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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?

Primrose123 Sat 10-Nov-12 15:38:39

Can I tell you about my DD? She is 15, and is a normal happy bright girl. She has no major health issues or special needs at all. I have a second DD who eats most things and loves her food!

DD1 never liked eating. I wanted to breast feed but couldn't, so she was FF. She loved her bottles of milk, although had a problem with projectile vomiting for a while. When I started weaning her (at 16 weeks as recommended at the time) she just wasn't interested and spat everything out. I tried home made purées and jars, but the only thing she seemed to enjoy was powdered baby food <yuk> that came free in my bounty pack. Even then she would only eat a few spoonfuls a day. She eventually would eat jars of baby food (nothing home-made!) but never ate lumpy baby food. At 2 years old she would only eat the jars of food without lumps.

We have always offered her our food to try, and by the time she started school she would eat 'proper' food, but very small amounts, and only a few familiar foods. She would never have eaten school dinners for example.

I mentioned it to doctors and health visitors, but because she was otherwise healthy, although skinny, they weren't worried.

She just is fussy. It seems to be more texture rather than taste, for example, she will eat a poached egg, but will cut all the white off (it's slimy) and just eat the yolk. Someone mentioned peas and sweetcorn on this thread - she will eat them separately, if they are mixed, she will sort them and then eat them.

She eats toast, marmite, one breakfast cereal only, pasta with butter, fish in batter, sausages (specific brand), chicken nuggets, chips (only sometimes), lasagne, pasta with sauce (no lumps!), potatoes (boiled or mashed), tinned pasta and sausages (Heinz only, this is her favourite, she would quite happily eat this and nothing else!) roast dinner with some vegetables, plain pizza, scrambled eggs, paté, and I think that's about it. She also loves very salty food, so I have to limit the amount of salt she adds to her food. We try and eat quite healthily, so don't really want to eat her type of food!

She eats very few vegetables, no fruit except apples (I have never met anyone else who doesn't like any fruit), no salad. If we have a Chinese meal she will eat plain rice, prawn crackers, prawn toast, and chicken balls with no sauce. If we have an Indian meal, she has chicken and chips, and doesn't really enjoy it much. She did try some dry chicken tikka a few weeks ago, and quite liked it! Hooray!

She only drinks water, and some squashes, but hates fizzy drinks. That's one good thing about her being fussy!

We have just learned to get on with it, it is just the way she is. She is getting a little better as she gets older, but it is very slow progress. Incidentally, she was very shy when she was little, and hated mother and toddler groups etc. She is still a little shy and quiet, but enjoys school, has plenty of friends, and is generally happy.

Sorry, this is quite long, but I hope it's helpful to those of you with younger children.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 18:30:04

So glad I found this thread. I have two DD's aged 3 and 15months. DD 2 is the baby and eats anything and everything you put in front of her. DD1 has a very strict list of things she will eat and things often drop out of favour. This week she will eat plain pasta(can no longer tolerate it having any tomato sauce on it even though that's what she lived on for months). Macaroni cheese, one brand of cereal that she eats dry without milk. One type of yoghurt must have no lumps in it and can only be strawberry or vanilla. Poached salmon, plain rice, chips or small oven potatoes,pancakes, carrots-crunchy not cooked, broad beans, toast with butter or peanut butter and jam and sometimes roast chicken and sausages. Oh and she would quite happily live off baked beans. She is always hungry and eats a lot of apples, grapes, and bananas. Having written it down It doesn't look soo bad but she will never ever eat out of the elite selection. So play dates at others houses are often embarrassing as she turns down most foods, no nuggets or fish fingers for her! And there is no way on earth I could get her to try a sandwich.She does eat healthily I am aware of that but it is soo boring making the same food for her over and over.
I worry about her protein intake because she eats such little meat and I too have had the insensitive 'friend' tell me I am giving in to her and letting her 'win' by only giving her food I know she will eat. I think that attitude stinks but does anyone else think maybe there is some truth to it? I have tried everything, reward charts, treats as incentives to eat, yoghurt if she eats no yoghurt if she doesn't but to no avail. She can be incredibly headstrong and will happily last the day without eating anything. So I make sure to give her foods I know she will eat and limit the crap.
I am scared it will continue and am dreading her going to school and am worried she just won't eat all day because it's not the right food. I have not seen anyone about this. She is slender but not a sickly child and I suppose I am worried I may get a scolding for not addressing it but to be honest she isn't ill and on the other hand they may think I'm overreacting.
Feels great to find others in the same situation and whilst I am aware things could be worse if isn't half wearing me down.

