So… you have a picky eater.
It causes stress for the whole family. You’re worried about your child’s nutritional intake. You’ve tried to get them to try new foods. Then you explained why they have to eat more foods. Maybe you even begged – but you keep hitting a brick wall.
We see many picky eaters in our Bondi Junction clinic. Most of the children in our Sydney clinic are picky eaters. We understand the stress that families go through when children want to eat the same, limited range of foods.
Picky eating behaviours starts at a fairly young age. It is the toddler years when picky behaviours usually begin. This is especially frustrating for parents because some babies started off as very adventurous eaters but then they began to dig their heels in.
Children become picky eaters for three main reasons. This concept of simplifying the reasons behind picky eating was introduced to us many years ago by Melanie Potock, a Speech Pathologist and paediatric feeding therapist , and Dr Nimali Fernando who is a paediatrician.
A physiological issue
This can include things such as gastroesophageal reflux and constipation. Other children may have very strong reactions to the smell of some foods and refuse to eat them. These are all physiological reasons. There are many physiological reasons why children could become picky eaters.
A motor issue
Motor issues refer to oral motor, gross motor, and fine motor comtrol. It can include things such as poor tongue control. The child struggles to move the food around their mouth. It could include a delay in gross and fine motor skills. Then the child has difficulty sitting up or bringing food to their mouths. These are many motor control issues that can play a role in picky eating.
A learned behaviour
If your child choked on a potato or vomited after a strawberry milkshake, they may reject these foods. They learned that potatoes are scary and they avoid them. If you keep offering alternatives to foods your child doesn’t like, they learn that they don’t have to eat what is on the table. Learned behaviours around picky eating refer to the child’s behaviour as well as the parents behaviour.
All of these things can play a role in your child becoming a picky eater.
Picky eating tips
Here are some tips to think about for your picky eater
- It’s not about the vegetables
- Serve new foods in tiny portions
- Set regular mealtimes and snacks
- Involve your child in shopping and cooking
- Make small changes
If you are concerned about your child’s picky eating then give us a call at YukToYum. In our Bondi Junction Clinic. We can get you started on a ‘picky eater mealtime reset’ so your child gets back on track with their eating. The ‘picky eater mealtime reset’ is also run every month as a group session for parents. Don’t worry if you live a long way from Bondi Junction, or from Sydney, we do a lot of feeding sessions by Skype. Parents can even join our ‘picky eater mealtime reset’ group sessions via Zoom. We can be contacted on (02) 80657837 or email us.