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Advice needed from those in the know re fussy eaters please

(47 Posts)
MilaMae Thu 18-Dec-08 13:29:22

Ie those with the misfortune of having one in their family or somebody medical.

I need some advice on why ds is like this and what to do next.

Ds is one of 2 non identical twins 5 I also have a 4 year old daughter. The other 2 are fantastic eaters,dp and I are real foodies I lived abroad when tiny and was weaned on food from street markets I love any food and enjoy experimenting.

Ds was a nightmare from day 1. He was weaned from the same bowl of homemade food as twin 1. I followed AK so he was bombarded with new flavours. We've never given in and given him alternatives,he's always gone hungry, we've never got stroppy just ignored it and made him just taste it. As far as I can see we've done it by the book. Why then is he the most fussy eater known to man?

He loves fruit,w/m bread,peanut butter,yog,fish fingers,sausages(which he now skins),cereal,milk. I'm getting concerned as he was doing really well but is now rapidly adding things he's always liked to his leaving on the side of the plate list. I'm also concerned he never eats veg and is going to bed hungry night after night having eaten no tea. He will only eat tea if it's sausages or fishfingers which it rarely is. He gets really hungry but refuses to eat things he says he doesn't like. He's at school now so this isn't good.

How do I handle this do I get stroppy or order him to eat it, I exploded over a lamb stew for the 1st time blushand he ate it. I just want to know the right way of handling things so he eats more than a bowl of cereal,peanut butter sandwiches and an apple daily.

Thanks in advance smile

Sidge Thu 18-Dec-08 13:33:56

I think all you can really do is keep offering new foods. Getting cross doesn't usually work and you don't really want him to develop anxiety around eating because he is fearful of you shouting at him.

What he is actually eating is quite varied and healthy so I would keep offering new foods and don't react if he won't eat it, just take it away. Occasionally offer foods you know he likes so he isn't starving, or offer a meal you know he will eat with just one new thing on the plate, rather than a whole new meal.

It will get better - I had the fussiest child in the world but now she is 10 she eats brilliantly and is getting quite adventurous!

sandyballs Thu 18-Dec-08 13:38:51

Sympathies. One of my twin DD's (7) is like this, and she seems to be getting skinnier by the day. Very frustrating to see her twin eating enormous amounts of varied food whilst she pushes hers round the plate and pretends to eat.

So no advice I'm afraid, I'll be watching this thread for some myself.

susia Thu 18-Dec-08 23:12:22

My son who is also five, has been a fussy eater for all his life, he would vomit if he is given something he doesn't like (or thinks he doesn't) and retch at most things. He has had a small range of foods that he will eat, some of them healthy. I used to give him a wide range of foods but in the last year or so have generally cooked him the foods he does like rather than make meals distressing by giving him foods he doesn't.

He has an appointment on the 2nd January to see a paedritican (sorry can't spell it) and later in the month a child psychologist. However, suddenly in the last couple of months things have improved and I am cancelling the appointments! Last night he ate chicken pie and green beans and tonight fishfingers. This evening he said he wanted to try shepards pie! I don't know what has changed but I am really pleased.

If my advice is worth anything, I would say that you should feed him what he wants to eat (within reason). I know that is awkward when you have 2 other children but I think that taking the pressure off mealtimes so that my son knows that mealtimes should be enjoyable rather than a dread of something he thinks he won't like has made him happier around food.

Washersaurus Thu 18-Dec-08 23:20:59

How come you got replies and noone has offered advice to help with DS2 who only eats weetabix? sad (Tis not fair)

MilaMae Sat 20-Dec-08 13:40:23

Many thanks am praying one day he'll morph into a good eater reassuring to see other dc have-just hope I'm not insane by thengrin

butterscotch Sat 27-Dec-08 22:40:05

I'm a terribly fussy eater....when I was a kid i was offered a variety the foods I hate now I loved as a kid, peas, sweetcorn, baked beans mashed veggies of any type, lentils or peas of any variety (however I love houmous can't stand chick peas) for me its a textural thing! Likewise foods I didn't really have as a child I am too scared to try blush prawns only ever had them in prawn toast when pissed and always sick blush all fish i am funny with can't stand smoked fish or sushi all textural based for me!

My DD eats everything because I am such a fussy eater, so I hope to make her a non-fussy eater...

Back to OP question there was a program on about 6months ago called fussy eaters (these were all kids) and they were saying that its better to give them what they like and try to slowly introduce new foods...the bigger the deal the more attention it draws...

If like me it is a textural thing...then you could try things like Salmon Fishfingers....making fishcakes together to eat? FF's are not the worlds worst food in the world....IMHO I give them to my DD at least once a week, some weeks twice {blush}

For my DD I did BLW and I made Cheesey veggie nuggets, so you could try doing something like this and adding small amounts of veggies to them....

