Sorry - I want to scream soooo bad.
My DD 28 mos has NO interest whatsoever in eating ANYTHING. She has been this way since she started solids (very minimally at 10 mos and really substantially since 16 mos). She dry suckles me 2 times a day but I have no milk.
She has allergies - milk, wheat, eggs, pineapple, chocolate, corn, shellfish,nuts, maybe soy....
She will NOT drink any milk alternatives - rice, soy, coconut or hemp
She does NOT like any fruit - she sometimes eats a couple of bites of strawberry, grapes, blueberry, mango or papaya.
She does NOT like any vegetable - she will not eat any except a bite of broccoli now and then.
Every meal time is a one hour affair where I put the TV , distract her and feed her. I stopped working because of this.
I make some lamb meat and marrow broth which I mix with rice cooked with cut-up carrots, beans and spinach and feed her that for lunch and dinner. She likes this better than anything but making her eat a goodish amount is the biggest chore. I feed her lunch and my DH feeds her dinner.
Breakfast is the biggest nuisance. Because of her allergies I am stumped for ideas but I feed her Dosa (Indian crepe made of rice and lentils) most often, some rice noodles, pork sausage , some soy formula in turns.
For snack we feed her french fries, chicken (fried or sausage), and some more soy formula.
We work the hardest to feed her. What is discouraging is - she doesn't willingly seem to want to eat anything. She doesn't like sweet taste so working with that is out. She likes savory a bit but eats a couple of bites. She just seems to HATE eating. Popsicles, smoothies, juices nothing work on her.
What will happen when she is 3 and I want to put her in playschool? Or 5 and I want to put her in preschool? What is going to be her life like? I want to TTC for a second one but am so discouraged with her situation. I do not want to homeschool.
How can I get her interested in any food? PLEASE mamas - any help is appreciated.
I'm just curious if you have mentioned this to her pediatrician?
Our DD went through a picky phase for a while, and also has nut/peanut allergies (nothing like what you're facing), and his best advice to us was "she won't starve herself," and encouraged us to offer but not push food.
Also, is your DD taking vitamins? Not only would I be concerned with your frustration and enormous efforts here, but her health and nutrition.
Some food ideas I thought of when reading your post: any variety of meats (chicken - cutlets, nuggets, with bbq sauce, beef in all forms - ground or otherwise, pork), oatmeal or cereals for breakfast, maybe add raisins or some other fruit that she can pick out, salty flavors that maybe you could cook into veggies (my DD loves steamed carrots with garlic, salt and pepper), green beans, peas, avacado, prunes (not too fruity or sweet), sweet potato (mashed, baked, fries, chips).
I have heard of some people making purees of things like vegetables and then sneaking them into foods their kids eat (like somehow using pureed spinach and putting it into chicken nuggets). Personally, I think this should be a last resort, because it makes more work for you and chances are she might actually like (or learn to like) some of these "difficult foods."
I have noticed that my DD, while not altogether picky, likes consistency. So new foods generally take at least 2 or 4 introductions before she fully trusts that she "likes" it without question. So maybe come up with a handful of new things to try, stick to them for a week or so, and then add one or two more a week and see how she does... My DD is almost 3, and basically if she doesn't like it then she doesn't eat - and she has never missed a meal. Only if I actually burn something or dinner is kind of gross, will I then make her a sandwich. I don't like to push food on her, so if she has a small breakfast, it's fine; she can snack on dry Cheerios or raisins (or whatever snackfood) until lunch.
As far as school is concerned - I would worry about that when she gets a little older. Some kids actually eat a lot better with other kids around, just because there are other kids there modeling what it is to actually eat the food in front of them. Not all peer pressure is bad. You will probably have to provide her food for school, however, since she has so many allergies.
Thank you for responding.
See this one line of yours' "I don't like to push food on her, so if she has a small breakfast, it's fine; she can snack on dry Cheerios or raisins (or whatever snackfood) until lunch. "
If she refuses breakfast and I keep cheerios or anything in front of her...she will eat ONE cheerio and leave and not look back until lunch time.
You know I heard the "She won't starve herself" many times....but you know how there are always exceptions to any rule? Well - my DD is the one exception!
I am sorry...but I am enraged at the cards life has dealt her.
Just a random thought - has she had time around other kids eating? A playgroup or something where they stop and all share a snack together? Having to sit with friends and watching them all eat may help her at least pick at some food.
