What to do when your child is more than a ‘picky eater’

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little kids are picky eaters—that is common and normal. However, there are some signs that your young child may be plus that just picky. meIf you think your child’s fussyness has gone to the extreme, but he’s not exactly sure why, you might want to seek help. You may be concerned that your child may develop an eating disorder when they are older or have concerns about an underlying problem medical condition. This is what you need to be aware of and consider.

Signs that your child is more than a “picky eater”

While young children can be quirky when it comes to their favorite foods, even to the point of throwing huge tantrums when served outside the home.o brand chicken nuggets tiny oranges that are too “dry”, there are some tips out there iThere is something more at play than the developmentally appropriate irritability that most young children experience.

Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Gastrointestinal problems: stomach pains, bloating, diarrhea or constipation
  • Vomiting after eating or vomiting when trying new foods
  • Frequent choking episodes
  • Fear of choking or vomiting, which sometimes leads to being too fear of eating
  • Significant weight loss or frequently being “under the curve” on weight charts in controls
  • Refuse to eat, even though logically they should be hungry.
  • Avoid entire food categories (all foods combined, all non-packaged foods, all foods of one texture)
  • eat very slowly
  • Inability to eat in front of others.

You may be concerned about a nutritional deficiency due to the selectivity of your child’s diet, and the inability to eat as a family could be causing tension. Your child may be irritable or have low energy because he isn’t getting enough nutritious food.

what to do next

The first step is to not try to force your child to eat, although as a parent you may feel that your most basic job is to keep your child alive through sustenance. Make an appointment with your doctor—they you will want to take an exam to rule out any disease or medical condition that may go away on its own or require medication.

They will also make sure there are no chronic issues or other contributing medical issues. Some, but not all, medical conditions that may affect a child’s ability to eat normally may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • tongue tie
  • Cancer
  • Food allergy or intolerance

You may be referred to rule out any of these conditions. If something comes up, your medical provider will guide you on how to manage or treat it from there.

If your doctor determines that there is no medical cause for your child’s eating problems, it may move to a mental or developmental cause. Many children have sensory problems with food, that may or may not lead to a diagnosis of a mental health condition, such as anxiety, autism, sensory processing disorder, or Restrictive avoidant food intake disorder (ARFID), a mental condition similar to anorexia that does not include body image issues.

If your child has a mental health condition that prevents him from eating, he may be referred to different types of specialists. food specialists There are specific types of therapists who help families deal with these types of problems. For children with sensory issues or autism, a occupational therapist He is often trained in feeding therapy and can help your child get used to different textures and types of food. For children with anxiety about food, a therapist who can talk with them or play with them as they work through some of their fears around food might be helpful.

It also helps reframe your own mindset.

Our adult world is steeped in a dietary culture that can be hard to avoideven when we think of our young children and their growing bodies. However, your providers will help you frame the way you think and use words to help your child better incorporate food into their lives in a healthy and holistic way, without fear or shame.

Keep in mind that while it can be difficult to cook dinner for your family only to have a child literally throw up in disgust, they’re not doing it to piss him off. Changing what is “family dinnertime” seems for now to help your child create lifelong healthy eating habits and help change the culture around food and mental illness, setting your children up for a happier, more balanced relationship with food than ever before. as they grow.

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