Sausages they do beef, turkey, chickens sausages or again homemade same as burgers...I think food has to be for fun imho.

If he eats Baked Beans or Soup you could always add vit drops to if you are concerned about the vitamins etc....or to juice etc..

I wish you luck, I still have real issues trying new foods that have the look or textures that I don't enjoy its weird and probably in my head! I hate the fact that I am such a fussy eater I always feel really blush about it! I remember pretty much going on a food strike when I was about 6 or 7 thats when my fussiness started I mum took me to the quack and I was given multi-vitamins which gave me my full apetite that I have now (with my size 16 top and size 14 bottom!)I wish you luckx

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 18:29:48

Many thanks for that,some ideas to try, you do sound very like ds grin

I wish I knew why he's like it. The other 4 of us are such foodies. We bought some lovely cheese,olives,cold meat etc for Christmas-we're all piling in today eating leftovers saying how lovely it is and ds is looking at us all as if we're bats!!!!!

DD3 made herself sick by gorging on chilli olives Boxing Day she loves trying new foods so much-how have I got 2 such different children ???

I am convinced some children are born fussy eaters there is no other explanation. He was like this the day I started weaning him from the same pot as his twin who is also a fantastic eater.

He did eat some pasta today which he had at lunch time instead of tea, yet yesterday we had a huge do over the turkey and corn chowder I made,he loves turkey and corn obviously not in a soup hmm

SnowySunshine Sun 28-Dec-08 18:42:52

This sounds a bit daft, but are you sure that his sense of smell is okay? I'm anosmic (can't smell at all) & have always been fussy (although not so bad now) because things taste completely different to me than to other people & texture is a lot more important, etc.

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 18:51:55

It doesn't sound daft at all,believe me I'll look into anything. Texture is a major,major issue ie he likes dry foods nothing slimey iykwimgrin

However I do wonder sometimes if he has very sensitive taste buds as he hates anything too salty and occasionally things that are too sweet-how precious does that sound!!!!!


SnowySunshine Sun 28-Dec-08 18:58:17

The slimy thing sounds a lot like an anosmia issue - it's very common that anosmics refuse to eat cooked mushrooms, onion, etc. because of the texture. I'm a big mushroom fan now (I'm not really sure what changed), but still hate onion - even when it's just very small bits in a pie or something.

There's also the taste implication. In the same way that if you have an awful cold with a blocked nose food tastes different to you, food always tastes like that to anosmics. There is also the lack of graduation between 'types' of tastes. For example, if I eat something that is 'sweet & sour', I can only taste the sweet and the sour separately, whereas for 'normal' people it is more of a mixture?

Even if he isn't fully anosmic, there's possibly a greatly reduced sense of smell which can still impact upon these things. I know that it's a bit difficult to diagnose, but it's worth considering things like whether or not he complains when you drive through a farm-type area that smells of manure, etc.

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 19:03:53

I'll test him tomorrow,it's worth a try. If it is a smell issue what do I do next,is it worth a GP visit or do we just poke up with it?

Many thanks by the way grin

NickiSue Sun 28-Dec-08 19:10:27

My LO is 2.5yr and driving me mad, will eat beans, ravioli, meatballs, chips, pasta bake, cheese, toast, cereal and chicken nuggets (and bananas) - thats it!
Now refuses all else, won't taste, nothing and its driving me bananas (and making me nominate myself for Bad Mother of 2008!). I'll watch this thread with interested (and notebook!). I've homecooked all sorts, tried disguising veggies (which overall I actually dont like) - you name it - its a no go, won't even taste!

SnowySunshine Sun 28-Dec-08 19:15:48

Well obviously it was quite a while since I was diagnosed, but I remember a few trips to special ENT doctors, etc. There are various causes for it - some are curable, some aren't. They couldn't really figure out what had caused mine, but I keep thinking that I should have it looked at again, just in case.

If there does seem to be a problem, I would certainly say that it would be worth taking him to your GP for a referral. & even if there's nothing that can be done to 'fix' him, at least there'll be a starting point - there are fairly common themes in anosmic fussy eating, so you'll have a pretty good idea of what is or isn't going to be enjoyed.

The best thing to do, no matter what the cause, I suppose, is to not exclude things that he doesn't like from his diet entirely. Two of my favourite foods now (mushrooms & olives) were things that I absolutely hated as a child, but became curious about. I was far too stubborn to ask for them though & had to wait for them to be put on my plate so I could still eye-roll & moan a little grin

Out of interest, is he bothered if things are touching each other on the plate? For example, even now, if I have something with a sauce (baked beans, tinned spaghetti, a pie with gravy, etc) I can't eat anything that comes into contact with it blush Especially if it's something that has its texture really 'ruined' by it (yorkshire puds, bread, etc). For quite a few years I had to have a ridiculously childish plate with dividers across it so that each food could be 'compartmentalised'. & I wouldn't eat many foods in the first place - the whole thing has caused so much frustration over the years. Heaven forbid my plate wasn't clean in time for the next meal grin

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 19:26:48

Big time hater of contamination ie rejects food he likes completely if it's even touched foods he doesn't know or like, I've started serving his food on a bigger plate so there are clear boundaries!!!!!!!!

