Eating!!!!!!

by Jessica
(Tyler, TX)

My name is Jessica and my son's name is AJ. He is 3 years and 8 months old. I've posted here before about his language disorder. OK... I have read about how to get picky eaters to eat. I've read about getting an electric toothbrush to help with oral defensiveness. I have SUCH a picky eater. I've found a small variety of healthy foods, so I know he won't starve, but it just really bothers me. He's in speech and OT twice a week, and I pick him up as he's finishing lunch at his preschool. If they are having bologna sandwiches, he is only eating the bread and pulling out the meat and cheese. Today they were having chicken noodle soup, and his teacher had put peanut butter (the staple of his diet) on some saltines... probably so he wouldn't starve to death.


I mean, this dates back to when he was 5 WEEKS OLD!!!! I nursed him, but wanted to go back to college while I was off work. So I did what the books at the time said and waited until he was about 3-4 weeks old (I think they say 2 now) and tried giving him a bottle of breast milk. I tried it EVERY way. I tried his dad giving it to him, just about all his grandparents, I tried giving it to him myself. Then the last time I tried, I waited until he was hungry, gave his grandmother a bottle and left the room for something like 2 HOURS! Guess what??? He never drank it. He just cried the entire time. So I went to college online... and my breasts were his slaves for 9 months. Then I managed to get him on a sippy cup (still didn't want that bottle) and I think the only reason it worked was because my milk dried up so that was the ONLY way he could get food and he knew it!

So, my question is... Is there any way to get him to eat something besides PB&Js, cheese and crackers, and applesauce. I'm really only exaggerating a little bit by saying that's all he eats! I mean, he'll eat pizza, but not homemade, and not if there's anything at all peculiar about the toppings, etc., etc. I just want him to enjoy eating someday! So any tricks would be appreciated!

-Jessica

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I had/have one of those seriously picky eaters as well. She is much better now, but she still won't touch meat with a ten foot pole. She is a self-proclaimed vegetarian!

I also dedicated an entire newsletter to this very topic, which I think you will find extremely helpful! You can read that by clicking here... Resistant And Picky Eaters. MANY tips and tricks, as well as basic explanations as to what may be going on.

I do have three additional excellent resources to suggest to you that may help:

Just Take A Bite
(an AMAZING book...written by an OT and SLP together!)

Munchkin Menus


Besides this, since your son is seeing an OT and an SLP, there is no reason THEY shouldn't be helping you address this issue!! I am wondering why they aren't. Are they only through the school?? Or are they private? I don't remember if you gave us that information on your other post. Has your son "officially" been diagnosed with SPD and/or oral defensiveness? Do they work on this at all? Have they tried the Wilbarger Oral Tactile Technique? Have they done anything to desensitize his mouth and help him better process oral input?

I do hope the resources I led you to help. Please talk to your OT and SLP about your concerns. If they don't address it... get another OT or SLP!

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Aug 24, 2009
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im just like that.
by: kelsey

I have a problem with food, I only eat pizza rolls, and chicken nuggets. Ive been like this, since I can remember... Im perfectly healthy, and Im a varsity cheerleader, etc.

My mom, would sometimes serve me less food at a time, because a theory, that I would become "overwhelmed" by all the food. So that may help, or your son, will sadly turn out like me. Kids like me, miss out on a lot of food:( it all smells good, but i just gag, when i try too eat it...

Feb 21, 2009
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
by: Anonymous

Well I start by saying you are not alone parents! My son will be 3 and the only thing he will eat is crunchy foods. No mac-and-cheese well actually no noodles. No meat except for chicken nuggets,no applesauce,no potatoes, it seems like nothing not even bread.. Now this makes it very difficult as a parent you want your child to eat right. But what can you do?

I know I have tried everything and exhausted all efforts to get my child to even try some of these foods. I too have and otc coming in. I also have a couple of teachers that come in and still no improvements at all with regards to eating issues. Now the doctor says my son is right on with his weight and his age. So he is growing nicely but I've noticed he gets sick all the time. And yet I wonder if it has anything to do with his poor diet.

