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Son won't eat and doctor won't help...(9 Posts)
My son is 2 1/2 and ever since we weaned him at 6 months we've had problems with his eating. When it all started we saw a feeding therapist privately, who suggested he had sensory issues with food. We saw an occupational therapist to learn some techniques and exercises to try and help him engage with food better, but 2 years down the line we are still facing the same story. In fact, it's getting worse. Our son will only ever eat 3 types of food at main meals (all of which are beige, uniform texture and not particularly healthy), milk, water, and a selected range of beige, crunchy snacks. That's it. We do manage to slip some abidec vitamins in his evening milk, which helps alleviate some of my nutrition concerns. But my bigger concern is that each time we try and introduce new foods, he just cries and screams without even tasting them. Sometimes he's make himself physically sick in the process. And he gets so tired on some days as he just has no energy. The old adage 'he'll eat when he's hungry' is just not true. Believe me, we've missed many a meal testing that.
The thing is, I'm now at a total loss what to do. I saw the doctor this morning who in no uncertain terms told me that the NHS can only help me if his weight is actually dropping (and by 2 centiles). Well he's already on the 9th centile, and although I don't think he drops weight he certainly doesn't gain it (all his clothes from last summer still fit him). I was told that they had no resource to help me with 'behavioural' or 'sensory' issues. If I need to go private again, I will find the money to do so as I'm so worried about my son and this is now affecting everyone in our family, but was wondering whether anyone else had any experience of this and could offer up some advice? Should I have been more pushy with the family doctor? Is there anyone else who can help us? Or should I just chill out about it and accept it for what it is?
FYI - his sensory issues seem to impact other parts of his life too - particularly how he plays (he won't touch certain textures) and how he sleeps (he craves the texture of my hair to fall asleep so I still need to lie with him to get him to sleep).
Have a look at Polter's sensory thread on these boards which is a brilliant resource.
If you are in the south east, I can recommend a good sensory OT.
Just an idea that there are someof those protein mixes that body builders use which are pretty smoothe and bland and beige, Holland and Barrat has them I think.
I suspect you have probably tried everything already - I have always done the smorgasbord approach to food. So, you put a buffet on the table - obviously, all bland and beige (pasta, bananas, bread and butter - all chopped into easy to pick up pieces) and let him take what he wants or nothing at all. And repeat for all meals. NO pressure whatsoever. Oh and you get big rewards for trying something new and NO you don't have to swallow it; it can be spat out.
DS2 used to only eat yoghurts, pasta, bread and butter and some chocolate. He now eats in addition (occasionally) cereal, sausage rolls, ham and cheese pasty, chips, pizza, pesto, vanilla icecream, bacon sandwich, sausage sandwich, baked potato, Spanish omelette, popcorn, crisps, doughnuts, bagels, apple, carrot, cucumber and banana; drinks orange juice, apple juice, tepid hot chocolate and actimels. It is still limited but so much better. Oh and food can be eaten in any order - just getting going seems to help: so sometimes, he will start with a yoghurt and then, munch his way through a main. Heat is definitely a factor for us: so bland and tepid!
There is an ABA approach to introducing more food but I think you would have to be prepared to follow it to the letter and we have always had so much else going on that I couldn't face that, too.
Have you had him tested for allergies?
Another food refuser's parent here.
My ds primarily lives on bread and marmite, marmite rice cakes, fig rolls, yoghurts and smoothies. He eats no cooked meals at all, unless you count toast. He will also eat, often only occasionally and in small amounts mostly, choc chip brioche, smoked bacon, raisins, bananas, cake, Nutella, biscuits and chocolate.
We've seen a paed dietician who analysed ds's very limited diet and found very little lacking. She suggested some tweaks which have helped increase nutrition.
He was referred to the specialist feeding clinic but refused as his issues aren't considered fixable because they're so extremely sensory based.
We plod on, he's healthy, growing and learning. I try to make minor adjustments and encourage tasting.
I don't bribe or cajole on a regular basis though sometimes it works for a one off. It's rare any newly tried foods become part of his diet. Carrot cake was a recent addition to his diet and has become a favourite.
He eats the same for breakfast, lunch and tea every day. He has the same snack every day.
And although he won't eat many things I try to get him involved in food prep and cooking, getting him to be able to identify foods is really important, and using his other senses to explore them.
Polter...that's really interesting!
I have an NT child with a limited diet and was worrying about his intake but if the dietician said that to you then it comforts me!
My Ds is 6 and will eat;
Fruit - quite a few
Carrots, lettuce, broccoli, celery, mashed potato
Porridge (from a packet)
Sweets !! Mostly haribo
Vanilla Ice cream
It looks awful written down and I do worry about his non existent protein intake.
I am hoping if we just let him grow up a bit he will want to try more foods.
We shall see!
Thank you all for your responses so far and sharing your own experiences! Will read through all the advice in detail this weekend
I hate the idea that this issue is thought of as 'unfixable' - that must be heartbreaking to hear, especially when we go through so much to try and get our kids to eat something. My doctor this morning told me in no uncertain terms that unless my son was diagnosed as severely autistic, there were no resources available to help me. I know the NHS is stretched, but it's so frustrating to face it alone, which is why I really appreciate you all taking the time to respond to this!
Oh and forgot to mention - he did have a milk protein intolerance when he was younger (and severe reflux - which might have triggered food aversions), but we reintroduced dairy slowly around his second birthday and he has been showing no symptoms. Saying that, he might be old enough for allergy testing now, so I might do that just to be certain.
I suppose, until it is making a child actually ill there is little a Dr can do.
I try and take comfort from my brother.
He was a nightmare eater. I well remember my mum in tears at mealtimes.
He is now a 6 ft 2 adult and eats most things.
I suppose what I am saying is that I try and take comfort in the fact that - unless there is severe sn - most adults have a quite varied diet
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