Comments

  1. Thank you so much for putting behavior at the bottom of this list! I recently read an article in Parenting magazine about picky eaters that disturbed me so much, I actually wrote a letter to the editor. One of the statements used was,”picky eaters are made, not born.” My son is 4 and has issues with sensory processing. He is very restrictive about what he will eat. It is a daily battle. I appreciate this post very much!

    • Oh my that is disturbing! I usually love how Parents handles eating advice. I am looking into this and am going to write a letter, too! Thank you for your comment and hang in there. Keep up all the hard work you are putting in!

  2. Your post made me cry. I cannot thank you enough! My son is nearly 3 years old and has spent most of his life in daily therapy for oral aversion and oral hypotonia. The result was a combination of medical and sensory issues and ongoing months of not eating cause behavioral issues that had to be overcame. It is exhausting and disappointing to read an abundance of articles in parenting books, magazines, and blogs that say “He’ll eat when he’s hungry”. Not my child. Thank you for writing the truth behind the issues that our children may face with food.

    • Thank you so much for bringing up “they will eat when they want to”. That is a total myth and research proves it. Most kids will eat, eventually- but not all of them. Hence why some kids end up on a feeding tube! I should have commented on that in the post!

      Good luck with your son and I hope you kind find some support and new strategies here 🙂

    • hi
      my daughter is nearly 1 year ,she start good with solid food but now she start teething and that affect her daily table food she lost here appetite at all yes I know its due of teething but I can not believe how she can spent all the day without eating anything except breastfeed (4 times per day)
      I need help plzzz

      • Breast feed 2X a day and give a cup 2X a day. Teething can decrease desire to eat. Offer food she likes, soft like oatmeal, ice cream, etc.

    • Can some one tell me why my 5 year old boy has not eaten anything for over 5 days now? We have been giving him pediasure just to make sure he is getting some kind of protein in him but we can’t do that for much longer, n we haven’t been giving a reason from a doctor or no one to why is will not eat. He says he isn’t hungry but he drinks down them pediasures one after another do he had to be hungry. He won’t even eat his favorite foods that he usually eats everyday. If anyone has any good info, it would be greatly appreciated if they could please respond back. Thank you.

      • It sounds like he is game playing and your anxiety feeds it. As you point out “he had to be hungry”. Was he ill before this,is he constipated, is he competing against a sibling for attention,any problems in school. Offer regular food that he likes, don’t worry if he doesn’t eat it and offer the Protein drink (which is very filling), 2 X a day for 2 days and 1 X a day for 2 days and then none.

    • I had similar problem with my baby
      please log in to babycareadvice and take help from Rowena Bennet
      her consultaion helped me a lot.
      Believe me i had lost hope.i had given up.i spent months crying.visits to pediatricians were useless n one day i came across their website and the testimonials written by otger parents about their children and how Rowena helped them get out of the feeding aversion completely changed our life.i am so happy i consulted her..

    • I had similar problem with my baby
      please log in to babycareadvice and take help from Rowena Bennet.you have to desensitize him to food.and i would recommend that u stop giving her pediasure and offer food with at leat 4-5hrs gap and do not force her and offer only twice and if he refuses try after 4hrs.do not give pediasure in between meals even if he hasnt taken anything.
      rowena’s consultaion helped me a lot.but every child is different
      Believe me i had lost hope.i had given up.i spent months crying.visits to pediatricians were useless n one day i came across their website and the testimonials written by otger parents about their children and how Rowena helped them get out of the feeding aversion completely changed our life.i am so happy i consulted her..

    • Hi I’m just reading ur post about ur son you say he’s had daily treatment how is ur son now does he eat. I’m asking because I need help as my 3 year old son has not eaten our food for 2 and a half years and I need help thanks

      • He does eat quite a lot. He is still picky about some things, but we don’t let it interfere with his or anyone else’s meal. There is a ton of info on here. See the menu bar and click on Article Index then see the first category of picky eater. If you are able also look into private feeding services. I’m available for consults as well.

      • Hi, I have 3 years old who eats just few things. He is goggling when sees food or someone else eating . How long it will be I don,t know.

  3. Great post. After being tube fed from birth until 21 months my little girl has got rid of her tube at last although still has prescribed milk fom a baby bottle a few year on as although she does well with food it is a limited variety and volume.
    People who said she would eat when hungry and should withhold the bottle and insist a cup or nothing irritate me. She has never known hungry with continuous feeds and has progressed very well in a year.

  4. Great post. After being tube fed from birth until 21 months my little girl has got rid of her tube at last although still has prescribed milk fom a baby bottle a few year on as although she does well with food it is a limited variety and volume.
    People who said she would eat when hungry and should withhold the bottle and insist a cup or nothing irritate me. She has never known hungry with continuous feeds and has progressed very well in a year.

    • That is wonderful news- I know that achievement comes with a lot of work! Unfortunately, most people don’t understand. Keep up the good work and try to tune out other’s opinions.

  5. I’ve noticed that many parenting magazines fall short in the area of picky eating. There is a difference between your everyday picky eater and a child with food aversions which can stem from sensory disorders, autism, medical problems at birth/infancy. My son battles severe picky eating (see http://www.foodaversions.blogspot.com) When I read an article that just doesn’t get it I just assume they are speaking to the average run of the mill picky eater. Likely the writer has had zero experience with families of those with severe picky eating issues. Yeah for everyone who wrote a letter helping them to see the light. There should be some sort of disclaimer on the article stating to whom it is geared towards. Severe picky eating is a real issue that is highly discouraging for the parents especially those without resources.

    • Yes- you are very right! I have been meaning to write a post for some time on picky eaters vs. problem feeders, the latter being what you experienced with your son. Most of the advice I give really applies to both scenarios and when it doesn’t I do try to highlight that. I think there should be a disclaimer, too- most people don’t realize just how severe feeding problems can be.

  6. So my son who is now 20 mts old was the best eater in the world! And I am talking about eating everything…I used to think sometimes that he is eating too much for his little tummy…well those good times are gone ;( couple of months ago he just stop eating…all of the sudden he refuses to eat everything and anything …I am having a hard time it is so hard and frustrating …I am going crazy and don’t know what to do! I think that his problem is bad behavior but not sure how to handle it..I need help

    • Well, it may be one of two things. First, did any event happen, an illness or gagging on food. It might seem like something small, but even a small event like this can trigger a sensitization toward food.