cantmakecarrotcake Sat 10-Nov-12 18:54:06

This is a really interesting thread, my DD is 21 months and I think will turn into your 4 yr old, OP.

We struggled to wean, never moved onto lumpy baby food or anything home-made. Her range of foods is limited and she will go hungry rather than eat something she doesn't like / can't eat (wet foods). We've tested this at nursery and she's refused their lunches for weeks now (usually replaced by a cheese sandwich).

She's dropped off the height curve altogether and is dropping on the weight curve. We're seeing a paediatrician and have had a dietician do a report of her food diary. She's getting about 80% of her calories and most of her nutrients (after supplementing - her iron was low previously) except Vit D (which is hard in diet anyway).

It's a relief to find a thread which doesn't have any 'she'll eat when she's hungry' answers - thank you OP, I totally know where you're coming from - because they don't do they.

I'm interested in that book, I think we'll order it for when she'll be open to the 'just one bite' concept.

Per the earlier conversation. DD was a EMC after a (5-day) failed induction (stressful? Yes, very) but I think it's more a genetic thing as DH and MIL were poor eaters too. She also hates the toothbrush (similar reaction to the early days with a spoon). Developmentally she's on the average side of average (ifyswim), is generally sociable but a little shy.

I shall be reading in the hope of getting some tips (and some solidarity for those bad meal times!)

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sat 10-Nov-12 19:04:46

Hi Doneinagain. So your daughter eats about sixteen things. It's great that she is eating quite healthily. Peanut butter and salmon are great for protein as are baked beans, sausages and roast chicken. Those are great positives - we have to look for them anywhere we can grin. Also, I tend to take food with me for play dates as it means its stress free for both me and DS.

Ah, helpful friends. Don't you just love them? Just the other day a colleague of mine was saying try to make it fun and I was thinking, yes, you try make it fun after four years! I think some children are just like this, it's internalised and no matter what you try, they will only eat what they want to eat. Rewards, sanctions etc don't work with them. Sticker chart made no difference. Classic example: ask a eating friend round for tea and they may copy. Nope. It does not work with him. I can't do the whole you're not going to get anything else thing because of low blood sugar issues but I reckon it would not work either.

The thing is you are doing your best in extremely trying and stressful circumstances. It's one of most fundamentally basic thing that you do as a parent - provide food so that your child thrives, and when they don't eat, you (at least, I) feel such a failure. It's very stressful and parents who have not been here just don't cannot be expected to understand.

ImNotCute Sat 10-Nov-12 19:28:56

It's reassuring to see posts from other mums with similar dcs. Dd eats mostly carbs and dairy. It's a real struggle to get any fruit or veg into her at all so I'm actually quite jealous of those on here saying there are at least a couple of fruit/ veg their dcs eat!

Dd is definitely a sensitive child generally, having recently weaned dc2 this was completely different and makes we realise how early and deep rooted dds issues were.

doneinagain- I wouldn't panic too much about starting school. Dd started this sept. Just opt for packed lunches and send the same thing every day if you have to. Dd takes a cream cheese sandwich, yoghurt and a chocolate brownie (which she doesn't know has hidden grated veg in, hee hee. The recipe is from mumsnet recipe section). Fruit is offered to all the kids as a morning snack but she says 'no thanks' and that's fine.

