1. Thanks for sharing all this info in a post! I got early intervention for my son when he was 2 he is now 4 & has done a complete turn around! I love sharing info with others who may not know about these types of services.

  2. Just to clarify, across states- the Early Intervention coordination is free but many states have to charge for the therapies that are usually contracted out. Assessment and evaluation are required to be free. Therapies are not. Wish all states covered these!

  3. Yes, our EI therapy (in AZ) does have a cost, dependent on one’s income. But’s it less than private therapy, they come to our house(!), and we’re very happy with our therapist. 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing this information. I was lucky in that when my son started showing red flags for developmental delays I had a lot of people in my life that explained EI and its benefits to me but I know a lot of parents have no idea and can find it intimidating. I still found it intimidating. But as a parent I can’t agree enough what a difference EI can make. I know it has helped my son (and me) so much over the past 8 months. I would encourage any Mom (or Dad) who is on the fence about whether to have their child evaluated or not to go ahead and do it.

    In the state of Massachusetts, all services (as of March/April 2013) are not charged to the parents but to your health insurance and to the State Department of Public Health (I think…) I received a bill when I first enrolled but haven’t received one since and was told that Massachusetts residents no longer pay out of pocket for services.

    In addition to EI – blogs like yours offer tremendous support. I have referred a lot of Moms to your site – as it was a tremendous help getting my son past his sensory challenges with table food. Thank you.

  5. I have 6 month-old boy/girl twins. They were born a bit early, and because my partner had complications from the birth, her milk took a very long time to come in, so the the babies were bottle fed initially. We worked with lactation specialists to get both of them breast feeding, and my daughter got the hang of it first. Then, when they were about a month old or so, she started refusing the breast–crying hard when offered. We again worked with lactation specialists, and eventually they concluded that she had just developed a strong preference for the bottle and that we really couldn’t do anything about it. Then, she started having issues with the bottle. She’d push the nipple out of her mouth, or clamp her mouth shut, even when she had to be hungry. By 3 months, we found that she would eat more readily if she was swaddled, and most reliably if she was swaddled and in her swing.

    Now at 6 months, she still is really finicky about the bottle. She’ll make a gagging sound as we approach her with it–it seems to indicate that she doesn’t want it. She also gags or chokes and coughs while drinking pretty frequently. Now that we’re introducing solids, she is exhibiting some of the same signs in reaction to the spooned food. (Cereal, various pureed vegetables and fruits). Her brother is enthusiastically gobbling up the food and has no problems with the bottle.

    I’m not sure if she really has issues of concern, or if she just seems difficult in relation to him. So one question is whether her issues seem like they are in the realm of normal, or are concerning? Her doctor says not to stress about it as long as she’s gaining weight. (She’s in the 20th percentile now after being as low as 7th as a newborn). I also don’t know whether I should “trick” her into opening her mouth by getting her to smile so that I can get the spoon in, or try to get her to actually open for the spoon? I don’t want to cause additional problems by doing the wrong thing.

    Any other advice?

    • I would definitely not trick- I know it’s tempting, but your instincts are right- in the long run it can cause more damage. I hear that response from doctors often- they are usually only concerned with the bottom line. I don’t want to freak out, but I would get her evaluated, just to make sure nothing else is going on. Silent reflux is jumping out at me -see the article index at the top menu for more on this. However, there are a variety of issues that could cause that behavior. In the meantime, keep meals as positive as possible. Try to just let her explore the food, keep it light and fun through play. Let me know if I could be of more help.

  6. Just stumbled upon your page. I have a ten month old boy who hasn’t learned to self-feed. We do lots of practice and I offer him finger foods, but he really only wants puréed food. He is breastfed, and all other milestones seen to be on track. Wondering if I should pursue an evaluation. Also feeling silly because I have a masters in special education but know nothing about early intervention with babies/eating! His ped says not to worry, but something seems off to me. Thank you!!

    • Hi Bryana, please- feeding is truly a specialty all in itself, I’d be more surprised if you were expert! You know, he could grow out of it, but I all too often see this as a first red flag. One that docs often blow off, if there is a problem it will continue to get worse. Because, your gut is telling you something else is going on I would definitely get an eval- at the very least it will give you peace of mind. Make sure you read my posts on transitioning to table foods- see the article index or popular posts in the side bar. Let me know how it goes.

  7. Update: my little stinker waited until our EI rep came and then decided to start finger feeding the next day! Too funny. He has his favorites but he’s trying much more now and also mouthing toys. Learning new tricks everyday, I feel so much better! Thanks for your support and I’ll be sure to keep the blog bookmarked!

  8. I’m in the process of getting my 22 month old screened for a speech regression issue as well as a eating sensory issue. Just a FYI: West Virginia has a FREE (both the evaluations and the therapies) Birth to Three program.

  9. Just stumbled onto your sight today desperate to help my son. Hadn’t thought before reading through your articles that he almost definitely is a problem eater. Unfortunately, he has missed the age bracket. He is three and a half. I first started seeing signs that he was a problem eater when he was two, but at the time we were living out of the country, in France. I think all of the transition internationally has aided in his eating dilemma significantly, as before we left for France he was the better eater of my two kids and displayed no overly irrational signs of picky eating. We are currently living in Ohio, but only till the end of of the summer. Possibly California after that. I tried to follow the string of linked websites to see if either of these states offer free help for kids under five but couldn’t find any clear information. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places? Nevertheless, I couldn’t find any concrete resources. Any help or advice you have to offer would be wonderful. This is completely new territory for me!

