14 answers

Is There a Disorder That Would Cause Extreme Dislike for Foods and Their Smells?

I have a 4 1/2 year old that use to be a wonderful eater up until the age of 3. For almost 2 years now he can't stand the smell or taste of foods. Even ones he use to like. I really think this goes beyond him being a picky eater. If he even smells food on someone elses plate he demands we move it out of the room. If he smells food on someones breath he will plug his nose and ask the person to get away from him with that smell. He will go weeks without eating and my pediatrician says the usual...he'll eat when he's hungry. When he does decide to eat he will want the same thing for every meal for a few weeks. The only foods he will eat when he's starving are...Sausage links, Salami, Hot Dogs...Nothing else in the meat catagory. He will eat fries and sometimes a piece of cheese or a plain piece of bread..He will drink milk ,apple juice, will drink sunny D, but not real orange juice. He hates candy, ice cream, cookies...not that I would push that on him. I'm just trying to paint a picture...I've tried to bring him shopping and have him pick out foods he would like to have, I've tried to have him prepare meals trying to make food fun. Nothing works and I'm going out of my mind...He is not underweight by any means. He was 10 1/2lbs at birth and 3 weeks early. He is 55lbs now.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I intentionally left out sensory disorder just to see if anyone else came up with this. Actually I'm pretty positive that he does have sensory issues since his older brother 5 1/2 has a bit of this mixed with other issues, but has grown out of most of it. My picky eater has sensitivity to many things..besides food smells or tastes...He is also bothered by colors,sounds, heights, textures of clothing or blankets. He can be overly rough and tough in play or overly sensitive to touch. I appreciate all the feedback ...all I can say...It's tough to wait it out..sometimes you just feel so alone.

Featured Answers

So frustrating, isn't it? My 5yo has always had these kind of issues, the holding his nose it more recent but I think it has more to do with learning to do it. He eats the same few things...I was so excited when he started eating chicken nuggets and fish sticks--finally a protein! lol
But he's also always been a big kid and has shown other over-sensitivities, not quite what I think needs a sensory processing disorder diagnosis but he's on that end of the spectrum. The biggies for him are transitions (like from school) and sleep (still prefers to sleep next to someone), oh and loud noises and fear of heights, too. He was a very refluxy baby, too.
He takes his "no thank you bites" at school but it's hard for him every time, he's into the rewards systems though.
My younger son is the opposite in each of these ways so I know it's just his personality.
Keep it all as calm as possible, power struggles only make it worse (I have a hard time convincing my husband of this!).

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

If he's generally healthy and the pediatrician isn't concerned, I would try not to worry too much about it. I read this article a couple years back that you might find interesting - seems to be that some kids just go through this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/10/dining/10pick.html

Hang in there - this too shall pass!

2 moms found this helpful

Another possibility would be food allergies or sensitivities. My 7YO daughter has been a picky eater always. We have found out in the last year that she has digestive/gastro problems related to many foods. Turns out she didn't want to eat what upsets her stomach. Makes sense but she wasn't mature enough to communicate it to us until recently.

The result was she would originally like something and then suddenly be turned off but that was it took a few times eating it to make the association. Eventually she became afraid to try anything new.

2 moms found this helpful

So frustrating, isn't it? My 5yo has always had these kind of issues, the holding his nose it more recent but I think it has more to do with learning to do it. He eats the same few things...I was so excited when he started eating chicken nuggets and fish sticks--finally a protein! lol
But he's also always been a big kid and has shown other over-sensitivities, not quite what I think needs a sensory processing disorder diagnosis but he's on that end of the spectrum. The biggies for him are transitions (like from school) and sleep (still prefers to sleep next to someone), oh and loud noises and fear of heights, too. He was a very refluxy baby, too.
He takes his "no thank you bites" at school but it's hard for him every time, he's into the rewards systems though.
My younger son is the opposite in each of these ways so I know it's just his personality.
Keep it all as calm as possible, power struggles only make it worse (I have a hard time convincing my husband of this!).

2 moms found this helpful

I have two daughter's are they are both somewhat of picky eaters. They love hot dogs, pancakes, chicken nuggets, fries, apples, jelly sandwiches,etc. They won't eat things like pizza or spaghetti, mac and cheese, etc.

If your son is not under weight or in any kind of life threatening danger then I say leave him be. Maybe he likes the attention he receives for not eating. You will know if this turns into something threatening or not. When he's ready to eat let him eat the thing's he likes. My girls seem to really enjoy those tubes of yougurt. I think they are called Gogurts. I put them in the freezer for an extra treat. Microwave popcorn is also a fan of theirs.

Hang in there. I am sure this is a phase and before you know it you might be wishing he didn't eat so much.

2 moms found this helpful

I know a neighbor who had a heightened sense of smell and it causes her to not like many foods because she can smell them too strongly. Have you ever taken him to have his senses checked? It could be as simple (?) as that? I wouldn't push him too hard and offer what foods he likes along with maybe one new food on his plate (and have it be the same food for a couple of weeks so he gets used to the smell).
I also know that not making a big deal out of it and just letting him eat (although tough for you!) is also helpful as he might just feel pressure to try it and want to be stubborn!
I would go with your "gut" that is saying its not normal and have him tested for sensory issues or sensory processing issues just to rule them out!

1 mom found this helpful

You could check into sensory integration disorder. You didn't say anything about his other mannerisms but this could be something to look into and check on the other symptoms.

1 mom found this helpful

The only one thing I think it could possibly be, in a small part, is maybe he has a sensory processing disorder. This mostly describes sensitivity to textures, but that could also make him more aware of smells. My daughter was just tested for this and this is the only part of the SPD that she does not have as much of , but I do know that she simply sees something and will decide she doesn't like it because of the color or because it's "hot"(when its not) etc, and sometimes she'll just say her favorite food is yucky as soon as she sees it or hears what it is. Part of it is also her age (3), but before we got her tested for a sensory processing disorder, we just thought she was a handful (major), but now we've learned things that can help her cope better. Either way, good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

It can also be he is low in zinc. If you buy some liquid zink and he likes it, it means he needs it. I buy mine from www.kirkmanlabs.com We like the flavored ones. When you are lovw in zinc food can tasste rotten, even nice things like fruit.
Regards,

W.

1 mom found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.