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Food Refusal


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I'm caring for a 22mth old who's diet is extremely limited and would like to hear if anyone has any strategies - either to change this or help me (and Mum!!) cope with it.

He will eat fishfingers, sausages, vegetarian sausages, fruit puree (smooth, shop bought) and yoghurt. at snack he'll nibble on rice cake or oat cake. No fresh fruit, (although mum makes him smoothies to drink with a straw) no veg, nothing spoon fed like shepherds pie etc, no pasta, no rice.

I'm a childminder and have never really had to deal with this before and am finding it's affecting the quality of food i feed the other children ( I have another child who grows very little and needs high calorie snacks such as cakes and biscuits to help him gain weight but I feel I can't offer these things because the other child's diet is so poor), also all the other children are encouraged to try new foods. I always put out a variety of fruit and vegetables at snack time which the other children all tuck into, once they've finished if they're still hungry they might have some banana cake or crumpets ( but often it's just fruit and breadsticks and rice cakes) both myself and mum always offer different foods but these are either thrown or ignored depending on what mood he's in. We are both very calm about it and understand that if we make an issue out of it it will get worse but it can be a real challenge to keep jolly about it.

Mum has had lot's of advice from other mums and health visitor but I would be interested to hear how people working with children in a setting deal with this

many thanks

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My sister was a picky eater and would only eat bread and jam and cornflakes! That's what she had for every meal - including Christmas dinner. The dietician said she wouldn't let herself starve, and there was actually most of the food group nutrients that she needed there anyway. Mum just let her fire away with it until she was so sick of it she was desperate to try something else! Even then, she remained very picky and would sit and pick all the visible onions out of shepherd's pie etc. When she started school Mum put her in for school meals and after a couple of weeks she had a letter from school saying 'please make alternate lunch arrangements for your daughter' and Mum said 'no - i've put up with it for 4 years - someone else can have a go'!

Having said all that - she's much more adventurous with food nowadays than any of us! She'll try anything!

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When we had a child in a simular situation we were told by the health visitor to let the child play with there food in a none food situation, also letting the child have lots of oppunities to play with malluable materials and messy play i.e water and sand as they said there was research into the finger tips and mouth linking and by doing this it helped the child to try more things as he had already played with these things. It worked for the child I had in my care I am not sure if it was this or just that the child got fed up with use giving him new things. I hope this may help you and the child in your care.

 

 

Karen

xXx

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I have a colleague who had a fussy eater and her HV advised to go with it.. he only ate chicken nugget things.. so she gave them and only them every meal.. others always got everything.. she said eventually he got fed up with them and tried other stuff..

 

I just offered everything at every meal/food time and let them get on with choices..

 

I did feel providing the child was thriving.. putting on weight and developmentally no problems then why worry.. offer it all.. encourage but don't push or force.. this does seem to be what is happening..

 

 

My son hated potatoes in any form, yes even the chips...and in fact will still choose not to eat them....

 

But I did notice changes in tastes over the years.. what was a hate one month a like the next.. we just offered food same as rest of family and he just ate what he wanted...

 

Tastes change over the years.. I never believed in the they will grow into it thing until I saw my sons diet change so drastically as a teenager.. things he hated he now loved.. he ate things I never thought he would , but he still does not like the potatoes.. or peas (2 items he spat back at me as a baby)

 

Think he trick is to keep offering but not stress when he refuses .. we all have likes and dislikes... (Mine is porridge , slimy, lumpy tasteless goo....just the thought turns me a green colour....)

 

Thing to ask is .. Is he thriving.. and if so why worry....

 

Inge

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That sounds like quite a good variety to me!

What does he drink? Is he filling up on milk? Even so I wouldn't worry too much, nor would I worry about the cake thing, he doesnt have to pig out on it.

Took my son until he was 19yrs old to eat anything like a normal diet!

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Hi

 

I agree with what everyone else has said. I've had several very picky eaters and the advice has always been just to let them get on with it, not make a fuss at meal times, and that children will not let themselves starve.

 

However, I would also add that I have had one or two cases where food refusal has turned out to be linked to other things. We recently had a little boy who ate practically nothing. He was recently diagnosed with coeliac, and is doing much better now. I guess food was making him feel so ill he just didn't want to eat.

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I agree with all the advice you've been given. Masha makes a good point about allergies but if these have been ruled out carry on as you are.

 

Keeping a food diary over a week, with you & at home, may help.

 

It's quite reassuring if you note exactly what they DO choose to eat (even disguised as smoothies) - you may be surprised how much & how healthily they are eating.

 

Nona

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Sorry not sure if I have welcomed you to the forum so welcome and i hope you get the help you need soon.

Thanks for the welcome - and all the advice, it's so nice to be able to discuss issues here, it can be a bit isolating as a childminder.

My gut feeling has always been to just chill out about it and let him have control over what he eats, it's just nice to have it reinforced by others.

thanks everyone

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Guest jane707

I would give the other children and the picky eater exactly the same options... certainly not withold the food from the child who needs extra calories.

 

My daughter is still very picky and always was. She's strong and clever and pretty - just doesn't eat very much.

 

I think sometimes we all worry too much - the child is getting lots of nutrients from that diet, better to relax and let him get on with it. :o

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Hi

 

Do you have a chance to do any cooking with the children, maybe if he helped make something he might be more eager to try tasting it.

 

Other than that he seems to be eating a reasonable enough cross section of food groups to be getting enough nutrition to grown in good health I would have thought.

 

Keep going as you are though staying calm, I'm sure you are doing a great job :o

 

Sue

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Hi

 

Do you have a chance to do any cooking with the children, maybe if he helped make something he might be more eager to try tasting it.

 

Other than that he seems to be eating a reasonable enough cross section of food groups to be getting enough nutrition to grown in good health I would have thought.

 

Keep going as you are though staying calm, I'm sure you are doing a great job xD

 

Sue

Thankyou, we have had some success with cooking - they've all made courgette and cheese muffins (he liked these because they looked like cake!!) and sandwiches - he put things in and then took it all out to eat the bread but that's ok.

I think I only worry because he's often under the weather -- constant colds and coughs and mild viral infections, although he's a healthy weight. I know he eats a lot of biscuits at home and my attitude is that sweet things are offered alongside a healthy diet. My own daughter is a fussy eater and when she's going through a bad phase I cut out all sweet things until she's eating healthily again but it doesn't feel right to me to offer biscuits or cakes when all healthy options are being refused.

Thanks to the replies I'm not worrying about it this week. We've had fun playing with real food and he's watching all the other children try and taste with interest - he likes feeding me blueberries and maybe one day he'll pop one in his mouth :o

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I was helping in younger son's reception class one day when they were looking at different fruits, and the teacher said none of the children had to eat the fruits, but they all had to handle & investigate it (not how she put it to them!). She got them to look at the colour & tell her about it, pick it up to feel it, sniff it, encouraged them to try licking it, then if they wanted to put it in their mouth. More tried the fruits than were planning to when they came out!

 

Since then, that's what I've tried with children at preschool who don't want to try the snack.

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I was helping in younger son's reception class one day when they were looking at different fruits, and the teacher said none of the children had to eat the fruits, but they all had to handle & investigate it (not how she put it to them!). She got them to look at the colour & tell her about it, pick it up to feel it, sniff it, encouraged them to try licking it, then if they wanted to put it in their mouth. More tried the fruits than were planning to when they came out!

 

Since then, that's what I've tried with children at preschool who don't want to try the snack.

 

 

I think I'll try this too with some of our more picky eaters, thanks for the idea.

Karrie

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