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WW II Every Night At Dinner
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Ok someone please help, I cannot take this anymore. My 4 yr old who was the worlds pickiest eater before her diagnoses is now impossiable to feed. I have been to dietitians and all I get is what I cannot give her, not what I should give her. The only thing she will eat without a fight is coco pebbles.

She is not only gluten intolerant but also allergic to corn, eggs, peanuts, and others. I can find food that is ok to feed her but I cannot get here to eat it. I have tried letting her pick out her food, cook her food, pribed her to eat her food. Nothing works, I feel like I end up being the bad guy. Fight, fight, fight until we are both in tears. I don't want to be caving and letting her eat nothing but sweets, but also don't want to see her lose anymore weight. I'm horriable at this. I cannot spend every evening of my life like this. Since everything has to be made from scratch to eliminate the egg and corn syrup cooking 3 different things to try to get her to eat is too complicated. I just don't know how to be sure she is getting what her body needs if all she eats is coco pebbles.

She has never been on of those kids that will eat the samething over and over again. (unless it a sweet)

I have even taken her favorite foods and made them gluten and egg free and still she wont eat it. I think it may be my anxity that makes her not eat. Any ideas on how to resolve that?

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I don't know if this will work but... When my kids were about that age, there were many things they would not eat if I gave it to them. If my sister's husband was eating them, they had to have some. Not sure why, but they ate all kinds things off his plate. Is there an older kid or aunt or smeone that could help? One of mine started eating a lot of different things if he got to help cook them. She could pour things & stir?

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One thing we do with our little one is alternate. It's a rule we implemented where if she wants to eat <insert what food she Wants> she has to alternate one bite of one then the other. It doesn't work if she genuinely hates the food in question, but if we know it's something she's had and liked before then we stand firm. It's actually worked really well 99% of the time.

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I think it will be important for various reasons, both short and long-term, to have at least some of her food on the family dinner table for everyone to eat. Sets a good example for her, makes her feel included, makes her food feel more "normal". Even as an adult, I need that and my 13 yr old does too. We have a lot of separate food for one of us or the other but I try to have as much food shared as possible. My family eats my 20 allergen free dishes with me and I bring gluten-free things to church so that my son can share food with others. I also try and find as many "normal" foods that are naturally free of our allergens as possible. Lots of fruit and jello desserts get shared at functions rather than come up with gluten-free baked good that can compare to non-gluten-free.

Sometimes too many changes at once are overwhelming and cause revolt. I feel that way sometimes. I've had a boycot of meals a few times recently out of frustration etc. as I have diabetes and 20 food allergies and still becomeing allergic to new foods. I've always liked variety too and get bored with the same old same old, even if I like those foods, but I tire of researching new things and sometimes I don't feel like new things either with my sensitive system-starting to sound a bit like your kiddo? I had a colonoscopy recently and alothough the prep is not fun, it was sort of nice to have a break from food.

I understand your worry about the weight too. Diabetes left me terribly underweight and it has been a long struggle to get it back on and I still have a ways to go but it is quite a challenge with all my restrictions. I feel for you MOM. Wish I had a magic wand. Let us know if we can offer and ideas for meals, foods.

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You have gotten some great advice already. Since you mention your anxiety about the issue could you talk to your doctor and see if you can get a referral to a good child psychologist? Not for your little one but someone to talk to in a couple sessions about how to deal with the issue if the suggestions you have already gotten don't work. Your concerns are normal and being worried about it is also.

I really feel for you and hope that you find a way to get through your little ones feeding difficulties.

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Is it possible that your anxiety & frustration is upsetting her? You cannot show her how annoyed you get when she doesn't eat. Can she or will she drink a milkshake? sry I don't know if she can have dairy. Also be sure to give her a daily gluten-free multivitamin.

Make a list of the things she used to eat, & make or buy a gluten-free version. Try the idea above one spoon of food, one spoon of coco pebbles--eventually two spoons food, 1 pebbles & so on.

Good Luck!

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My pediatrician told me something once that I keep in mind to this day: if her food equals one good solid meal per day, you are doing great. Keep the fluids up and include some healthy snacks and that is the best you can do. If a child feels your stress about it, they will react to it.

I had to just put the food down and stop nagging. It seems to work. However, I know how stressful it is and there is some great advice on this thread.

Google ideas for food for toddlers or 4 year olds. I bet a bunch of it is gluten free naturally.

I hope it gets better soon.

