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Hi, I hope it is ok to post here! I have four, soon to be five kids, and I am having trouble with my middle child.
Seth is 6 now and from about the age of 2 has been a picky eater. I will admit, I have catered to this a lot and made him what I know he will eat, hoping he would just grow out of it. Well since we moved in November things have got worse and he has cut out a lot of things he used to eat. For example, he would always eat peanut butter sandwiches, now he is refusing to eat wholewheat bread, saying it has 'bits' in it (he ate it just fine before). So out of desperation, and probably wrongly, I started giving him white bread, but now he is making himself gag and saying he can't eat that either.
We have been to the Dr and she couldn't find anything physically wrong with him, and we saw a child psychologist, but his advice doesn't work. He said keep offering him new foods, don't pressure him, he will eat when he's hungry. He doesn't and it's starting to be a real problem when we go anywhere because there is literally nowhere we can go out to eat. Even if we pack a lunch, he will find a reason not to eat it... the bread isn't right etc. His latest thing is that he will sit there until the food goes cold and then say he can't eat it. He gags if I try and make him even try a mouthful of anything new. He eats candies and things he likes of different textures, so we don't think it is a physical problem. I am sooo tired of dealing with this and with another on the way I am panicking because he makes my evenings a misery and I know I will not have the time or patience for this with a newborn. He will whine as soon as he gets home from school that he is hungry, yet whatever I give him, he won't eat it. He will take maybe two mouthfuls of a bowl of cereal (that he has asked for) and then say he's full. Yet 30 minutes later he's whining for something else to eat. I am so tired of playing this game with him. I know I have caused this cycle, but I can't break it. He is iron deficient but I can't get any into him. I can't even hide anything in his foods. Today I made chocolate chip muffins - a batch of 12 muffins and I mashed up one banana in it to try and get a little fruit into him. Nope, he took one bite and knew right away I had put banana in it and refused it!!
Here is what he will currently eat:
rice krispies and milk
frosted mini wheats and milk
peanut butter on ritz or club crackers
milk and juice
any candy or chocolate or cookies
He used to eat just a few months ago:
peanut butter sandwiches
ovaltine - all of which he now refuses. If I push the issue he will make himself gag.
If you made it through all that, do you have any advice for me? I figured this might be a good place to ask, as I know some of you have a lot more children than me and I'm sure you don't have time for picky eaters. Give me your best tips, I am willing to try anything at this point!!
I would let him starve. I have a couple who are picky, but not as bad as yours. They have what we have or nothing. They sometimes will go without. I would give him his meal or snack, whatever you are giving everyone else. Nothing special. No candy,treats, extras, etc. everyone goes on lockdown. Water to drink.
It will be hard. Lots if tears, whining, etc. but you can get through it.
Oh, and I wouldn't give him all day. Put the food out and when the last kid besides him is done, the meal is over, put it away. Don't fight or argue. Just put the food out, then put it away. No discussion.
i do, for the most part, agree with FW . its hard to follow through with but it should not take long to get him to eat what he is given. my grandson wyatt is a picky eater and we catered a bit to him (ok maybe a little more than a bit). since he now lives with his mommy, she has played hardball with him and he is eating much more.
__________________ school's out for the summer.....
I ignore any pickiness, and so far none of mine have starved. The big thing is not to let him eat once he refuses the meal...or to save the exact same meal for when he Is hungry. No snacks, no treats, no candy...if he's hungry he'll eat what the family is having.
Before you really lay into this kid though, do you think he has any sensory problems? The gagging made me wonder. I don't know much about it, but I have met a few kids who really can't handle certain texture and what not. Is he picky about his clothes, loud noises, or anything else?
I think the other ladies have given great advice, not much more I can add. I do offer cereal to any child who doesn't want to eat what I have cooked, but its very rare anyone asks. I don't have any picky eaters. Hope it gets easier for you (both).
Jenifer....The Queen Bee
#12 is on the way
I agree with FW on this one. My 10 year old used to eat pretty well and now hates everything....he can either eat or not eat. It is his choice, the food is there if he is hungry. Also having a schedule when it comes to meals will help. If he doesn't eat what is in front of him, then he has to wait till the next meal/snack. He is going to hate it, he is going to protest, whine, and fight, but you have to stay strong and stick to it. It took him years to create this habit it will not change over night, decide you aren't going to play the game anymore and hold to it.
If he is eating things, then deciding not to, I bet it's not sensory issues.
Sebastian is the same way, but he's only going to be 3. When the doc diagnosed him with FTT I made special meals for him all the time, but now I just feed him what everyone else has. He IS 2 so the biggest battle is him not throwing a fit about it and throwing the food on the floor. SO for me he doesn't have to eat or even try everything on his plate, but he has to keep it there through the whole meal. Sometimes we have problems because of communication issues where he can't tell me he wants more syrup on his waffles (for example) and then there will be an additional fit, not because he doesn't like the waffles, but because he wanted something extra.
ANYWAY, just stop buying special stuff, unless your other kids eat it too, and feed him what you all eat. Ignore the gagging. He'll eat when he's hungry. Also make him responsible for his plate, when he is done he has to clean it up (if he's eaten a good amount) or put it in the fridge to save for later if you know he will be hungry and asking for special food in 20 minutes.
I'm not sure if he has any sensory issues. He isn't really picky about clothes or anything like that, but I agree the gagging is weird. But he does it even with foods he was eating a few months ago, so ..? I really don't know. The Dr seemed to think he was healthy and that it was all a control issue.
Ok, so it seems that I need to be a bit tougher with this I am determined to sort, or at least improve on this problem before I have the new baby so we'll see how it goes. He's not going to like it, lol.
I have a similar issue with my 8 year old. He used to be really picky like your son. I tried the idea of serving him the meal and he can go without if he doesn't like it. It didn't work, and was a waste of time. He would rather starve than eat certain foods. He's never been a meat eater. He hated bread 2 years ago, and peanut butter. He ate cereal, fruit, and yogurt. I just kept offering him new foods, and yeah I cater to him a bit. He only weighs 53 pounds, and is considered underweight so I have to make sure he eats. It has actually gotten a lot better this past year. Now he eats bread(I only buy wheat, but a lot of brands have a smooth texture. I have a issue with bread and won't eat certain brands either because it actually makes me gag), peanut butter, all cereals, all fruits, mixed veggies(this one was hard), chicken nuggets(baked, not fast food), fish sticks, shrimp, spaghetti(with hamburger meat sauce), cheese(this one was hard too), tacos(homemade), yogurt, and I'm sure there is more but I wont bore you all with continuing. I have added more carbs in his diet recently to try to help him gain weight but he isn't yet. Things like bagels(whole wheat), waffles(whole wheat), and extra servings of foods he likes. I bake treats, but I don't allow junk food on a regular basis. I feel like he's a lot better with food now. I hope your son gets better in time too.