How Can I help My Fussy Eater?
When your child is a fussy eater you can find yourself dreaming about a time where they might consider eating something that others would find completely normal. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, right? You might be a total foodie and here you are with a child that refuses to eat anything but beans on toast (and they must be a certain variety of beans – we feel you).
Chances are you have exhausted all avenues at home. You have a library of books (some to help you, others to encourage changes in your child) and you have become a professional at sneaking vegetables into foods (sometimes it goes unnoticed but mostly it doesn’t pass your child’s vetting procedure). Your search history is mostly geared at recipes, tricks and devices that promise to change your fussy eater’s habits.
You. Are. Exhausted.
There may come a time where you might consider enlisting the help of others when your child is a fussy eater. The reality is that it is negatively affecting everyday life in a number of different ways and you want it to at least move in the direction of improvement. It is difficult to relax during any mealtime when the spotlight is typically on what one family member is eating. You might also be worried about your child’s health. The fact that they are missing out on so many nutrients, vitamins and minerals are extremely stressful.
Speaking to your public health nurse can be really helpful. At your child’s developmental check-ups food is likely to be discussed. The PHN will support you during the stages of weaning as well as following up with you on how things are going. They may be able to offer some advice that is outside the box or that may have worked well for other parents who are in a similar position. They will know your family’s history as well as your child’s developmental patterns which will save time and allow more of it to be directed at the issue at hand.
Much like the PHN, your GP should be informed if you are very worried about your child’s fussy eating. They may recommend a supplement or children’s vitamins if they notice that there is some kind of deficiency for your child. Your child may also experience difficulties going to the toilet as well as stomach cramps if they are not eating a variety of different foods. Constipation or diarrhoea may become an issue that must be addressed by your family doctor.
For older children, the teacher at school may be a surprising outlet for support and advice. They spend a huge chunk of their day in your child’s company and they may be able to shed some light on their eating habits. For example, some parents are surprised to hear that their children will happily eat foods at school that they will typically turn their nose up at in the family home. Eating patterns can change depending on the setting and company they have during the meal. This insight may be really helpful.
And finally – a psychologist or psychotherapist may be something to consider in extreme cases, Eating habits can be strongly connected to issues like anxiety and it could be something that a professional has a lot of experience in. They may be able to work with you and your child in a way that helps deal with the larger issue. This, in turn, may have a positive affect on your child’s eating habits.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.