Are you concerned that your child is a picky eater? Are you over mealtime battles? Over the past six years I have focused my training in Speech-Language Pathology in the area of feeding and swallowing disorders. I am excited to share my knowledge with you for Mommy Minute Monday. All this month I will be discussing topics centered around feeding including developmental feeding skills, sensory feeding disorders, healthy food choices, and tips for picky eaters. I have a few guest posts lined up, as well as a giveaway or two, so be sure to follow along.
Feeding disorders are extremely varied from child to child. One child may display a range of symptoms and behaviors that are completely different from another child. It is important to recognize that there is a huge difference between a picky eater and a child with a feeding disorder.
Symptoms of a Picky Eater
- Requesting a limited variety of foods
- Eating foods from a select food group and avoiding others (typically avoiding dairy, vegetables and fruit)
- Favorite foods include carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and crackers (the white diet)
- Requesting a particular food brand and refusing to eat any other brand
- Throwing a tantrum when new foods are presented at meals
If your child displays one or more of the following symptoms he or she may have a more serious problem than just being “picky”.
Symptoms of a Child With a Feeding Disorder
- Poor weight gain or abnormal weight-loss
- Meal times last longer than 30 to 40 minutes
- Gags while eating
- Difficulty transitioning to higher texture foods and/or refusal to self feed
- Coughing or choking frequently during meals
- Unexplained fatigue with loss of energy
- Vomiting during or after meals
- Nasal regurgitation
- Skin or lip color changes during eating
- Excessive time required to chew food
- Too rapid eating or “stuffing” food into mouth
- Limited solid food intake and/or preference for liquids
- Limited variety of food repertoire
- Frequent spitting out of foods
- Chronic constipation with limited intake of food
- Swallowing food without chewing
- Severe behavior problems related to feeding, including food refusal
Tips to Ponder…
* Early diagnosis of a feeding disorder is important. The longer the issues are left untreated the more complex the symptoms can become.
* Feeding disorders may also lead to developmental delays in other developmental areas including crawling, walking and talking.
* Children with developmental delays including Autism and Down Syndrome are at higher risk for a feeding disorder.
* Other medial conditions that may be associated with feeding difficulties include gastroesophageal reflux, food allergies, cancer and complications from premature birth.
If you are concerned about your child’s eating please mention these concerns to your pediatrician, classroom teacher, daycare providers, or any other caregivers involved with your child’s daily mealtime routines. Based on concerns, a referral can be made to a local Speech-Language Pathologist specializing in feeding evaluations and therapy. Many Speech Pathologists specialize in feeding disorders, particularly those who work in Children’s hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private practice facilities. Check out the American-Hearing-Speech-Language Association for a list of providers or the Specialty Board in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders to locate a Speech Pathologist in your area.
Next Week on Mommy Minute Monday
* Top 10 ideas to help your picky eater eat a more varied diet
* Healthy food related giveaway to get your child excited about eating fruits and vegetables
* Pediatrician Dr. Gilboa of Ask Dr. G will be answering your number one question relating to feeding topics in a guest post
* Fun and safe ways to include your child in the kitchen
* Strategies to improve your child’s chewing skills