      Second, it is likely just the developmental stage your son is in. Around 1 years old their taste buds begin to refine, this can bring out a lot of “picky eating”. Stay consistent, offer foods at regular meals with no snacking in between. Check out my new post, too, so that you have your bases covered there. http://www.yourkidstable.com/2013/05/common-mistakes-parents-make-how-to_20.html

    • Hi Alisha! Greetings from Lisbon!
      So I´m in the same situation as mentioned above. My 18mts old boy would eat this world and the next if we let him, but now that is past. He is still having milk for breakfast, doctor recomendation, the lunch and dinner are now a war zone to say the least. Everyone tells me DO NOT force him to eat, but I just can´t help to force him a bit or else I know that he will have only breakfast milk on him for the day. Our routine is lunch kinda adult meal, with meat, pasta or rice, and veggies, finishing with a spoon of vegetable soup, followed by fuit. Dinner is the same but with fish on the main meal. Yes its a 3 course meal but we only want him to eat a small amount of each. Now that the food war has arrived we are only managing him to eat 3 or 4 bites of his meal, sometimes only half the soup and we are giving the fruit in the morning or afternoon snacks. He is now also rejecting almost all the new things that we give him to try. He refuses! Around here soup is a very important thing but I keep having the feeling that giving him only the soup we are talking the easiest road. Now Im quite lost. Force him? Not force him? Drop the soup? Insist in new things? Let him be when I know that he has eaten so little all day?

      Thank you for your time.

    • Hello! So exciting that you are reading along in Lisbon! First and foremost don’t force feed, I know where you are coming from- I get it, but it is going to get you nowhere fast. Click on basic strategies in the top menu for more on this. Keep the soup, always serve at least one food he likes and keep presenting new foods. There is a ton of info on this blog, also in the menu bar is an article index, look at the Picky Eater articles particularly How to Expand their Variety and Getting Your Picky Eater to Explore New Foods. Right now just get him comfortable having the new foods. Keep things as positive as possible. Also, I am available for consults which we could do through skype, facetime or email if you want some more specifics- more on that in the tip menu bar, too! Hope this gets you going in the right direction- let me know if I can help more!

      • Hi, thanks so much for asking, he is is 4 now and doing really well. He has drastically improved how many foods he eats, but still has some preferences. I’m very happy with his variety.

  7. After reading many of your blog articles, I believe our 1 year old (June 21 she’ll be 13 months) has some mechanical issues with foods she needs to chew. I continue to offer her a variety of chewing foods and it is all she gets at day care now. At dinner and weekends if she does not eat enough which is all the time, I am still giving her pureed and preferred chewing foods (cheerios, puffs, yogurt drops, lil’ crunchies, ravioli, tofu, eggs, some veggies and fruit cut up as long as they’re soft, sometimes she’ll eat a little bread with butter and/or cheese, small bits of mozzarella cheese, a few small bits of pizza, likes chewing on pizza crust, and a few small bits of pancake). Will she grow out of these mechanical issues? Gagging, spitting out half-chewed food, and even vomiting from gag reflex (last was 2 weeks ago). Really like your site and will consider a consultation if she does not improve more in the next couple months. Thanks!

    • Hi Jess, well she has some real strengths going for her. She has a decent variety. The gagging and vomiting are red flags. It is hard to say if she will grow out of it, a few kids do. However, it may make it difficult to move on and some of those muscles she’ll need for speaking too. Keep trying! Demonstrate how to chew with a wide opened mouth, so she can see what you are doing. Also give her whole carrots and celery, yes the big long pieces, to mouth on. This will help build up some jaw strength and decrease her gag reflex. You can give these to her before or while you feeding her purees! Of course, I’m here for a consult, but consider getting in touch with your states early intervention program. They should be able to get you some help in your very own home! Let me know if you need more help with this!

  8. Hi, I think I can relate to this with my 13 month old also in similar case. When you say to give a whole carrot & celery – should it be cooked?

    • Definitely raw! The point is for them to move it around in their mouth like a teether, if they can get any pieces off, take it off of them. Let me know how it goes!

    • I’m very frustrated at this point. My 9 year old refuses to eat and at her own detriminte. She even lost weight which is how I noticed that she refuses to eat.. She wants us to feed her every meal and will stare holes in the wall that is how stubborn she is! So definately behaviour and I definately agree on the constipation I have had problems with that before. She’s epileptic so I’m not sure if her meds play a role in supressing her appetite as well. Just annoys. Me how it may change so all of a sudden.

    • I’m so sorry Pamper Box Salon- I know its sooo hard! It is unusual for a child her age to suddenly refuse to eat. I would explore the constipation issue more- you can use miralax. If you would like to talk I do offer consultations.

  9. My son squrims through out his eating when I’m feeding him no matter what i seem to do im out of ideas on how to get him to eat, and most of the time he will only eat table food if it is comming directly off of mommy or daddys plate what to i do?

    • How old is he? I would let him eat off your plate for now and keep it really positive. It’s important that he associates eating with something positive. Did anything from this article jump out at you as a possible reason your son is having a hard time?

  10. Hi Alisha,
    Thank you for you article!! it is very helpful and interesting.. Our daughter turned 1 year a few days ago, and she has never ever eaten more than 2-3 teaspoons (if we are lucky…) of anything. What ever goes into her mouth just gets pulled straight out. we have established she seems to prefer savoury to sweet tastes. Her appetite has definately increased for the past few weeks but she is just demanding more formula bottles instead if actually eating anything. Since birth we have struggled with constipation, that seems to get even worse when she is teething. She even refuses any kind of juice/rooibos tea. She is very stubborn by nature but I dont think its a behavoural issue. She seems healthy and happy, but she has not gained any weight for the past 3 months. 2 Peadiatritians have said she does have unusually large tonsils, could this affect her swollowing? How do we go about testing for oral aversions or tactile defensiveness? Please could you give us some advise.. Many thanks!! Mom&Dad Tinkler

    • Hello! You would see some red flags for tactile defensiveness by her either being uncomfortable with being messy, refusing to touch certain textures, and/or gagging at the sight, smell, touch, or taste of foods. Oral aversions may develop because of a past event: feeding tube, episode of throwing up, etc., and kids will outright refuse to eat. Her behavior is not typical- but I don’t want that to alarm you. I would push the constipation issue more with your doc for other solutions. Consider seeing a GI doc, if you don’t get answers there. Lastly, I would consider an early intervention eval if you are in the states.I have more on that here: http://www.yourkidstable.com/2013/09/help-for-infants-and-toddlers-early.html There is no pressure at all, but I’m available for consults- if you have any other questions about anything, please let me know!

  11. Very frustrating, my daughter turned 4 on 11/10 and since 11/12 she had not a thing. We have taken her to 2 emergency rooms and they say a behavior issue…I disagree I have an appointment with a GI dr Monday…Monday will be 14 days no food, when we ask her if something hurts she says yes and points to get belly button..we told the er about it but they say all test came back normal but she has been in the verge of dehydration 2 times during this time…I hope the GI dr will give us some answers.

    • Yes, very right to follow your instincts. Did they do an endoscopy, colonoscopy, or stomach emptying test in the ER. If not than they can’t say there isn’t a reason. Right now give her whatever and however to get her to eat or drink anything. I would consider following up with a feeding eval as well.