I've never sought any outside help with dds eating. This thread is making me wonder if I should. We've just struggled on with it ourselves, hoping it would pass. She is doing ok but is a little pale and prone to constipation.

chocolateygoo Sat 10-Nov-12 19:48:30

So glad to find this thread.

DS aged 2.5 eats only dry carbs, yoghurts, fruit purees, and anything 'bad' (cake, crisps!). He won't eat any hot food at all, not even 'bad' stuff like pizza or chips. He typically has breakfast cereal two meals a day, and then crackers with butter, yoghurt and a fruit puree for dinner. I'll include cake, biscuits and crisps every now and then for variety. I cook 'good' meals and we all eat together as a family. Makes no difference.

He has never liked touching 'wet' things, so would never touch e.g. banana right from 6 months old. He only just is ok with touching playdough and painting, but gets very upset if any goes on his hands and wants them washed immediately.

He is also very shy, sensitive, sweet and gentle. He has a speech delay and we're seeing a SALT.

I was a fussy eater as a child, and spend a lot of the time thinking it must be my fault he's like this.

For those seeing dieticians, did you get referred or are you going privately? Do you think its helpful?

What vitamin supplements are people using and why?

Thanks for the book reference OP, looks like it might be worth a read.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sat 10-Nov-12 20:21:55

I'mnotcute has your DD had her iron levels checked as eating a lot of dairy affects the absorption of iron? It may be worth doing especially if she has any other symptoms of anaemia. It does also effect appetite. Not sure what to suggest about constipation. Have you talked to your GP about it?

I will be very honest and say that I found the whole dietician, paediatrician thing a big letdown. There was a lot of answering questions and very little back in terms of constructive concrete practical advice.

School - DS has to have school dinners where he goes - its not an option! On the one hand I pay a lot for him to eat a piece of bread (apparently that is all he eats) but on the other hand I don't have to worry about uneaten packed lunch and it saves me stress and time in the morning. Yay!

tricot39 Sat 10-Nov-12 20:38:26

Hi everyone! smile

chocolatey i cant paste it in from my phone but i stuck my supplements list in a post above. I got the list off a mumsnet thread and mainly opted for liquids as he has to have it hidden in a smoothie - he wouldnt eat a gummy bear type thing. Your ds.sounds exactly like mine. My ds has never eaten what i would consider a normal meal presented in a normal way. The phobia about wet lumpy food has been there from the beginning. It is so wearing!

We saw nhs salt (self referred) and the gp sent us to a dietician who then referred us to a special eating section of nhs salt provision. We also saw a private paed. There is a lot of hand holding and we have been assured that there is no sinister underlying problem but they cant do anything. It is up to ds. I find that the worst bit is going along to see someone and having to go..thro it all in front of him again (when they advise not talking about it in front of him confused) so the best stuff we have had is out of that book (albeit that there is so much in there it is difficult to identify which bits are relevant).

Interesting that there are several posts mentioning: shy, cautious, not liking mess, not liking lumps, resistant from weaning (or before), concerns.about asd, dislike of wet foods. We have issues with mixed textures.

It has taken too long but i dont think that there is any point tackling things head on. He responds much better to subtler tactics and sideways suggestions! I think he might like to have food demystified by learning about it and getting to know what a healthy diet should be. He can then decide what to make of it all!

cantmakecarrotcake Sat 10-Nov-12 20:42:09

Chocolateygoo, after DD dropped on her centiles the HV recommended we see the GP who referred us to the paediatrician (we have BUPA, so probably it was quicker than usual) who then requested the dietician report. DD had blood tests to rule out coeliac, thyroid etc (all fine). She did have low iron though (didn't eat red meat or green veg) so we started the Wellkid supplement.

We have a follow-up appointment with the paediatrician a week on Monday so we'll see what the next steps are. He did say he knows a child psychologist who specialises in 'selective/fussy eaters' so perhaps we'll get to see her (we'll have to pay for that I suspect).

