When a child refuses to to eat or will only eat a limited selection of foods they are usually labelled ‘fussy’. There are three main reasons that a child is a selective eater and here we help you to tease out the different issues to identify what is affecting your child’s appetite for food.
Could there be issues with digestion?
Is your child ever sick after eating?
Do they ever need to have a bowel movement within moments of eating?
Do they gag or retch on food?
Do they burp frequently?
Do they have bad breath?
Does your child wake during the night or struggle to get to sleep?
Do they complain of tummy aches?
Do they complain of a sore throat or sound like they are losing their voice?
Do they struggle with constipation or diarrhoea?
Consider running a comprehensive stool test to uncover any hidden digestive issues.
Does your child have sensory issues that affect their food choices?
Does your child struggle to stay still to eat?
Are they less likely to eat if the environment is busy, noisy or has strong smells (e.g school dinner halls and noisy restaurants)?
Does your child smell food before eating it? Especially if it is an unfamiliar food?
Do they avoid foods that require a lot of chewing (e.g meat) or generally not chew their food well?
Does the child prefer certain textures of food (e.g crunchy) and dislikes ‘lumps’ in sauces, etc?
Is the issue related to motor development?
Is their speech delayed?
Were there any breastfeeding difficulties or problems with aspiration?
Do they grind their teeth?