Help! Why Is One Of My Children A Really Fussy Eater?
When a child displays signs of being a fussy eater it can be incredibly stressful for the parents. You want your child to grow up with a healthy approach to food as well as a diet that contains all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they require for good health. When your child rejects healthy food that you lovingly prepared it is extremely upsetting. In some families, there may be only one fussy eating child. The parents may have carried out the very same weaning experience with all children but for some reason, only some of them display a tendency to be a fussy eater. It leaves many parents scratching their heads. So, why does it happen?
Some research points in the direction of the mother’s diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding. During pregnancy, sickness can have a huge impact on the mother's nutrition for several months during this time and the truth is that every pregnancy may be different. All of your children may have been weaned in the same way, but was your pregnancy and breastfeeding diet very different with all of your children? There could be a connection and science is keen to show this.
Some people believe that a child’s genetic make-up plays a role in the way they approach eating. A study in Illinois showed a possible link between genetics and fussy eating when they carried out an assessment on 150 children of pre-school age. This is very reassuring for some parents because it takes some of the “blame” away. We know that many parents continuously offer healthy nutritious food and have it thrown back in their faces. During this vulnerable time, parents tend to blame themselves. Science is suggesting that genetics may play a bigger role than we think. This is not very reassuring for families that house just one picky eater though. Surely if it was a genetic thing then all children would display these qualities? Not every child inherits every trait though. It’s a very complex area and one that significant research is currently exploring.
What about the possibility of personality playing a role in all of this? Is it possible that we can offer the same array of foods to each child, in the very same sequence, and personality could dictate how they approach it? Many professionals will say that fussy eating, in some cases, is a way for a child to take control. These children may resent how much control their parents have and the dinner table is a good opportunity for them to assert some control themselves. In some cases, parents felt that one child challenged them in this department to get attention. They seemed to love the fuss that was made over them at meal-times and would then go on to eat completely normally when with other people or in their childcare setting. When the attention and focus were taken off them the fussy eating began to fade away.
Many psychologists believe that personality can have an impact on fussy eating as certain personality types respond to stimuli differently than others. Some people are more comfortable trying new things and stepping out of the familiar than others. This may be true in the cases where a child grows to become fond of a particular type of food and does not stray from that. It is their comfort zone and their security blanket. Change or interruption is not welcomed. In the same way, there are children who might not be classified as fussy eaters but who are very particular about certain colours or textures with food. This can sometimes be connected to sensory issues.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.