    • I’m going thru the same thing right now with my daughter an I had taken her to the er and they said everything is normal with all her blood work they told me she is constipated an just give her suppositorys for it an I did but she still not eating 🙁 my poor baby girl I feel so bad for her

      • I know, it is terrible!!! See the links I just added in this post, I actually have two post on constipation solutions, it might be helpful

  12. Hi Alisha!

    Thanks so much for this super informative article! Im wondering if you have any tips if we suspect a mechanical issue. Our 13 month old was a puree eating champ. He would eat any and every veggie or fruit with the exception of banana. Loved pouches, even combo flavors. I was raised eating what my mom cooked (“adult” food, no short order cooking) from the beginning and feel very strongly that our son will eat what we eat as well. We love food and want him to love food also. Our problem is, he is refusing solids. Foods that he gobbled up as purees get spit out in the real food/cooked form. We consistently offer whatever we are eating, as well as cheese, cooked veggies, soft fruit, etc and he almost instantly spits out most, others he will suck or “chew” for a bit and then spit out. I dont think its the taste because it isnt even in his mouth long enough. He happily eats cherios, mum mum crackers, teething cookies, cheese, pasta, and eggs (eggs 50% of the time). Anything else (squash, carrots, sweet potato, peas, corn, pears, peaches, strawberry, banana, blackberry, zuchinni, green beans etc etc) gets spit out. He loved any kind of meat for about 2 months and now spits that out too. He got teeth very late (first one at 11 months and now has two top and two bottom) and we made the mistake of giving only very soft things in tiny cut up bits because we thought he needed teeth to chew (i know now this isnt the case). Im starting to think he is scared to swallow or doesnt know how to chew things up properly? Other than the hard carrot idea or showing him our own chewing, where do I go from here? Im so discouraged that I keep resorting to mum mums and cookies and cheese but I dont know what to do. If he can chew those things is it just that he doesnt like the soft things? Some things like oranges I can tell he likes the taste of because he will keep it in his mouth and mull it around but ultimately doesnt swallow. Same with eggs the other 50% of the time (sometimes swallows eggs). I see photos of my friends with similar age children eating normal size bites of strawberry and pancakes and I know he isnt getting enough food at a meal. He of course wants to self feed and slaps spoons away but lately is interested in spoons and forks if he can hold them but still spits out what is on them. Help!

    • I keep reading “be consistent/keep trying” but we are going on four months of consistently offering different table foods at every meal and them getting spit out. I know its not that he fills up on crackers and other stuff. After 2 months of refusing solids, we introduced pouches out of desperation for him to eat something and very recently introduced teething crackers and mum mums (in the past few weeks) when he has lost interest in pouches.

    • Hi Caralea, I can completely understand how frustrating this. First, stick with more crunchy foods, if he is having difficulty chewing he will get more feedback from the chewing. You could also try holding a long piece of food like cheese curl and holding one end while you put the other end on his gums in the back- if he will allow you. I would also look into getting an early intervention evaluation, if you are in the states. See the article index for the article titled: Early Intervention Services. I would also make slow changes to foods he is eating, buying different brands and flavors. Lastly, read the post Exploring New Foods with Your Picky Eater. It talks a lot about the importance of play.

      There is no pressure at all, but I am available for consults. It sounds like there are some underlying issues going on, that I would need to investigate more to give you specific info. I hope this helps a little. Let me know if I can do something else!

  13. You have so many good ideas here, but could you please do a post for parents on how to depersonalize the picky eater situation? I have tried everything–preferred foods, sample bites, variations on preferred foods, getting kids to help prepare a meal–and nothing has worked. They enjoy the process of cooking, but have no interest in the actual product (unless it’s cupcakes), even if they see that it is filled with all ingredients that they like. I am at my wit’s end, and dinner has become my absolute least favorite time of the day. (I have a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old.) I love to cook, and this is positively sucking all the enjoyment out of it. I always put a small portion of what I make on their plates–sometimes they try it, sometimes they don’t. I don’t want dinner to turn into a power struggle, but neither am I willing to make them separate meals or let them live on pancakes. Help!

    • Hi Alison, I totally hear you and sometimes if your kids are beyond picky eating, those strategies might not be enough. Look at the article index at the top menu. Read When Picky Eating Has Gone Too Far, if they are beyond picky eating seeking additional help will be very beneficial. Also, there are several posts about keeping mealtimes positive, expanding variety, and exploring new foods that should be helpful. There is no pressure, but I am available for consults where I can give specific advice. Let me know if I can be of more help.

  14. Hi Alisha,
    My daughter is 3 years old and she is a terrible fussy eater or rather a non eater I would say. She is on just 11.5 kg from past 1 year . I have consulted many pedestrians but they end up giving me advice or some appetizer . After reading your article I think my daughter has mechanics problem she simply doesn’t chew her food she stores them in her cheeks for long time then spits it out. If I made a semi solid mushy food she doesn’t open her mouth wide she eats like a bird. I offered her many different kinds but nothing seems to work out. She doesn’t even want to eat junk food which most of the kids like. I left my job for her sake . now am feeling really miserable as am not able to improve her eating habits . I have lost the battle . At my home emotions keep flying high at every single meal. Bribe her . plead her scold her pamper her , She won’t budge . please help . please tell me how do I go about this.

    Thanks in advance
    Helpless mom

    • I’m so sorry- this is a very challenging situation. I would highly recommend the direction of a feeding therapist- I’m assuming you aren’t in the states so I’m not sure this is an option. I would read my posts transitioning your child to table foods. There are two parts and you can find them in the article index in the menu bar or in the sidebar under popular posts. This goes through some of the basics of teaching the child how to chew. However, there are likely multiple layers to her difficulty eating. There is so much info on here, I would start reading under feeding basics also in the menu bar. I would avoid scolding, she has something legitimate going on that makes it difficult for her to eat. There is no pressure, but I’m also available for consults where we could go over her history and discuss in more detail. You can find info for that in the menu bar also. Please let me know if I can help out in any other way!

  15. We are in a similar situation. Daughter 3 and still doesn’t eat solid food (mainly chewing problems & sensory issues), but we are seeing the light. However, I should say we have had early intervention therapists (OT, Speech & Behavior) since age 1 & is seen at a private practice 3 times a week. I wish I would have found a site like this a couple years ago!!! I heard time after time that she was/is “stubborn”, “just put food in front of her”, “eventually she will get hungry”, etc. The fact is that will not work and just isn’t the case. We simply couldn’t accept that and knew she needed feeding therapy. The hard part was to find feeding specialists…OTs/Speech that had enough experience in this area. …and I should say we added a Behavior Specialist at the end of Early Intervention. I was reluctant to add this specialist because I always argued that this was simply not bad behavior. This specialist just helped us come up with positive reinforcements, ideas on how to recover after a really bad meal, etc. She actually was a big help to us. Anyhow, thank you for your posts. I will keep reading!!!

  16. One other thing I would add to the list is supertasting. 35% of women and 15% of men have more taste buds than the average person, so they taste “gross” tastes much more intensely than other people. If your child is at the point where they would rather sit at the table all night staring at their green beans than eat them, they may be a supertaster. Being a supertaster myself, I can tell you how frustrating it was when my parents would force me to eat foods that literally tasted so bad I wanted to vomit. It was incredibly freeing when I started living on my own and choosing my own foods. Just another thing to consider!