So I have put him on vitamins which worked for a while but he started getting sick again. So then I put him on Carnation Breakfast's still no change. I even tried those expensive Pediasure drinks. What an expensive Joke. So again I say you are not alone.

May 12, 2008
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Just give it time and therapy.
by: Daniel Travis

At three and a half years, I'm sure I was horribly picky, maybe even worse than that. As I continued to receive treatment, a lot of it went away and continued to play less and less of a role in daily living throughout elementary school. I was incredibly particular and everything had to be separated. I would often avoid meat and was more likely to eat the chewy fat than the meat itself.

A good majority of my defensiveness didn't go away until I was in middle school. I wasn't receiving treatment any more, and hadn't in seven years, but I started playing trombone avidly and my oral motor became much more fine-tuned and a lot of these issues clearer up. I should get back to playing.

There are few immediate night and day changes with SPD treatment, so continue to have patience. Problems can come and go at each developmental stage, and at 3 1/2 years, he's constantly going through stages, so a lot of issues will flare up and then eventually go away. It takes time to clear issues and a lot of things have to be solved one at a time, but as long as you guys continue to support him and provide the appropriate treatment, things will get better.

Continue to have hope and faith.

BTW: As for the bottle feeding, I just hope for your sake he wasn't like me. I had horrible oral motor issues and was, subsequently, a BITER! I can't imagine how desperate my mom was at wanting to eventually be able to switch to the bottle. Good perseverance on her part, I guess.

Good luck to you guys.

Dec 20, 2007
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He IS a resistant eater!
by: Jessica

I haven't had time to finish, but after reading a bit of the SPD Companion on this topic, it's very clear that AJ is a resistant eater. He eats virtually no vegetables and the only meats he'll eat are hot dogs and chicken fingers, and not always. It also seems to me that his foods are all either soft or crunchy, no other textures in particular, and they are all very similar in color. So there's a little bit more info. I suppose I'd better buy one of the books you mentioned!

Let me know if you have any other suggestions.
Thanks,
Jessica

Dec 20, 2007
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Additional Info
by: Anonymous

He's getting private therapy, but I haven't asked them to help with the eating. I don't think I really knew that they could help with this. I'm curious about the Wilbarger OTT, I was not familiar with it until your last newsletter. Here's the thing though... I'm not sure if it's really oral defensiveness, or if it's more the way the food looks, or maybe even smells.

Occasionally, my boyfriend is able to get AJ to try something he normally won't eat (such as ANY vegetable!) and then AJ will take a few bites on his own. But then, the next time it's presented, he won't eat it again. I've seen him gag on a few things as a baby, but that hasn't happened recently when we've managed to get him to try a bite. Wouldn't he react differently if it were true oral defensiveness?

I did used to have to hold him down to brush his teeth when we first started, but he generally does very well now. I try to do it vigorously or use the electric toothbrush per things I've read about the helpfulness of such things. I just don't know. He, like lots of SPD kids I've read about, just doesn't seem to "fit" in any category very neatly. He's got a little of this and a little of that.

I think the OT and SLP he sees are doing a good job... he's basically a new person in the last 2-3 months since we started. I can actually take him in public again!! Eating is really the only area that I've seen virtually no improvement in. We will not be in therapy next week due to the Holidays, but I will talk to them about it next time now that I know this is something they can address in therapy. And I'll re-read your articles to see if anything jumps out at me that I've never tried. I feel at this point that I've tried everything, and sometimes don't know if it's really worth the battle!

Thanks,
Jessica

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I think talking to the OT and SLP are a good idea. Given his sensitivity to oral input (might be textures) and olfactory input, maybe visual too. Sounds like a good program for overall sensory defensiveness might be useful. See what they say, ok? Glad you read the Wilbarger Protocol for sensory defensiveness newsletter because that sounds like what you may be dealing with... some unresolved sensory defensiveness. I am also pleased to hear you are having tremendous success in OT and Speech Therapy.


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