I'd like to understand exactly what her issues are and how best to approach introducing new foods. The 'just one bite' looks good in that respect. I've ordered a copy.

cantmakecarrotcake Sat 10-Nov-12 20:45:43

I meant to mention DD doesn't like mess. We were painting today and she made me wipe off every little bit of paint she got on her hands as we went. Perhaps more messy play would help - last time we did that corn flour / water thing she just dipped one hand in.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 21:04:27

Hello everyone so nice to hear from you all so quickly! Yy to not liking mess. My Dd wails if she gets any messy food on her fingers or on the table and needs its wiped straight away before she can carry on. I have tried explaining it's alright to have a little mess especially when she seems stuck on picking up her toast in case she gets jam on her fingers grin you couldn't make it up!
We also have to separate her foods on the plate....she eats her fish first,then her rice and won't entertain them touching or anywhere near each other. She stopped eating her pasta with sauce because I kid you not 'mummy it has sauce on it????(despite asking me for sauce!!!)
From about 18 months she too also became very sensitive to too much noise, would lash out when all her cousins came over from feeling overwhelmed. On the other hand is really affectionate to her Dsis but seems to be irritable and lashes out in frustration and anger a lot.
Why does it have to make us all feel like such failuressad I am such a foodie and love cooking for the babies so its especially niggling that she doesn't Hoover everything up like that.
Thanks for the reassurance that we can just get on with it....and other people just get in the way don't they?
Also some posters have mention SALT what is that?

mawbroon Sat 10-Nov-12 21:07:18

Am finding this thread intersting. DS1 is 7yo and has gone through exceptionally fussy phases. I did EBF until 6months then BLW and at first, he wolfed down anything that we gave him, and lot of it. He gained weight really rapidly and climbed up the centiles that he had slipped during the first few months.

Then, when he was a bit older, around 18months maybe, one by one he started dropping foods until there weren't many options left. He was also allergic to egg and intolerant to dairy, so there were also dietary restrictions.

When he was 5, he started suffering from reflux. Or rather, when he was 5, he was able to verbalise that he was suffering from pain in his chest and stomach and we realised it was reflux. Looking back, I suspect he had suffered it for a lot longer than we knew about.

He was put on medication which didn't really help and I decided to let him lead the way with what he wanted to eat. He had also at this point started taking a few mouthfuls then saying he was full and refusing to eat any more. His diet consisted of soft sloppy stuff like yogurt, custard, soft sandwiches like peanut butter etc and there was no way he could be persuaded to eat anything else.

Then, just before he was 6, I realised he was tongue tied. We had his tie revised and the reflux disappeared. His eating got a little better, but since we had it revised properly in September (the first one wasn't done right) and now the back of his tongue is fully released, he is willing to try lots and lots of different foods.

I have since learned an awful lot about tongue tie and understand that fussy eating can be a big part of it. It is difficult to chew properly and control the food in the mouth when the tongue doesn't have it's full range of movement. DS1 had a little pocket between two strands of his frenulum where he said food used to get caught which he hated. He said certain foods stuck to his teeth, and he was probably not able to sweep his tongue round to get it off. Certain foods made him gag, even when he was older. It tended to be slimy/stringy stuff like squash.

Whilst I don't think for a minute that everyone on this thread has DCs with tongue tie, there are certain things that have been mentioned several times which DS1 had/did or that are common amongst tied kids.

They are:

breastfeeding issues, trouble with weaning - eg choking, gagging, vomiting, sleeping issues, ENT problems, digestive issues and allergy/intolerance, sensory issues, intense dislike of toothbrushing (that's more kids with lip ties, but it's very rare to have a lip tie and no tongue tie), speech problems or speech delay, reflux, high palate and associated dental problems to name a few.

Thing about tongue tie is that unless it's totally obvious, most medics wouldn't know a tongue tie if they saw it and lip ties are dismissed as not important. That's why ds1 went undiagnosed until he was almost 6, and in the end it was me that did all the digging for information.

cantmakecarrotcake Sat 10-Nov-12 21:16:21

SALT is speech and language therapy - chewing/moving food around in the mouth and speaking use the same muscles so eating issues can be associated with speech delays.