  17. Hi i have a 4 year old son who barely eats. when he does eat it has to be a ham and mayonnaise sandwich or chips. and he usually doesn’t even eat half of one. he was with foster parents for a year due to some trouble i got into and his foster parents even got him to try sushi! now he’s here and refuses to eat anything. he is happy and playful but I’m wondering if maybe the events of the past year have something to do with his refusal to eat?

    • It is possible that the transitions have made it difficult, but I would make sure you are setting up a really good routine- not that I’m trying to insinuate that you aren’t. Structure meal time as much as possible and continue to keep it positive. Eat with him and make sure he has one thing at each meal he prefers. Check out eating basics in the menu bar at top for more ideas! Good Luck!!!

  18. I have a 9 year old who refuses to eat after having several choking episodes. She has lost about 11 pounds in three weeks. I offer her anything she wants just to get her to eat and she asks for ice cream almost always and holds it in her mouth and refuses to swallow, then spits it out into paper towels or the toilet. She’s had a sleep study and just barely an upper gi because she wouldn’t swallow the contrast stuff. I been to see if her tonsils need to be removed , I was told they are not really enlarged. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Kizzy, I’m glad you reached out. First of all feed her whatever you can, as you are in kind of a critical state. There are some extreme situations, like your daughters where gagging/choking/procedures to the throat can cause complete aversions to food. I would highly recommend seeing a feeding therapist, where you can be set up with a desensitization program. If you need help looking for a therapist please let me know!

    • My daughter is going through the same thing. She is afraid she is going to choke and refuses to eat. she too had list so much weight and is falling very weak. I don’t know what to do. We have been to the doctor, dentist, and we have had many conversations with her. Please give me advice.

  19. My grandaughter is 9-1/2 years old. She’s a very picky eater. She only eats chicken nuggets from McDonalds or hash browns, noodles, toast, fruits , chocolate milk, apple juice and Pediasure. She also takes vitamins. If we ask her to eat other foids she starts crying. Will she change her eating habits?

    • She will likely add some new foods, eventually, but this could take a while. I would recommend that she see a feeding therapist to help her get out of this, there are likely some underlying issues.

  20. I came on this page while looking for more options to feed my son who is 2.3 years old. Well i used to be very anxious 8 months back when i shifted to new apt and there he suddenly stopped eating. he would vomit and had lost lots of weight. Here i want to point out something, My neighbor had a son who was 5 months younger than my boy (with really good appetite). Initially my son would go to play at his house and would eat fruits with him. Slowly he developed stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation etc etc over the months. It would kill me seeing him not eating at all and some times eating on alternate days. I realized that my neighbor had hygiene problem. Though her son is fine all the time. And i am going to sound orthodox but I realized that every time I feed in front of my neighbor it hasn’t gone down well with him. As soon as she points out “oh he can eat this, my son should eat too” the very next day my son will stop eating at all. So correlating such incidents that has happened hundreds of times i stopped feeding my son in front of any outsider. And it works.

  21. Hi Alisha,
    My daughter is nearly 4 yrs. She only eat wheatabix, porridge, toast, rice, pasta, yoghurt and various kinds of meat. She doesn’t want fruits and vegetables and eggs at all. She doesn’t want to try new foods. I do eat with her and encourage her to try but she always tells me that she doesn’t like them because it’s for adults not for kids. I don’t know how best I can help her to try other foods. Whatever she likes, she does eat it very well. She weighs 18kg and she looks healthy but I know she is not getting a balanced diet especially when she is not eating fruits and veggies.

    • Getting your kid to eat new foods can be really challenging and take some time. I would first recommend reading the Eating Basics tab in the menu bar and then checking out the articles I mention at the end for some more specifics. Tell her she doesn’t have to eat it, but needs to take some on her plate. Then, try to get her to interact with the food in a way that is comfortable for her. I explain this in more detail in Exploring New Foods- one of the articles. Let me know if you need more help!

  22. Hi Alisha,

    I guess I am also with the little issue right now about my lil girls eating. She is three. She used to eat loads and very good, always healty and so on. It all started about two months ago, after she finished her kindergarten. She started to eat like a bird even her favourite food, now it is soo hard to feed that she refuses everything. She is picking up all the bad food habits from our family friends kids what is choking, storing food, vomiting, spitting all over the place. We had routine and everything, but since she went to kindergarten it is changed. She is not snacking. I tried the way that I let her not to eat till she asks, but she could go without food all day and she would be fine. Have tried everything what’s on the list, but nothing seems bring results. I am expecting new babes in next five weeks, I just hope I can resolve some part of this problem.

    Thank you
    Regards
    Ilze

    • Hmm, that is a really unique situation. I would try and talk to her teacher and if she is still eating with these children, I would try to avoid that at all costs. Get back to your basics and routine. Also see the eating basics in the menu bar, follow all of these steps. It will take some time and diligence on your part, but you should be able to get her back on track!

  23. My daughter is 4 and has become a picky eater in the lady year and a half. Before that she’d eat anything we put in front of her. I try not to make her feel pressured about eating or make her “pickyness” an issue because I believe it will pass, buy I get so much critics from other people. I am so tired of hearing “what is wrong with your child?” simply because she doesn’t scarf down enough food in one sitting to feed a grown man. Why does it have to be an issue? My pediatrician says she’ll grow out of this phase and be just fine.

  24. Trust me, you are not alone. Unfortunately, we all get judgmental when we don’t understand. Good luck with your daughter, there are lots of tips here to help!

  25. Greetings from England. I feel sooo relieved I’m not the only patent that’s going through this!! My little boy is 2.5 and his diet is VERY limited. He will only eat chips, a slice of garlic bread, a chunk of cheese, maybe some cucumber but that’s it. He is pretty good with fruits though. We have been using an electric brush and having fun blowing bubbles but I wonder for how long do I need to do all this? It’s very tiring and frustrating. He will eat a cheese sandwich if I distract him by playing with his car and eating at the same time, is this a good idea? We have been playing with food but i don’t know for how long shall I be doing all this. It feels like it’s never going to end!! I wish you were based in the uk!
    Any good books you could recommend. Thanks so much x

    • I think that you are doing some good things to help his eating, but you are right there is probably more that would need to be determined on an individual basis. I would avoid distraction, I know that is tough, but it will hurt more in the long run. Do you suspect that there may be sensory issues? If so get him playing in sensory bins. Also, see the article index in the menu bar and look under picky eating you will find a ton of information there as well. I do consults with Europeans all the time- see my menu bar.