    • I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but from my understanding California’s services aren’t very good even for kids under 3. I would look into it still, though. Of course, if your insurance covers it private therapy is always an option. Here is all the info for Ca and OH:

      Part C Coordinator
      Children and Family Services Branch
      Department of Developmental Services
      1600 9th Street, Room 330, MS 3-8
      Sacramento , CA , 95814
      (800) 515-2229
      (916) 654-2773

      Bureau of Early Intervention Services
      Ohio Department of Health
      246 N. High Street, 5th Floor
      Columbus , OH , 43215
      (614) 644-8389

      Please let me know if you need more help. This info is from the I Can Teach My Child website.

  10. Hi and thank you!! As I’ve only read two of your articles so far. We are at a lose our 22month old will refuse food and ask to breastfeed even while at the dinner table she nurses approximately 12+ times during the day and almost all night long. She is developing strongly in all other areas except the mentioned food and sensory area, as she even refuses to lay down in the bath tub even while I would offer my arm as support. I usually revert to using the big cup to get her hair wet and rinsed.

    • Thanks for your comment. I think an eval would be a great idea, sensory processing difficulties can have a huge affect on eating. Let me know if you need any help.

  11. Hello and thank you for this blog! My son has just turned 10 months and eats almost no solid food (table food nor purees). I have followed a lot of your advice for giving him different textures and tastes, making meals not stressful, etc, but he just won’t eat. Most of the time, he just touches the food with his fingers, maybe puts it to his lips, and then drops it. Sometimes I can get him to gnaw on a piece of bread, There used to be one or two purees he would eat, but now he won’t eat those either. I’m concerned because his weight is low, but he only wants to breastfeed or drink cow milk (we offered him cow milk while attempting to get him to take formula to supplement, but he will only drink the milk plain, without formula powder). Often times, he won’t even touch the food to his lips, but will just feel it with his fingers, shiver, and refuse to even taste. I’m worried about his weight, but also worried that this is extreme pickiness, or that he has some sensory problem with all textures. Do you have any advice?

    For what it’s worth, my 3.5 year old also didn’t take to solid food quickly, but she was willing to try almost anything and was eating VERY well by 11 months. We did a month or so of purees, then mashed table foods, then chunky table foods/self feeding. She’s not picky at all and still eats well. I’ve tried to do this for my son, but it just doesn’t seem to be working.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Emelia, I’m sorry this response has taken a few days, I know you’ve been waiting. It does sound like something is going on… First, I would definitely recommend getting an eval as I described in this post. Second, I just published an article yesterday on sensory and picky eating that I think will be helpful.

      I want you to start with dry crunchy textures that melt. If he won’t take them, demonstrate your brains out in a stress free way. Give him these textures to play with three times a day. Have him and your daughter eat together as much as possible. Start brushing his teeth and brush his tongue as well. This will help him begin to desensitize to textures. I would also experiment with getting him to interact with food outside of meals. Try putting jello in a big bowl and letting him play for example. There is no pressure at all, but I am also available for consults if you want to discuss strategies or for me to coach you live via skype/facetime.

      Does he chew on his toys? Does he put a lot of things in his mouth?

      • Thank you so much for your reply. I read your blog about puffs, so I bought him some about a month ago. For about two weeks he would feed himself the puffs and let me spoon feed him a few different purees (prunes, pumpkin, carrots, and squash soup with peanut butter), but now he refuses ALL foods on a spoon and won’t eat the puffs either. I thought maybe he was bored, so I bought a new flavor, but he won’t even pick them up, or if he does, he just touches them to his lips and drops them. It’s strange to me that he used to tolerate purees and put the puffs in his mouth, but now he won’t. As far as I can tell, he’s not teething at the moment.

        I will try the other things you’ve suggested. I’ve been chewing in front of him and having him eat with my daughter at the table, but I’ll do more food play.

        And yes, he puts everything in his mouth! Any object I had him goes straight to his mouth and gets chewed on. But when I put food in front of him, he will MAYBE take a taste or two, and then just reaches for his pacifier, cries, and won’t take any more.

        • Forgot to say… I got the email to contact someone in Ohio about a consultation, but I may contact you for a Skype call as well, depending on how quickly I hear back from them. Thanks again.

          • That’s great! Hopefully they will be able to come out soon.

            As for the purees it is normal for babies to be over them, that should happen. The problem in this case is that he hasn’t begun to eat any other foods. Try some of the other foods I mention in the post as well, he may need a bit of a change. I would also make that pacifier disappear when meal time comes around without him realizing of course.

            I’m glad he is mouthing things! That is very good. Has he ever had a significant choking/gagging event, or perhaps an illness that resulted in a lot of vomiting? Any of those can create a negative association.

  12. Yes, there was one event, although I didn’t think it was THAT significant. He was gumming a cracker about two months ago and got a little piece off, and began to cough/choke. I patted his back (hard) and he coughed it out and threw up. Could that really scar him? And how do I undo the damage?

    I got some rice cake things, since he won’t eat the puffs anymore, and stuff for sensory bins and food play. I’ve also scheduled for him to have an EI appointment in a month.

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