DD's speech is mediocre (pronunciation isn't great but she tries) but at about the same level as walking etc so I think she's ok. The paediatrician asked about it so I think he's keeping an eye.

Messy stuff I'm a bit concerned about. I'm worried I've fussed about mess (there was so much I'd it), but if you'd seen the photos of weaning days you wouldn't think there was an issue!

ImNotCute Sat 10-Nov-12 21:58:01

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA I've seen gp about the constipation but not had iron levels checked. She's mostly very well so I'd be reluctant to put her through any blood tests but will see if I can find a way to get some more iron in just in case it's on the low side, thanks.

StandYourGround Sat 10-Nov-12 22:38:58

Wow! I'm glad to have found this thread too!

Dd had a varied range of foods before 18 months old, but reduced them, it seemed, almost overnight. Lots of stress for me and dh, watching her lose weight, her growth slowing down sad and several times we got to the 'if this goes on for another 3 days, we go to the GP' but I'm relieved to say her appetite always perked up in time, even if the range of foods stayed tiny.

I would be embarrassed to post dd's list of eatable's, it's a bit short on protein but only slightly, we have always given supplements too. She is 6 now and definitely less afraid of food - we have done our best to relax about it, although at times I was worried sick.

We did try the 'tough' approach (well okay dh nagged me into it) and as a result I can absolutely affirm that NO she will not eat it when she gets hungry and YES actually she will starve herself. sad It was a short lived experiment and never repeated, thank heavens.

In the past year dd has started trying: garlic bread, naan bread, hot chocolate / ovaltine, peanuts, cashew nuts.

Yesterday she had some of my nibbles, raisins and a breadstick - she hasn't eaten either of those things for almost 4 years!

If dd ever ate pasta I think I would be fecking astounded ecstatic!

judeb69 Sat 10-Nov-12 22:46:55

I'm not sure my ds2 qualifies as a resistant eater but at one point I thought he would literally only eat yorkshire pudding, chocolate and bananas when he was about 3. He ate much less than ds1 who I had regarded as a picky eater but started eating normally again once was 5. As I assumed it was just a phase for ds2 despite mealtimes being rubbish and the period lengtehning out, I never sought help. Ds2 is now up to about 10 foods (aged nearly 6) predominantly clearly identifiable foods and only in certain forms, certainly no sauces, casseroles etc or we get the gagging type reflex.

What struck me though is my ds2 spent nearly 3 months in hospital from being a newborn having a number of gastro-intestinal surgeries due to a blockage. Maybe there's something to the early trauma idea, even if it doesn;t go as far as being fully resistant.

Thankyou for sharing that link, I will take a look as it might help us.

Good luck with your journey x

ScreamandShout Sat 10-Nov-12 22:48:34

Interesting that there are several posts mentioning: shy, cautious, not liking mess, not liking lumps, resistant from weaning (or before), concerns.about asd, dislike of wet foods. We have issues with mixed textures.

Yes, it is very interesting. DS hated playgroups, didn't want to join in singing, he only ate yogurt for 4 months from the age of 6 months (seriously, rejected everything else) still hates getting messy (gets upset and needs his hands to be cleaned straight away), has social interaction issues (paed refused to be pinned down on asd) likes dry food only (although I can occasionally persuade him to have milk with cereal) but cant do certain textures like rice.

For those seeing dieticians, did you get referred or are you going privately? Do you think its helpful?

DS lost a lot of weight, dropped on his centile after a particularly bad bout of flu and this triggered an automatic referral to the dietician. We saw her within 2 weeks. As previously stated, I did not find it practically helpful but it was good for me to talk about my anxieties re DS (free therapy! grin)

mawbroon thank you for the information about tied tongue. Interesting, my DS has a lot of those same concerns inc reflux.

What vitamin supplements are people using and why? Dalivit, as its the only he likes. It's an over the counter product but I persuaded the GP to have it on repeat prescription. I am interested about iron though. DS was on iron but he got terrible tummy pain and constipation so we stopped it. Tricot, the iron that you give to DD, does it cause any side effects such as constipation? I have to be honest and say that DS's volume of eating went up on iron. This thread has reminded me that I need to go back to the GP and ask about iron again.