  26. Hi Alisha, thank you for your reply. Yes my little boy has SPD among other issues(hipermobility and low muscle tone) I have read your blog about sensory bins and we have started playing with dry foods first. I will introduce sticky foods at a later stage.
    I think his chewing is getting a little bit better now, if I tell him “show me how you can chew and swallow your food like a big boy” he will actually do it quickly and then we’ll give each other a high five or a kiss/cuddle.
    The distraction part it’s going to be difficult for me, specially in the mornings when I have to drop his sister to school and then drop him off to preschool. But I will try. He just can’t sit still tough.
    Thanks again for your reply. I think I’m becoming an expert reading all your blogs. You are a great help Alisha. Thank you so much x

  27. Hello Alisha,

    I am So relieved to know I am not the only one going through this. My 4 year old son (almost 5 in 2 months) has stopped eating like he used to. He has never been a big big eater but he ate enough before always would he was hungry when mealtime was approaching for the past month he started saying he wanted to throw almost all foods that we fed him. I have tried everything to get him to eat and nothing is working…..please any suggestions or ideas ? I am driving myself thinking …..is he physically sick, is there an underlying issue, is he sick of eating certain foods, is it a phase? I am stuck and don’t know what to do . The doctor said it a stomach bug and he would be fine. Thanks for having this blog.

  28. I know this is difficult! Honestly it is hard to say if it is a phase or he had/has some type of bug. I would not do anything too drastic at the moment. Try to keep up with your routine and keep mealtimes as positive as possible. If it continues I would consider getting an evaluation by a feeding therapist or setting up a consult so that his difficulties can be thoroughly explored.

  29. my 2-year-old daughter chooses not to eat whatsoever the only time she eats is when she has a PB&J she tears it apart and just eats the jam and peanut butter out of it, she chooses not to eat whatever we make she looks at it plays with it and then says she’s done, she’s a little under weight so what can I do to help this.

    • I would start off with the eating basics tab in the menu bar. Try to start implementing all of those strategies if you haven’t already then look at the links at the bottom. There are articles with really good starting points listed at the end. Picky eating can be quite complicated!

  30. Hi in in desperate need of some help, my son is 11months old and has eaten well since 6months old when we self weaned him with advice from weaning nurse. Within couple months we were told he has cows milk protein allergy but carried on eating fantastically until a month ago when he now puts everything he is given into his mouth chews/gums (as no teeth), then when he is supposed to swallow he spits it out. Buy carries on with next piece and repeats this over and over which is heartbreaking to watch. Any help would be great xx

    • Did he have any vomiting or illness before he stopped eating? Often and event like that can cause an aversion. I would also have him looked at by a doctor to make sure he doesn’t have swollen adenoids or any throat issues that you can’t see. In the mean time keep meals positive and demonstrate chewing and swallowing as much as possible. Leave your mouth wide open so that he can see what you are doing. Also, give sips of water or milk to help him swallow quickly before he spits food out.

  31. Thank you for replying and your advice. He has cows milk protein allergy and is ill a lot of the time with variety of things from hand,foot and mouth to croup to severe eczema. I took him to the doctors and they looked at his throat and all is fine that they can see. He wants to eat i can see this because he puts things in his mouth chews a little and instead of swallowing he spits it out. He is currently surviving on 2x Weetabix and 6oz of aptamil pepti 2 formula twice a day and lots of water. Getting him to take the weetabix is a trick but i feel its got to be done. X

  32. you forgot to mention medications. My son has a loss of appetite when on his meds, and it is very frustrating. so every bite that goes into his mouth has to be very nutritious

  33. Hi I know this post was written a while ago but I have only just stumbled across it as I’m frantically searching for something to help me get my son to eat.
    He is 15 months old and the battle we have each day at every meal time is so overwhelming that I honestly don’t know what to do anymore.
    We started him on solids at 5 months of age and he has never taken to it. Even now I can’t get him to eat puréed foods. I’m constantly offering him different things in different textures, purée, mash, finger foods but he puts up such a fuss. Unless he is extremely distracted, he will not open his mouth (and sometimes distraction doesn’t work). He moves his head away, put his arms up, swats the spoon away. I’ve tried giving him his own spoon too and shown him what to do but he throws it on the floor.
    A lot of your post sounds familiar. He had reflux up until about 11 months (undiagnosed but he was throwing up about 25 times a day so I assume that’s what it was), he gags a lot with food in his mouth, finger foods have to be cut up very small or he shoves the whole thing in his mouth, he will chew for a bit then spit out and most of the time he won’t even try it but just throw it straight on the floor.
    The only thing I know he will eat are rice puffs and sultanas.
    I live in Australia so unfortunately can’t get you out to see us.
    I’ve had a speech therapist review him which was hopeless and my doctor just says to keep persisting which of course I am.
    Can you make any suggestions or perhaps know of someone on this side of the world or some profession that may be able to help us.
    It’s very upsetting and I too get from everyone “he will eat when he’s hungry” but he IS HUNGRY.
    Some days I resort to giving him formula throughout the day so that he doesn’t cry for hours.
    Hope you can help. Sorry for the long post.

    • You definitely have your hands full and I think some help would go a long way. Your story isn’t uncommon for me to hear. I don’t know anyone in Australia but have done several consults there via skype or facetime. See the tab in the menu bar for information. Also see the article index, there are a ton of articles on here that will help. You are very right that some kids won’t eat when they are hungry, make sure he always has one food he likes to eat at each meal and don’t allow snacking. Please let me know if you have other questions!

  34. My son is 2 years old and these last couple of months he is not eating well. First he stopped eating lunch, than started skipping breakfast and now dinner too. lt might be a reaction to the baby (3 months old) but whatever the reason I don’t know how to make him eat. He drinks a lot of milk but that’s it. I could really use some advice. Thanks.

    • I have a TON of information on this site. See the eating basics and article index tabs in the menu bar for lots of detailed info to get started. After reading some of those articles don’t hesitate to ask other questions OR see the consulting services tab for individualized specific help.

  35. My son is 2 1/2 and he seems to be on a one food diet. He used to only eat peanut butter sandwich for a while, but he now refuses it and will only eat eggo(waffles). I don’t think he has problems with chewing and swallowing as he is fine with crackers and cereal. He drinks 2 cups of milk a day, loves yogurt.. I keep giving him new foods for him to try but he refuses to open his mouth and runs away. He isn’t underweight or short for his age buy I’m worried about his health. He does get constipated often but I’m thinking that’s due to eating only carbohydrates. I’m really at a loss as to what to do. I’ve spoken to nutritionists and all they say is to keep introducing foods and be patient, but for how long???

    • I know how frustrating this. Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy answer for you. I would recommend starting with the eating basics tab and the articles I recommend at the end. That will get you started. If you want to talk in depth see my consulting services also in the menu bar.

  36. Greetings from Slovenia. I came across your article and could not help but wonder if you have some experience and suggestion how to transition from the feeding tube back to eating normally. Our daughter, who has autism, suddenly stopes eating, presumably due to a GI infection. Although al the test came back negative, doctors still suspected infection, because od the symptoms. She was eating plenty before. Somewhat strict a out the texture of food (preferred smoothies and dried fruit and pumpkin seeds — two extreme ends of the solid specter of food)
    However, she suddenly refused to eat and needed an NG tube.
    She has had the tube now for a few months and we are exploring ways in helping her transition back to eating. Do you have any suggestions and experience in overcoming this sort of aversion?
    Many thanks!!!

    • Very good question and something I haven’t covered here. I have a little bit of experience with this. It is important to give oral feedings with the tube feed so they can begin to make the association that when they have something in their mouth they feel full. Keep it really positive and take your time.