I just nipped up and got him to smell some perfume in the dark, he thought he could smell it but had no idea what it was-interesting as dd3 was there piping up it's perfume,it's perfume. Will do a blindfold test tomorrow with curry,orange etc

SnowySunshine Sun 28-Dec-08 19:34:37

It's extra interesting that you have a twin for comparison - a scientist's dream grin

There are some things that I can kind of 'smell' in that I'm aware that there's something to be smelt, but I have no idea what it is. For example some strong perfumes, the swimming baths, a chip shop, etc. I can feel the sensation in my nose, but could never in a million years distinguish what it was if I was blindfolded. It's a very difficult thing to explain.

If it seems that he does have a smell-related issue, it'll be worth you doing that old 'trick' of eating something a bit plain, like apple, & smelling something strong, like vanilla. When your apple miraculously tastes like vanilla, you'll understand how important smell is & have a slight point of reference from which to empathise - I think it's easier to be more patient if you don't feel completely in the dark about it all

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 19:37:48


Just blindfolded him couldn't smell Marmite at all even though he says he hates it. He thought curry powder might be sauce and chocolate sweets but wasn't sure. He could do orange. The thing is he is a very bright boy so more than capable of articulating the smells and being more specific.

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 19:40:43

Thanks for that will try that approach you never know it might work. I think I might relax a bit more if I knew it wasn't him just being difficult.

Many, many,many thanks for helping out and posting during witching hour grin!!!!!!!

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 19:46:00

Sorry to be gross but dd just did a poo,took him into the bathroom and asked if he could smell anything-he couldn't. Believe me the rest of us all could,it was hard to not!!!!

It does look as if he's not quite as good at smelling as we all are.

SnowySunshine Sun 28-Dec-08 19:48:29

Oooh, I'll be so proud if I've actually helped reach a diagnosis grin

Hopefully if he can do orange there'll be other things that he can do - & that's more hopeful in terms of a cure than if there was nothing at all. Some causes can be to do with all of the sensory neurones between the nose & brain somehow being severed which is obviously very difficult / impossible to help, but if he can smell orange it's obviously not that. Definitely very promising

Good luck with it all - it'll get easier as he gets older, as he'll be able to help with the considering what he might like / tolerate based on what he already knows. You seem to have been dealing with it really well already - he's a very lucky boy

I'll be interested to know how it goes - if you happen to see me floating around at some point, keep me updated grin

SnowySunshine Sun 28-Dec-08 19:49:02

Cross posts - now I wish I hadn't used the phrase 'floating around' wink

snuffyp Sun 28-Dec-08 19:49:26

my daughter is 4 and used to be awful and would live on cereal,yogs and pasta.every single tea time but i felt that things only become a habit with her when i allow them to be like the dummy,nappies,cups at night so i just stopped and broke that habit and decided to give her what were having.took her awhile but think she realised thats all there was on offer.i know it might not work like that for every one but trust be she was terrible would,nt eat when we went out every sunday we go to nannys for a roast she would have pasta!now she eats most things curry and nan,spag bol,today roast chicken with all the veg.i think most kids grow out of it i was a terrible eater until my late teens

MilaMae Sun 28-Dec-08 19:53:49


butterscotch Sun 28-Dec-08 19:55:33

Good luck MilaMae - I have sense of smell but not only the textural thing I hate it if hubby adds sauce/gravy to a dish or mixes a sauce with a dry food, for instance, curry and rice and the nan bread touching weirds me out....cos I hate the soggy bit of the bread, it ruins it to me...........

But what is weirder I guess is if I am eating out it doesn't bother me as much as I don't have as much control however I will often ask for sauce/gravy in a dish to do myself, these days I can use LO as an excuse! blush I hate being fussy and things like Olives I have tried about 10-15 times in the last few years, different types, stuffed, plain etc... still can't stand them blush

Jillyflowers Thu 21-Jan-10 20:21:30

Hi everyone,
I have just joined Mumsnet tonight because I am at my wit's end. My two and a half year old has been eating less and less at meal times and now is refusing to eat at all, and gagging and refusing to come to the table. MY four and a half year old eats well and we eat at the table together. I have tried everything.
Ignoring, removing from table, pandering to her food whims, banging my hand down on the table and being furious, letting her eat in the playroom in front of the TV, not sitting with her.. the list is endless. It is getting worse and my blood pressure goes up at every meal time. She is tiny, underweight and picks up every bug going. i am beyond concerned and despite having visited the health visitor and being told this is normal behaviour for two year olds and just to ignore it, I cannot any longer. Please help!! Thanks so much.

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