H.S. asks from Royal Oak, MI on August 27, 2009
Not Eating Well
I could use some advice and/or suggestions if you have any. My son is now 21 months old and we finally decided that it is time to get off of the baby food. So this past monday, we cut him off and he hasn't been doing very well since. To make a long story short, my son was born prematurely and is "slow" in some areas, but has overcome the general things like crawling, walking, eating from spoon, etc. My husband and I feel that since he is able to pick up food and chew it, that he should be able to eat regular people food. The problem is, my son seems to be stubborn and not want to. He does eat a few bites of food at meal time, but not enough to feel satisfied, like adults eat when they are hungry. He doesn't seem to get that concept yet, lol. I am going to try to cut his morning bottle in half to see if that helps so he will be hungry for lunch. But I have tried chicken nuggets, hamburgers, mac & cheese, grilled cheese, hot dogs, etc.... all the things you think a kid would like. He will eat chicken nuggets, but he takes forever to chew them and I think he is not getting full from that. What should I try or do next? I don't want to go back to the baby food because I think he is too old for that, but I worry that isn't eating enough. Everyone keeps telling me that healthy babies won't starve themselves and he will eat when he is hungry. I try to keep that in mind, but it is hard to watch him be hungry when I am home with him all day. I also try to feed him some snacks in between because I know he isn't eating full meals yet. Maybe this is just a phase in combination with the "terrible two's" and teething?? Help!!
L.O. answers from Detroit on August 27, 2009
i would not take him off baby food until he is ready to be off baby food and is eating good portions of table food. it is a gradual process to switch to table food..
the first table food were cheerios and canned fruit whicch are very soft...
he mightnot be ready for things like chickennuggests..
D.D. answers from Detroit on August 28, 2009
Give him a selection of colors and textures - blueberries, raspberries, cheerios, raisins, cheese, crackers, carrot sticks, apple slices, egg...etc etc. If he cannot handle cheese or carrot sticks yet, don't offer them, but you should be able to offer a selection of about 5 healthy foods that he can pick at and experiment with. He may not be ready for the chicken nuggets etc yet. And remember, just because a lot of kids like chicken nuggets, hamburgers, hot dogs etc, they are not necessarily the best foods to feed them - check the sodium content.
Good luck - I'm sure he will be eating well soon - hang in there and keep experimenting.
A.S. answers from Detroit on August 30, 2009
I had similiar concerns with my son... his Dr. quickly suggested NO juice, but still wanted him to have two to three large servings of milk per day. Maybe don't offer drinks close to eating times or during. As a mom, I figured out that it was my job to offer him nutritional things and to encourage him to at least try it. I tried not to get too disappointed when he wrinkled his nose. Now that he is 31 months, I can do much more negociating and insist he at least try new foods. As a professional (eating disorder specialist) I know that we all start out eating intuitively (eat when hungry, stop when satisfied) but often lose that notion due to strict eating schedules (not suggesting you do that!) and unhealthy cultural eating norms. It is certainly a delicate balance. I would encourage and gently try to get him on the timing of your meal schedules, but don't be alarmed if he wants to eat at other times at 2....he is just listening to his body. This is something many adults struggle to 're-learn" for years.
C.M. answers from Detroit on August 28, 2009
Most toddlers are pretty picky eaters anyway. Just keep offering what he WILL eat making sure what he is eating is good for him. You said he takes forever to chew...maybe that is one of the motor skills that is just a little slow. He'll get it, no worries!
A.M. answers from Detroit on August 28, 2009
Due to the fact that your son was born prematurely there is a good chance that he has some decreased oral motor skills. He may have a difficult time eating table food because he may not have the ability to move his tongue around in his mouth to aid in eating and his jaw strength may be weak which would make chewing up the food difficult. Meat is generally one of the more difficult things to eat due to the amount of chewing involved.
Your son may also have some tactile defensiveness and avoid certain textures of foods. Your son may or may not have other signs of tactile defensiveness like difficulty with having someone brush his teeth, wash and cut his hair, cut his nails, etc...
I would recommend taking your child to an occupational therapist in order to have them evaluate your child's eating. They can determine if your child's oral motor skills are age appropriate or if he is defensive to certain textures. If either of those things are a problem they can be treated. Hang in there.