  37. Hi, I’ve been going through so many eating articles where ever i can find them, and basically all the advice boils down to is “they’ll eat when they are hungry”. This is so frustrating, when you don’t have a frame of reference as to gauge for how long you can let this go on, or if there’s really something else you should be looking into. My son now almost 4 was born at 7 months. We followed all the guidelines given by his doc and he gained weight and was on track by 12mnths. I gave him all types of food (yes ALL) when I fed him. Then when he started finger foods, he was really good at it, eating even noodles by himself. Ofcourse i still fed him most of the food in between. But at 1.5yrs, he stopped everything. Wouldn’t sit at the table, wouldn’t eat hardly anything, I had to continue baby food for longer than I wanted to. for about a year, he would only eat either store bought fries, chips, plain pasta/speghetti/noodles, fish/chicken. He survived on milk/yoghurt/juice till he was almost 2.5 yrs. Things have improved a lot now. He eats a wider range of things. But now, its been a struggle getting him to feed himself. few days ago I decided I can’t keep on feeding him, and told him he can either eat himself, what he’s given for meals, or not. I was not going to make substitute meals and I was not going to feed him. two days now, he refuses lunch and dinner altogether. wakes up in the middle of the night from hunger and keeps me awake. The second night I offered the banana he didn’t eat at dinner, and he refused. So I said, fine, if you’re not hungry, you can go back to sleep. He was awake and crying till dawn!. This is so hard to see. How long do I keep this on for? My husband can’t tolerate seeing him going to bed hungry, and it’s really hard for me too. 🙁

    He’s always been fussy with textures ever since we started feeding him. He can take crunchy food, or semi-liquids like yoghurt, but never mixed together. Like even now, he won’t eat yoghurt with fruit bits. All his food needs to be separated, Rice, chicken, veggies. Unless I force feed him, he will not take two types together most of the time, but will eat them separately. And it takes aages for him to try a new food. But I have no idea how this sensitivity to textures has anything to do with his willingness to eat.

    Please help.

  38. Hi, I’ve been going through so many eating articles where ever i can find them, and basically all the advice boils down to is “they’ll eat when they are hungry”. This is so frustrating, when you don’t have a frame of reference as to gauge for how long you can let this go on, or if there’s really something else you should be looking into. My son now almost 4 was born at 7 months. We followed all the guidelines given by his doc and he gained weight and was on track by 12mnths. I gave him all types of food (yes ALL) when I fed him. Then when he started finger foods, he was really good at it, eating even noodles by himself. Ofcourse i still fed him most of the food in between. But at 1.5yrs, he stopped everything. Wouldn’t sit at the table, wouldn’t eat hardly anything, I had to continue baby food for longer than I wanted to. for about a year, he would only eat either store bought fries, chips, plain pasta/speghetti/noodles, fish/chicken. He survived on milk/yoghurt/juice till he was almost 2.5 yrs. Things have improved a lot now. He eats a wider range of things. But now, its been a struggle getting him to feed himself. few days ago I decided I can’t keep on feeding him, and told him he can either eat himself, what he’s given for meals, or not. I was not going to make substitute meals and I was not going to feed him. two days now, he refuses lunch and dinner altogether. wakes up in the middle of the night from hunger and keeps me awake. The second night I offered the banana he didn’t eat at dinner, and he refused. So I said, fine, if you’re not hungry, you can go back to sleep. He was awake and crying till dawn!. This is so hard to see. How long do I keep this on for? My husband can’t tolerate seeing him going to bed hungry, and it’s really hard for me too. 🙁

    He’s always been fussy with textures ever since we started feeding him. He can take crunchy food, or semi-liquids like yoghurt, but never mixed together. Like even now, he won’t eat yoghurt with fruit bits. All his food needs to be separated, Rice, chicken, veggies. Unless I force feed him, he will not take two types together most of the time, but will eat them separately. And it takes aages for him to try a new food. But I have no idea how this sensitivity to textures has anything to do with his willingness to eat.

    Please help.

    • Hello, I totally understand your frustration, but wanted to see if you have read a lot on my site. I do not advocate just letting them go hungry, ever. There is a TON of info on here. I would ask you to start with the eating basics tab in the menu bar and then click on the links at the end to get started with more advanced strategies. I encourage you to follow a slower approach instead of going cold turkey on the feeding. Read that article and then get back to me if you need more help. Also, make sure you ALWAYS have one food he likes at every meal, serve him the rest of what you are eating as well and try to make this coordinate with the rest of your meal.

  39. I am at a loss. My 6 year old refuses to eat anything, his favorite foods, snack food, candy anything. This has been going on for a long time. The only way we get him to eat is to sit with him and literally tell him to take a bit, chew, swallow, take another bite, and on. It’s to the point he is not gaining weight and his pediatrician is concerned because he hasn’t gained weight in a year. Physically he is fine we have run just about every medical test to confirm there is nothing wrong which are all normal. We are now giving him an Ensure Plus shake with 2 extra scoops of Ensure powder in it every night before bed just to get calories into him (which again we have to tell him take a drink and swallow, and another). We have talked to nutritionist with no help. He sees a therapist for his ADHD and ODD and his eating is discussed but it doesn’t change. We’ve had people he looks up to talk to him about it but nothing changes. I am at a complete loss. The Dr is talking about a feeding tube if something doesn’t change. I am looking for any suggestions or things to try because I am at a complete and utter loss on what to do.

    • Oh my gosh Nikki, I’m so sorry. I can imagine how difficult this situation is. Has he always been this way or did it change at some point? Have you ever seen an OT or speech therapist that specializes in feeding? There is no pressure, but I am available for consults, you can find out more in the menu bar.

  40. I have been researching information about why my daughter doesn’t eat, and I came across your page. It was the best breakdown about why a child wouldn’t be eating that I have found. My daughter will be 3 in 2 months, and has always been an “okay” eater. I think that she would fall into the “mechanics” area because she has always held food in her cheeks, spit it out, sometimes gagging and throwing it up. Once I realized what she was doing I would limit how much she would have in her mouth, make the pieces/sizes smaller so it was easier to chew, and she did better. I would show her how I chewed, and then swallowed once it was chewed. She seemed to be doing a lot better. However, this past week she has slowly declined. She has seems upset/anxious if she has eaten the “bad” part of the food and that it is still in her stomach. (Her vocabulary is quite large, and so she does explain herself half decent.) When I tell her she ate the good part, she still cries and tells me she ate the bad part. This has happened every day for the past week, and this scenario (eating, worrying/crying, comforting her, eating the same thing, wanting to get it out of her). She is at my mother’s and MIL’s house when I work part time during the week, so I don’t know if something was said to make her afraid of eating a bad part. I have talked to them, and they have said she does the same thing, but they can’t think of what would have been said. For the last day and half she refuses all food, and says she will only drink chocolate milk. I give her foods she normally loved, and she refuses them saying “I don’t want to eat anymore.” I don’t know if this is a phase, if I should contact her pediatrician, or something more drastic. Please help. I would appreciate it!