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Have you ever looked into a sensory problem. They run in my family, and kids with them are usually hyper or hypo sensitive to a sense which causes them to be extremely picky about what they eat, touch, etc.

This link has some info on it

http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/

If it sounds like your daughter it might help to get her into occupational therapy, because they might be able to help

good luck

AP

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Maybe you have a grazer. My son is a grazer (he's not Celiac, btw). He's always been a little small. I never could get him to eat real meals. I'd keep him in his high chair or at the table FOREVER just to try to get some food in him. My pediatrician told me to lay off that I was stressing him out. ;)

He has always preferred snacking in between meals . . . and never eats a whole lot during a meal. When I've tried to cut out the snacking, it does NOT increase his mealtime consumption. Believe me, I've counted the calories. So, I just go with it. I get more calories in him if I let him graze. I just put stipulations on the foods he has during grazing . . . cheese sticks, peanut butter crackers, applesauce, bagels and he's got to be at the table because I don't want food all over the house. And nothing the hour before a meal.

I know your daughter can't have all the items that I mentioned, but could you leave her an item or two on the table that she could help herself to when she feels like eating and when you're not at the table with her overseeing her food consumption. (I really would enforce the "gotta eat at the table" rule, though).

Just a suggestion. It doesn't work for all kids. If I let my daughter do that, she wouldn't eat her meal at all.

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My son is very sensitive to textures so we've had to really work at his eating. One thing that helped me is making a list of what my son will eat and looking for commonalities. Then I tried to find things that were similar in texture/color. For example, he would do veggies if they were baby food, so I was able to introduce mashed sweet potatoes. He would do hotdogs but not chicken, so I realized it was the soft texture and was able to introduce tofu. I also do what someone else suggested - one bite of the new or least preferred item, then one bite of something he loves (in his case, cheese or Ian's alphabet potatoes). I had the most success when it was something that he really loves. Then you can gradually increase the ratio - 2 bites of the lesser preferred, one bite of the favorite. I only introduce one new thing at a meal, and make sure that I have something available that is familiar and that he will eat. I also noticed that it really helps if he's hungry, so if I'm introducing something new then I keep the snacking to a minimum.

Someone else suggested this, but if it doesn't get better then OT or a behavior therapist might be able to help.

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I feel for you! Been there :( It's very frustrating for you and your daughter. I would get to the point of tears and just want to beg my son to eat. My son would be screaming/crying by the end of dinner. Once we found out he had Celiac, it became easier. But the best method we've found for meal times is make something that the whole family can eat and don't force her to eat it. Take the pressure off and let her make the choice to eat what everyone else is eating. Even if she'll only eat cocoa pebbles for a while, it's ok. It will allow her stomach to grow and then she'll become more hungry overtime. Good Luck and know you're not alone!

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My daughter was picky at that age and also did a very weird thing at dinner. She would throw her fork down and scream that she was hungry and needed a snack. I would be like... Uh... But you have FOOD right there! I never figured that one out. I guess she thought a snack meant something else. Something she wanted to eat.

One rule I always had was that my daughter had to take a taste of everything on her plate. I might give her new foods. But I would never give her a food that I knew that she hated. Luckily for me she has always been one to give foods a second or third chance. Some months or even years will go by and she will ask to try the food again.

Perhaps you could try giving her a small plate of assorted foods that would lead to a balanaced diet. I have often read/heard that one mistake parents often make is giving the child too much food. At that age they really only need a couple of bites of each thing. Then tell her if she eats that she can have a small bowl of cereal.

My mother never understood why I did this with my daughter. In her case it was if she cleaned her plate she could have dessert. My reasoning was that if she ate that food, she would be full and then not want dessert. And it worked. She never had room for the dessert.

Are there any vitamins she can take? My daughter learned to swallow pills at an early age so that wasn't a problem. Getting her to take them was. And still is at age 13. She went through a phase of hiding the pills.

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Give her some decent and varied food and tell her that's the meal. Then walk away. Don't stand there and fret or yell. A hungry child will eventually eat. And, yes, I'm speaking from experience with a picky eater.

richard

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I agree with Richard. The most important thing is to stop meals becoming a battleground, as the emotion of the battle can easily overtake the need to eat. Give her a small meals, plus regular snacks. No options. No pleading if she ignores the lot, just take it away after a reasonable time has elapsed. While she is eating, if it just her, you need to be doing something else in the kitchen and not watching her, unless you are both just chatting together. If she is joining you in a family meal, then it might be best if you all ate only foods that are ok for her, so she doesn't feel like she is being stigmatised.