You may need to see an occupational therapist.
I would absolutely call Early Intervention for an evaluation (if you are in the US). I wish I had done that with my son. I waited it out for YEARS and the poor thing just needed HELP.
You are right - these kids do NOT eat when they are hungry. That was one of the first things the OT said to me!
Call the pedi ASAP and figure out how to get her evaluated. Therapy should make a huge difference.
DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).
First off, HUGS to you Mama. It sounds like you have been doing all the right things. You are doing a great job.
Have you read the book, "Simplicity Parenting," by Kim John Payne? It has a lot of helpful information, and there is a great section on "picky eaters." The tips don't focus so much on food directly, but on the child's whole environment (reducing stimulation) and a consistent daily rhythm. It's one of my favorite parenting books.
Simplicity Parenting is a popular book, so it's very likely that you could find it at the local library.
The therapy idea sounds great too. Big HUGS. You'll get through this.
If your pedi won't help then can you find a new one?
Google 'early intervention + (your state)' and see what the process is.
Also 'occupational therapy for picky eaters' and stuff like that. There is a lot of info.. more than I could give credit to if I attempted to write it myself.
DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).
I babysit a 25 month old occasionally who is the same way except she always would drink shakes and smoothies. They did have an Early Interventionalist check her out and she was and is totally fine...the only way she will eat is if it is something you are eating, and in a very relaxed situation...not at a table, or anything. We usually eat together on the floor in front of the tv when I watch her. I don't offer her anything, but she will come up and want some. She is super picky and started out for a long time only eating cheese and crackers, bananas, pickles, carrots with dip, and a few other cookie type things. She also would only drink out of a big cup, not a sippy. Early Intervention said she was strong willed, but socially is developing perfectly all other ways...this is just her thing evidently and they said they would recheck her at 30 months. Maybe try to NOT try and make things more lax?
Babywearing, CoNapping, 2 Pitbulls, 1 Cat,
DS Aiden 9/2010, Stay at home wife to David.
My friend has a child who goes to occupational therapy for food issues. It's kind of like food school. The therapist helps him work on touching unfamiliar food, playing with it, tasting little bits of it, working with new textures, getting rewards for trying new foods, etc. One of the ideas is to use foods that the child is familiar with and put something slightly different in it each time to broaden the palate. It sounds like you have a quantity problem as well as a pickiness problem. I don't know exactly how they would deal with that - maybe working on getting your daughter used to the feeling of a full stomach? I'm not sure. I know that my friend's child has improved quite a bit from his weekly therapy sessions. Best of luck!
A (pediatric) occupational therapist is someone who works to make it possible to possible for a child to develop the skills they need to live an adult life. So, our son went to an OT (occupational therapist) for sensory issues because he was oversensitive to sound and touch, which made it very difficult for him to explore and play. (He wouldn't change clothes, even in 90 degree heat, he wouldn't play in sand or water..). He also didn't know where his body was in space, had poor fine motor control, and poor motor planning.
For your daughter, an occupational therapist would work with feeding therapy, trying to get your daughter to be comfortable with a greater range of textures and tastes. Sometimes feeding therapy is done by occupational therapists, sometimes by speech therapists.
Has she seen a pediatric gastroenterologist? First I'd want to rule out a physical cause for her tiny appetite.
If you're in the US, as others have noted, you can call Early Intervention (sometimes Birth to 3) and they'll do an evaluation for free, and will provide services until she's 3, at which point in time, they'd switch over to the schools. A consult with a nutritionist would be a good idea too.
I'd also start keeping a food diary, where you write down what she eats. That will help doctors see what you're concerned about.
Finally, a good book is: Just take one bite. It's written for parents of kids with feeding challenges.
Definitely call EI. If she qualifies then you can see an OT or SLP (speech therapist) for free. My 2y DS1 gets a weekly SLP through them. We also do a weekly 3 hour "playgroup" with a couple other kids that have food/sensory or speech issues that is run by another SLP and OT which we pay for but it is wonderful.
Actually I got a call from them already. The way they explained the program is - they will bill my insurance first for all expenses and only for the initial evaluation if the insurance won't pick up something - they will cover it but if my DD qualifies and going forward for therapy they will bill my insurance and even if the insurance won't pick up any costs then we are responsible for the costs. How is this "free" from 0-3? I am confused. It is just like any other doctors'