    • It sounds like she may have had a bad experience with food or heard something as you expected. She is so young so reasoning with her will probably not get you far. I would try to change up the routine by eating out or having a picnic- something fun. Also, keep mealtimes no pressure at all and talk about something else. Tell her it is her choice if she eats (which it really is), but you are going to sit down for the meal. Make sure she has some highly preferred foods there as well. That doesn’t mean you have to totally cater to her though. The goal right now is for her to feel no pressure and have positive experiences at meals. Let me know how it goes after a few days.

  41. Non of these articles helped me figure out what my daughters problem is.. she is 2 1/2yrs.. still don’t chew anything solid.. there ia nothing she likes to eat.. we have tried in many different ways.. routine and non routine.. with other kids.. alone.. infront of tv .. but nothing works.. she just hate food.. only thing she like is her milk bottle at bed time around 6pm and at early morning around 6am. Even doctors give this same advice in this article.. but i dont know what to do anymore

    • I’m sorry this hasn’t been helpful to you. If she isn’t chewing food there is likely a sensory component or a difficulty with chewing. Sometimes these difficulties aren’t obvious and require the help of a professional. I have worked with many families in similar situations and know how stressful the situation is. Even though a routine isn’t going to help anything over night it is the first step. If you are able I would strongly recommend seeing an OT or SLP that specializes in feeding. Please feel free to email me if you have more concerns (alisha@yourkidstable.com) Lastly, there is a new book that I will be reviewing next week: Helping Your Child With Extreme Picky Eating by Katja Rowell- I highly recommend it.

  42. hello, I googled “my kid is not eating” and i have been reading through different websites looking for answers.
    I see your post was written about 2 years ago, I hope the blog still works. I am commenting all the way from Nigeria Africa. My two year old stopped eating abruptly, its my first child so im getting a little worried hence why i turned to google. He was a great eater who ate everything and just as he was turning 2 in april just suddenly stopped. I thought maybe he was ill but he’s energy level hasn’t dropped, he is a super active boy. I read your article but i cant seem to place him under any category seeing as he just stopped eating suddenly. I dont know what to do sometimes i get so frustrated and start crying. please help!!!1

    • Hello from Nigeria! I am still here! First, have you checked with a doctor just to make sure that there isn’t anything medical going on. Second, I would encourage you to keep things consistent by offering regular meals- see my eating basics tab in the menu bar. Give him a highly preferred meal and keep it positive, no stress, no pressure. Hopefully, this will pass, but you don’t want to make it worse. Let me know how it goes.

  43. I am now 19 years old. I LOVED fruits and veggies as a toddler, but somewhere around 5 I stopped altogether. I am very big on texture issues (ex: rice) and smell. I have tried fequently to eat healthier and integrate suvh things back into my diet, but nothing has truly stuck. It is a HUGE concern of mine, and since I am older, I do know tastes change. Have any of you experienced this yourself or your children?

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience Amy! I’m curious have you experienced any other sensory sensitivities? Do you not like getting dirty or do certain types of clothes bother you? It is a little unusual for sensory preferences to change at that age, but you may have had an experience that left an impression and it kind of created a “rut” in the way you process that information since then. For example, if you were sick and vomiting a lot.

      • Aisha, it is definitely hard to say. I have had depression since I was 7, and developed more mental health issues that could have also led to this. I know around that time I still ate school lunches, sanwhiches and freezer foods, and even home cooked meals. I also remember just sleeping at the table or crying until I threw up if anyone tried the “wont leave the table until you eat these …”. I can not remember anything severe enough to inprint these habits, except maybe medicines (that were definitely NOT cherry/grape). I really wish I knew!

        • Thanks for the reply Amy. I was just wondering because it helps give me insight into the feelings that kids may be experiencing, but can’t articulate. And that is why I never recommend instituting that rule! Wishing you the best.

  44. You may have just given me the answer. My son HATES fruit. People are constantly frowning at me and trying to force me to force my son to eat fruit. Most kids love grapes, melon etc., not my son. Even when he was a baby he would spit it out. When he was old enough he would tell me “it’s slimy Mum. It’s yucky”. When I read the sensory processing section, it all just clicked. Now, at the age of 7, nothing has changed and I have given up on the fruit completely. There is list of other things that are forbidden as well but I can usually incorporate them into other dishes that he will eat. I try to get him those vitamins he is missing out on through kids vitamins, fruit bars etc. For everyone else out there going through this, I feel your pain. Hang in there

  45. My 1.5 yo has always been on the picky side. Whenever I would make something new it never was a big hit. And when I seemed to find something she liked, the next time i would make it for her, she wouldn’t take a bite. Well she went through the teething process a bit earlier than most babies so most of the time I would write it off as that. I feel like now there’s always at least one meal a day that’s a struggle. One thing that I find has helped was to not make her so much food at once! I felt like it was necessary to try to have one thing from every food group for each meal, trying to over compensate for the nutrition she wasn’t getting. Well, if I make her only 2 different things for a meal I find that she eats a lot better than if she has an abundance of food in front of her. Hope this tip can help a momma out there! I think it would be a great read if someone did a follow up on this article on tips to help your picky eater for each of these categories!

    • Thanks Candice for the tip and suggestion. If you are looking for more on picky eating, see the article index in the menu bar… you will find A LOT more strategies there.

  46. My 4 year old son will only eat ready made meals for 1-2 year old children, and a selected few other foods, he was always a great eater however he developed repeat tonsillitis and as a result had his tonsils removed. After the opp he stopped eating as he in my option associates food with pain? We have tried everything we can think off getting him to spend time with other kids his age at meal times, talking to him getting him to help prepare meals etc.
    I consider his issues to be physiological and wonder if any body has been through a similar situation?

    • Gary, this can happen as well. Kids will have a negative experience and then they get stuck in a rut, as they are scared to branch out. I just did a review on an awesome new book, very easy to read that I think would be really helpful. See the article index in the menu bar or the home page: Helping your Child with Extreme Picky Eating. Try removing all pressure for him to eat other foods, make sure he always has something he likes at all meals, and eat with him so he sees other foods being eaten. Also, serve all foods family style so that he can take as little as he wants and begin to interact with it in a positive way. You may see changes in a few days or few weeks. Anything new is progress.

  47. są łatwe odzwierciedlić całość rzeczy ślubnych, sumarycznie spośród bliskimi, jeżeli czekają iż naznaczenie się na nie dostarczy im zaobserwowaną pociecha.
    Istnieją diabelnie nieszczere a gdyby racja wówczas potrafię ugadać – stałe.
    W 4 trafach na 5 dobitnie kandydaty zostawieniem uregulowań do zbitego inwentarza.

  48. My 6 year old niece came to stay at my house for a couple of days but she has trouble eating and she is anemic as well. I am worried because she simply refuses to eat solid food. For example i ordered pizza and she started crying after we told er to eat it, she continued to pick apart to pizza when we asked her what she was doing she said that she didnt like the sauce so she wouldnt eat it. Another example of this is she doesnt like egg whites even if they are scrambled she will cry and refuse to eat. The only thing she will eat is junk food which we dont allow her to eat but it is really stressful because her nose has been bleeding and i want to know if someone else has this problem with their child.