Imnotcute It was just a thumb prick test. DS was very brave!

Sagelynodding Sat 10-Nov-12 22:53:23

I have one of these too. <sigh>

He is nearly 5 and mealtimes/feeding have always been difficult.
Reflux, sensitivity, shyness, texture issues-yy to all of those things. He eats foods separately and in order of 'niceness'-ie sausage before pasta (plain) before carrot sticks. He is frightened of trying new foods, although I can see that he wants to sad

We are just coming to the end of a 2 week half term holiday and it has been a struggle to come up with varied meals. (At school they have to have school dinners, no flexibility, so DS gets through his school day on practically nothing)

I have spoken to paediatricians, health visitors, a specialised childhood eating disorders nurse in the past, but not got anywhere really.

Taking a huuuge step back has helped matters a bit. No pressure most of the time no comments, making food he will eat.

I was a resistant eater until puberty (then I got fat, then I got it sorted).
My Dad, from what I hear was very 'difficult' too.
Genetic link??

My other DS eats like a horse.

ScreamandShout Sat 10-Nov-12 22:56:35

If dd ever ate pasta I think I would be...ecstatic!

SYG, I am glad that she is eating more and trying new foods. That's great news. I know what you mean if they would only eat certain foods. I would be happy if DS ate cheese and rice. smile

One thing that the dietician said which I did find it useful was, just give him whatever he wants, even if its icecream 3 times a day because when children are like this, the main thing is to get whatever nutrients in them. I know its obvious but I guess it gave me validation because actually I was giving him ice cream two times a day every day because of its fat content! blush

ScreamandShout Sat 10-Nov-12 23:01:01

By the way, for reasons unknown to me (maybe using different computers?) I've managed to namechange. I'm PopMusic btw. confused

inadreamworld Sat 10-Nov-12 23:22:59

Hi - My DD is a healthy 19 month old and is not underweight. However up until she was about 15 months she would only eat baby puree (ie the stuff you give four month olds). Not even the lumpier stuff. Thankfully she will now eat more normal (ie not pureed) food but exists at the moment on bread, cheese spread, bananas, fruit puree (still will not chew some fruits so have to give her the puree), yoghurt, baby crisps and milk (I give her toddler formula as want to give her extra vitamins - I also give her vitamin drops). Very occasionally she will take a bite of something else eg an egg sandwich or a pizza but will only eat a few bites before making a horrible face and refusing the rest!! I haven't been worried up until now because I was a bit fussy myself as a baby my Mum says - but I think she is worse than I was, also she is starting to refuse things she used to eat like her baby porridge. Her speech is fine for her age (over 20 words) and she is bright and active and has no other special needs except is a very late walker (still not walking though the paediatrician can find nothing wrong with her and says not to worry until she is two). Not sure i have been much help to you OP but thought I would share.

MissChristmastRee Sat 10-Nov-12 23:23:06

<peeks in cautiously>

I've often wanted to ask about eating issues on MN but our fussy eater is 7yr old DSS. I can never quite explain his eating issues without sounding like I'm bashing his Mum but I honestly do think that a lot of his "food fear" as we call it is partially to do with his Mum's eating disorder.

He was a good eater (according to DP) up until he was about 2.5 when they split. DP used to do all the cooking as he is a qualified chef (although he hasn't worked in the field for a very long time).

It wasn't an amicable split and he fought tooth and nail for a year to get access to DSS and didn't see him for the whole if that year, by which point the damage had been done wrt DSS's eating.

He only eats the following:

Breakfast: rice crispies or white toast with Nutella.

Lunch: ham or cheese sandwiches, ready salted or cheese & onion crisps.

Dinner: chicken nuggets, waffles, chips, roast (chicken, broccoli, roast potato, Yorkshire puddings), raw carrot, cucumber or pizza.

