How Do I Get My 3yr Old To Try One New Food

by Denien
(Palatine, IL)

I have a 3yr old twin boy who has low tone and SPD. He has been seeing an OT, PT and speech therapist for about 1 1/2 years. He really has come a long way and both his OT & PT have a child with SPD, so we talk about many things. I also have read The Out-of-Sync Child and Raising a Sensory Smart Child. We have a trampoline, ball pit, bean bag chairs, swing and we do the brushing and music therapy.

As an infant he would eat any baby food except the meat products. When we moved on to solids he loved yogurt and applesauce, bananas, bread, spaghetti, and ravioli. Now for the last eight months he will only eat pancakes, french toast, waffles, bread, cheerios, grilled cheese, lunchables, mac & cheese, hot dogs,lunch meat, cheese, yogurt, pudding and sometimes choc.cake. No veggies, and the only fruit is bananas. He won't even eat applesauce.

I have tried a lot of tricks including mixing the applesauce in vanilla yogurt and then putting it in the container of the trix yogurt. That he did take a bite, but knew right away it was different and wouldn't take another one. His normal response is to just shake off a new food. He won't touch it, he just looks and shakes his head no. He will put grapes to his lips but just holds onto the grape for hours but won't put it in his mouth. He still puts toys in his mouth, but wouldn't put a sucker in his mouth.

I am looking for any ideas that you may have. By the way, what a great website, Thank you!!


What I can say is... if anyone can help him, he is in good hands with your "team". If you weren't so involved in therapy already, especially speech and OT who are knowledgeable about SPD, I would direct you there. But, you are! So, my questions to you are regarding the specific treatment he is currently receiving, to address his oral defensiveness and/or motor skills. Are these two issues being addressed?

I am probably not telling you anything new, but the two biggest issues may be:

1. A defensive reaction to textures
2. Poor muscle strength and/or jaw stability for chewing

The foods he does eat are VERY typical for kids with oral defensiveness! They love their carbs. His preferences also are consistently one texture (even most applesauces have a texture to them, which may be why he doesn't like it anymore). Additionally, he chooses foods that re relatively easy to chew and "mush up" in his mouth. Fruits and veggies are not! (hehe, except bananas).

In light of this, there are a few things I suggest:

1. Absolutely, positively get the book Just Take A Bite (it is written by an OT and SLP; EXCELLENT book)

2. Make sure your OT, SLP, and you are working diligently on oral-motor skills-- especially strengthening and stability. His mouth and jaw may need to get stronger before he feels both comfortable and able to tolerate tougher foods.

3. Make sure your OT, SLP, and you are aggressively addressing the oral defensiveness with desensitization techniques. Use a NUK Trainer Toothbrush, electric toothbrush, and the The Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT) & Oral Tactile Technique (OTT) (IF your therapist has been trained to do it and teaches you). You can also desensitize his mouth immediately before and after trying a new food with ice, ice water, freeze pops, popsicles, etc.

4. Praise him for even ONE bite of a new food; whether he likes it/swallows it, or not. Try reinforcements, sticker charts, and rewards for even trying a bite.

5. PUREE fruits and veggies meanwhile, and give them to him as is, or sneak into things (for example, you can make cake, brownies and muffins with applesauce or spinach snuck in).

6. Read my picky eaters articles.

7. Know that this WILL get better as you work on it at home and in therapy, and as he gets older. Also, make sure he is taking a multi-vitamin meanwhile. He will be ok!

Keep up the great work. You will get through this. I think these resources should help. Let me know what you think in the comments box below.

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May 21, 2009
by: Anissa

I'm trying to get my two year old son to eat but all he eats r mac' and cheese, grilled cheese, toast, and doughnuts. How do I get him to start eating. Can you give me some ideas. Somthing that he would understand. thank you

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