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Does anyone know anything about selective eating in toddlers?

(8 Posts)
limassol Tue 26-Aug-08 17:01:41

My dd is nearly 4 and has always been a fussy eater, but lately her eating behaviour is becoming very challenging. She will basically only eat a handful of foods, namely bread/toast, cheese, wafer thin ham, apples, bananas, clemantines,occasionally an egg. Anything else we give her she refuses to eat. Occasionally she will try a tiny bit of something else(if the incentive is strong enough)but then she gags and is nearly sick then spits out the food. We took her to see the health visitor who didn't really give us any advice except that maybe she has a small gullet, which we think is ridiculous. She has no trouble eating the food she loves, and she would happily eat chocolate, cake and crisps until the cows come home if we let her (which we don't by the way!)
I recently saw a documentary about food phobia in which a psychologist specialising in child food problems said that the best thing to do is give the child what he/she wants and gradually introduce new foods. I have tried this for a few weeks and my dd is happily eating just bread and cheese for every meal. It just feels terrible and it is getting me down.
I took her to see the doctor who said she will grow out of it and not to worry because she is a healthy weight.
I just feel I am getting so much conflicting advice, jamie oliver is telling us that our children will really suffer if they don't get all thier nutrients and yet the health professionals don't seem to have any advice to help us .
Has anyone out there had a similar experience or can offer any advice?

limassol Tue 26-Aug-08 17:05:45

I forgot to mention that we have done the "offer no alternative" tactic but she would rather starve than eat what is put in front of her. We have all the books on toddler friendly meals to no avail.

BoysAreLikeDogs Tue 26-Aug-08 17:08:24


DS2 has self-limited his food since he was a toddler.

At his worst he ate

Raw carrot sticks
Mashed potato
Plastic Ham

He genuinely could not cope with food touching on his plate, with gravy 'polluting' the food, with the whole shebang.

He would rather go without food for literally days in preference to trying something new.

Over time he has improved to the extent that we have recently

Sucked a piece of bacon
Tolerated a portion of lasagne on his plate
Discovered that Egg fried Rice is rather yummy.

He is 6 now.


pagwatch Tue 26-Aug-08 17:10:25

I can't really offer advice but can only sympathise.
My DS stopped eating normally at about two and within a year had restricted to only 8 foods.
It is almost impossible to get anyone to help you seriously with this. the best thing I can suggest is that you look on the net to find any books you can about fussy eaters.
My personal experience won't help you much as it turned out that my sons restricting was linked to gut damage/MMR and autism.

The things that helped him were giving him incentives to try new foods, hiding foods in things he would eat and just trying not to make meals a battle.

I would recommend though that you get a decent multi vitamin and mineral into him and some EFAs if you possibly can.That will help with any deficiencies.
Good luck

juuule Tue 26-Aug-08 17:13:32

I still have a 15yo who does the same. Very selective about what he eats but fortunately he seems to cover all the food groups. Just seems odd to us when one of his Sunday dinners would consist of Yorkshire puddings and bananas hmm. He has no health problems.

Another ds was the same but grew out of it and ate more conventionally when he reached 14/15.

My sister was similar until she was 21.

My dad has also had 'odd' meals throughout his life. Plus he's also vegetarian. He's a reasonably hale and hearty 76yo and was fit as a fiddle until about 5y ago when he suffered a stroke.

Your dd sounds as though she doesn't have a particularly bad diet. As she gets older she will probably try different things. And as she gets older still and understands the purpose of food she can base her diet on what's good for her.

limassol Tue 26-Aug-08 17:13:39

The foods they like are quite similar aren't they? OMG I have to put up with this for quite a while yet then? I am worried that she is going to make my ds fussy also because he copies everything she does (he is 2), he has been quite a good eater so far. Thanks for the support, it is nice to know there are others in the same boat.

Seeline Tue 26-Aug-08 17:13:39

My DD, now just 4 has always been fairly selective with her eating habits. Much to my dismay, unless it's a full roast dinner (which she demolishes quite happily) she is limited to chicken nuggets, fish fingers and burgers (needless to say I try and give her the best quality ones) She will eat plain pasta, rice and chips. Ocassionally she eats fruit and veg, but rarly. She will eat cereal (but no milk) and toast/bread etc. This is her expanded version which has developed over the last year. She will occassionally now try new foods. She starts school next week - I'm hoping school dinners may sort things out! Things have certainly improved since I stopped getting so stressed about it all. She appears fit and healthy, and although small is not skinny. I hope like you time will help. Good luck.

limassol Tue 26-Aug-08 17:18:04

what are EFA's? do I need a presciption for mineral supplement for a 4 year old?

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