Q&A: 6 Year Old Won’t Try New Foods

Tamara GuoBehavior, Challenging Behavior, Child Routines, Mealtime

blockquote_bgI have a 6 year old, almost 7 that I consider to be a problem eater. Her diet in limited to less than 10 food items. I’ve talked to her pediatrician and she assures me that it will change once she grows older, she started this behavior when she was 3 tears old, and apparently she has no medical issue, her weight is normal, although she he really skinny. She recommended that I stop being a short order cook and said she will not starve herself and I tried with no luck. Honestly I couldn’t keep it up and after a week I gave up and start giving her whatever she may eat, I’m convinced that there has to be another way to do this.  Everyday was a struggle and as soon as she saw something new on her plate she will start crying for what it seems like forever and will throw up if I tried to make her put anything in her mouth. She will rather go to bed hungry than to try something new. It’s becoming a family problem, we can’t even go out to eat without worrying about her. She is now in summer camp from 8a to 6p because both  me and my husband have to work and she will go all day on waffles that I give her in the morning and maybe some snacks and milk they give her at camp. She refuses to eat lunch there. I’m getting desperate and don’t know where to get help, I’m so worried that it will turn into a bigger issue. Thanks for your attention.
Feeding issues with young children are certainly challenging, and since you expressed that your daughter has had this ongoing issue since age three, it sounds like your pediatrician needs to take it more seriously. A diet of 10 or less foods at age 6 is certainly extremely restrictive, and although she is considered “healthy” and gaining weight adequately, which is good news, with 10 or less foods I wouldn’t think she is getting all the nutrients she needs for proper health & growth. I would recommend getting a referral first to a dietitian who has experience with pediatric patients to get a good handle on her daily calorie intake and nutrition. I would also recommend seeking out an evaluation by a speech therapist or occupational therapist with training in pediatric feeding disorders. Some Children’s Hospitals around the country offer specialized feeding clinics and some outpatient therapy centers offer feeding services.
If you would like to speak to one of our occupational therapists regarding feeding (we specialize in children with special needs ages 0-3 in the state of PA), you can browse our Telepractice information at this link: http://www.earlyinterventionsupport.com/talk-feeding-development-specialist/