed 29-May-13 21:22:02

Mummy sorry to say my DD had no medical reason - although she did have silent reflux which persisted for a long time. Carrot sticks is progress - a vegetable! DD will only have sweetcorn. Will try carrot sticks again - haven't offered them for a while. I fall into serving the same old meals that I know she'll eat and forget to offer new stuff. Must try again.

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