Snacks: yoghurt, cheese strings, crisps.

Anything else you put in front of him he will point blank refuse to try, claims he doesn't like it (even if we know he hasn't tried it), will lie about having tried it and if by some miracle we do manage to get him to try it, he will either gag on, spit it out or claim its disgusting without actually having tasted it properly.

Now, the difficult part for me is explaining why he's like this. Please bear with me, I'm not intentionally bashing his Mums parenting skills but even she admits its possibly why he's like this (but refuses to work with us to try and change his diet).

She has been anorexic in the past. She lives on chips, broccoli and gravy for dinner every night. She has stood over him since he was a toddler claiming "you won't like that" before he's tried things. Serves him up chicken nuggets, waffles or pizza for dinner every night (except Sundays when he gets a roast if he's with her).

It's incredibly frustrating because we now have a 10 month old DD and I'd like for us to all eat together when he's with us without the tantrums and drama. I do realise that what we feed her during the week will try and help stop her picking up on his habits.

Please don't flame me, I know MN isn't all that keen on step-parents sad

StuntNun Sun 11-Nov-12 00:06:44

I didn't even know there was a name for this but my two DSs are resistant eaters for sure, especially DS1 who has ADHD and Aspergers. I couldn't describe them as fussy eaters because they do enjoy foods, within certain groups but they are difficult to feed, short, skinny and have both been referred to dietitians at some point.

Anyway there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have had great success with desensitisation. It takes time and patience but it is so rewarding when your child voluntarily eats something that would have made him gag and have to spit out.

My DS1 (9) couldn't eat mushrooms (DS2 [6] still can't but we are working on him!) I tackled this by putting one mushroom on his plate. He was encouraged to try it with the reward of one star on his chart for trying everything on his plate - the other foods would all be 'acceptable' ones. Any attempt to try it was praised. Eventually he got to the point where he could choke it down for two stars for eating everything on his plate. In my mind this was problem solved, he could eat it with sufficient motivation. But it didn't stop there, he started to enjoy mushrooms if they were prepared in a certain way in the microwave. Now he is branching out into just liking mushrooms! The other day I put button mushrooms into bolognese (the bolognese must not touch the pasta but that's another battle). He complained because he had picked all the mushrooms out and eaten them and he wanted more!

The process takes years, patience, and making mealtimes pleasant for them but I have to say I'm amazed at how well desensitisation works. My DS1 still has food issues but we are steadily overcoming them. I can give other examples but I just want to illustrate that there is a way out and it really does work.

Primrose123 Sun 11-Nov-12 00:18:26

It's interesting to read the other things that some of these children have in common. My DD, who is 15, hated mother and toddler groups and took a while to settle at school. She was shy and was bullied in primary school, but is now happy in secondary school. We had no problems with speech delay, in fact quite the opposite. She seemed to talk, walk, read, and do everything early, except eat! I think she had reflux as a baby, and suffered from IBS in primary school. I have only recently realised that she must have a tongue tie, as she can't poke her tongue out at all.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sun 11-Nov-12 08:16:06

MissChristmas I understand your frustration and worry about your DSS and also the influence it may have on your DD.

As a step parent myself, I wouldn't flame you. I don't think there is any point in blaming the mum though. What's done is done, maybe you need to draw a line under it (BTW, as an aside I make it a rule not to criticise the mum to DP at all, no matter how unreasonable she is being - it's their business not mine).

Instead, I would concentrate instead on what you can do for your DSS now. As others have said, it's best to back right off about the eating. Give him what he wants because its important that he eats, no matter what. And if you only generally see him at the weekends, why can't you all eat what he eats for an evening meal eg roast dinner or pizza etc and you just have salad etc as an extra? That should ease the drama straight away. I am going to investigate the desensitising further and maybe it's something you can introduce too? Try to get the mum involved too.

Sorry if I sound a bit abrupt, I have had a long night with a boy who is very ill and wanted to be my duvet by sleeping on me -ugh. I seriously need to go back to bed.

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