  49. My 6 year old niece came to stay at my house for a couple of days but she has trouble eating and she is anemic as well. I am worried because she simply refuses to eat solid food. For example i ordered pizza and she started crying after we told er to eat it, she continued to pick apart to pizza when we asked her what she was doing she said that she didnt like the sauce so she wouldnt eat it. Another example of this is she doesnt like egg whites even if they are scrambled she will cry and refuse to eat. The only thing she will eat is junk food which we dont allow her to eat but it is really stressful because her nose has been bleeding and i want to know if someone else has this problem with their child.

    • It sounds like she has some picky eating difficulties. I would get in touch with her parents and see what they normally do. I would expose her to as much as possible, but have at least one food there that she likes. Some kids will not eat eventually, they will go hungry.

  50. As a pediatric OT as well I feel this is a very well written article….BUT there is one CRITICAL piece I feel is missing that would make it even better! 😉 Food sensitivities! “You are what you eat” is true and I have spent the last 5 years of my practice educating myself on what is in foods today and how it is affecting our brains, bodies, development etc. and then guiding families through elimination trials. I have seen even the pickiest of eaters turn around sometimes dramatically in only a few months, constipation and reflux stop when milk is eliminated, sleep and diarrhea stop when wheat and gluten are removed, sensory defensive seem to disappear with eliminations, kids begin to eat new foods and enjoy foods, ear infections stop completely after milk is eliminated….I could go on and on. you said that your son’s constipation started at a year and interestingly I hear that often because it’s when most kids start on cow’s milk–timing is everything. I also often hear that ear infections begin shortly after a year. Overall, what is in our food today is appalling. I would highly recommend the book “Cure Your Child with Food’ by Kelly Dorfman for more insight–nope I have no affiliations with it at all, but I have recommended it to many families and then guided them through implementing some of the recommendations with great success 😉 Thanks for this article!…Just wanted to share that with you though as another piece to the puzzle 😉 God Bless.

    • Thank you so much Bridget for sharing that!!! This post was written a few years ago, and I should update it again to include this. I am much more aware of these dietary issues now. I found Kelly’s book earlier this year and featured it in a constipation series, it was wonderful. My older two boys now only have milk seldomly and surprise, surprise the constipation issues have nearly resolved! I’m curious, did you take any continuing education courses in particular that you would recommend regarding the food sensitivities? Thanks again!

  51. I didn’t read all the comments, so this may have been mentioned. My kids will stop eating a food if it’s hard for them to get it into their mouths. For example, my son will eat a bowlful of soup if I feed it to him but stop after a few bites if I leave him to it. He will eat a good sized sandwich if I hold it and help him take bites, but will leave it on his plate if I don’t. I decided I don’t want eating to be a test of whether or not he can hold his food! He’s nearly 4 and I’m more than willing to help him finish food he truly likes by holding the item or utensil for him. He’ll learn eventually (and of course I always have him try a few bites himself too).

    Also, consider food allergies (and this may be related to reflux). I firmly believe that sometimes (not always) children will refuse a food they know will cause some kind of reaction, whether it’s just digestive discomfort, mouth itchiness, or true allergy.

    Yours are great tips and thanks for opening up this conversation! Let’s quit making food a battleground 🙂

    • Thanks Diane, yes good points to consider! I think if the helping with feeding is okay with you and it is working for your family that’s great!

  52. Hi Alisha. My daughter is a former 27.5 weeker preemie, she’ll be 5 in April. Up until about a month ago, she was a fabulous eater…especially with veggies and steak. All of a sudden she basically stopped eating. She doesn’t have any particular thing she likes anymore except protein drinks…and all beef hot dogs some days. She’s losing weight and I’m very concerned that she’s withering away quickly. She claims she “hates food” but when I ask her why, she says she doesn’t remember. I know with her being a preemie she’s apt to have sensory issues, but I don’t understand why all of a sudden. Any input would be greatly appreciated!!!

    • I have to say that is fairly unusual, and my guess would be that either something negative happened during eating or there is something medical going on. She may have choked or gagged unexpectedly on a piece of food, which would have created a negative response and then she started to refuse food. Now she is in the habit and can’t remember why it started. Medically, she could be constipated, have stomach pain (possibly from reflux), a loose tooth that is painful, or molars erupting. Try to dig a little more to see if you can get to the route of the problem but don’t obsess over it. If you can’t figure it out and this continues I would consider having her seen by a GI docotor just to rule anything out more serious. In the meantime, offer her regular meals, including some of her most highly preferred foods. Don’t pressure her at all and eat together talking about other things. I wouldn’t even praise her for eating well, because that can be pressure to. Good luck, I hope that helps!

  53. My child has been a “picky eater” since birth, and I’ve never been given good advice how to deal with this. The blame/fault has always been placed on us as parents, when nothing I’ve tried has ever worked. It wasn’t until one of my patients (yes, I’m in medical field, but I think sometimes the pediatricians ignore our mother instincts more so) who was a pediatric therapist, talked to me about picky eating, and the light bulb went off. My child has sensory issues! So, my question is, now that she’s already 7, would it still be worthwhile to try therapy of some kind?

    • Thanks for your comment, I hear similar stories all the time! I have a whole post now on sensory processing and picky eating, you can find that by searching in the side bar or hitting the article index in the menu bar. To answer your question though, no she is definitely not too old. Just make sure you find an experienced therapist, don’t hesitate to interview the company you go with ahead of time to make sure they will be a good fit.

  54. Wow, look at all these comments! I’m definitely going to pick this website apart for help, but I have one question for you in the meantime. My almost 4 year old “front-loads” his calories (meaning he eats almost non-stop until about 2 pm and then will not eat after that no matter what. Well, that was the case for about 2 years. I think he has finally gotten through that but is stuck in the habit of it. So eating dinner is still a major issue almost every night. Can you recommend any tips to get him eating dinner? This kid was born in the 95th percentile, and stayed that way. Now he has been 37 lbs for a year straight. Any tips are appreciated! Thank you!

  55. You forget something: also mostly overlooked by most doctors is the reason for most acid reflux cases, stomach pain and all kinds of vague symptoms, namely a FOOD ALLERGY (most common cowmilk). So only the symptom is treated, not the cause, and since most kids overgrow their food allergy after a year, the inital culprit is never identified. Later on, there kids will often get tubes in their ears, and other problems that are mostly not linked to the cause.

  56. Thank you for sharing. It can be frustrating to help your child eat their food. For me, my eldest loses her appetite right before a growth spurt, and once it passes she starts eating like crazy again and asking for seconds or thirds. This started when she was about 2.5 years. She is now 3.5 years. Most recently we’ve dealt with constipation issues with her, so it’s a challenge to decifer sometimes why she’s not eating.
    I don’t know if other children go through appetite loss,but I thought I’d share in the event another mom struggles with that.

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