My elder daughter was also very picky. With hindsight she was a natural paleo diet person, eating large amounts of vegetables, especially raw vegetables/salad sticks, tuna and some meat, and hating carbs. In ignorance I didn't give her much in the way of fat, so she was always very small and slim. When she went to school her teacher thought I was an awful mother because she would happily take in a raw carrot for her snack, where all the other kids had crisps or biscuits in their snack boxes. She had to have a packed lunch from me or she would completely refuse the food served by the school. Once she hit puberty she discovered crisps and biscuits, plus pasta, bread and potatoes to some extent too, so she grew well over a foot in a very short space of time and filled out. She now looks like a normal 15 year old, albeit still a bit shorter than average. She is still a devil to feed though.

Be patient, and calm, and you will both get through it. At least you know what your child's problem is. Mine is almost certainly gluten intolerant to some degree (we know she is lactose intolerant and allergic to chocolate), but has stated she doesn't want to have to give up the gluten goodies, and she is now too old to have it forced on her.

Best of luck!

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I cannot recommend this book enough. My kids will eat anything thanks to it. She talks about sensory issues, child phsycology, food being a battle ground, and how to stop it. I read it before having kids and followed a lot of her recommendations early on, so we luckily haven't had to really battle any major problems.

Also, 4 year olds are all about independence (I have one). Try letting her serve her own food onto their plate, put a big bowl of what it is in the middle of the table and have everyone serve themselves, they have proven picky kids will eat more this way because they are in control.

Here is the book:

http://www.(Company Name Removed - They Spammed This Forum and are Banned)/Just-Two-More-Bites-Helping/dp/1400081092

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I had the same problem. Mealtime almost always ended with me storming away from the table and going in my room and crying because I couldn't feed my daughter.

It was a couple years of fighting. At the time, we didn't even have allergies or intolerances to deal with (at least that we knew of). Our families had no history of allergies so we really had no reason to suspect anything.

Eventually she grew out of it, in a sense. At the worst I could not get her to eat any meat or fresh fruit, and she would only pick at her veggies. Once I quit putting an emphasis on her eating dinner, she started to eat dinner.

I did make one rule: she could go ahead and walk away from her dinner, but I would wrap her dinner plate with plastic wrap and save it for later. If she became hungry, she was to eat her dinner. She thought she could pull one over on me by not eating it and then getting a "yummy" breakfast the next morning, but I started saving her dinner. If she didn't eat it at all the night before, she had it for breakfast. This was the end of her pickiness. It was about three weeks and she would eat dinner with us.

To get her to take vitamins, I would buy the infant drops and put it in a small cup of Kool-Aid (I hate that stuff but sometimes you have to compromise).

And I do agree that if she doesn't see the rest of the family eating something, she probably won't eat it either. To get my kids to eat new foods, they had to see me try it (even if I already knew I hated it, like tomatoes - blech!)

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I did make one rule: she could go ahead and walk away from her dinner, but I would wrap her dinner plate with plastic wrap and save it for later. If she became hungry, she was to eat her dinner. She thought she could pull one over on me by not eating it and then getting a "yummy" breakfast the next morning, but I started saving her dinner. If she didn't eat it at all the night before, she had it for breakfast. This was the end of her pickiness. It was about three weeks and she would eat dinner with us.

And I do agree that if she doesn't see the rest of the family eating something, she probably won't eat it either. To get my kids to eat new foods, they had to see me try it (even if I already knew I hated it, like tomatoes - blech!)

While my daughter is only 21months, I think this is great advice! Whatever you choose to do, BE CONSISTENT!

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I agree with the snack approach. Instead of saying - here is lunch - say here is snack. I also feed my daughter when she is doing something else. When she is on the computer, or watching TV, I put a bowl of carrots, or apple slices next to her. She doesn't even know she's eating. I put a bowl of fruit or carrot sticks out while I'm making dinner so she can snack. Also she gets overwhelmed when there is a lot of food on the plate. I put very small portions on the plate. She likes the food separated. Maybe try a divided dish.

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A really easy fun thing to do is to serve her lunch or snacks in a cupcake baking tin... individual cups of carrots, a cup of "dip," berries, etc., in another. The kids love it!

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Someone already mentioned it but thought it was worth repeating, what about homemade shakes? You could make something free of foods she cannot eat but also sneak in some protein and other good stuff. My kids are the same way and sometimes they will drink a healthy tasty shake.

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