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My Son Won't Eat, Either!
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This forum is for questions and support regarding child nutrition issues such as: Acne and food, Allergies and food, Balanced Menus, Diabetes, Finicky Eaters, Healthy Snacks, Nutrition, Weight Loss.

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My Son Won't Eat, Either!

I have been reading others' concerns about children who will not eat.  While many of us share similarities, there are always slight differences, as well.  My son is now 3 1/2, and he has been eating the same handful of foods for the past 18-24 months:  milk, water, pop-tarts (one flavor), oreo cookies, potato chips (one flavor), chicken-flavored rice and goldfish crackers (one flavor).  As an infant, he took formula and baby food well.  He even started taking table foods with no problems.  I don't exactly remember the point where things started to go downhill.

He is gaining weight, largely due to the foods that he will eat, but he will absolutely not try anything new.  Like others have said, he will look curiously at food, but he seems repulsed by it, and frequently gags.   He has never vomited up the food he has consumed.  He is also reluctant to touch food.

I have been told the same thing by the pediatrician as everyone else... that when he gets hungry, he will eat, but like many others out there, he has gone for an extended period of time with no food when he is offered an alternative to the foods he normally eats.  I have been reluctant to take him back to the pediatrician--I know the doctor will tell me to take away these junk food items and offer him quality food, and he will eat when he gets hungry.  I honestly don't think he will.

I'm beginning to wonder if he has a physical problem, but this doesn't explain why there are a few foods that he will eat.  He doesn't seem to have a chewing issue, and the foods he eats have a variety of textures.  I have noticed, though, that when he talks he sounds a bit "nasal" and he sometimes swallows hard, as though his throat is sore.  

I think it is time to re-visit the pediatrician, but I thought I would just throw this out in case anyone has any suggestions or input.
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267079_tn?1195146570
You did not mention your son’s height or weight, so I am unable to determine what his nutritionally status is for his age group. This age is hard and children do become picky. You are not alone. Mealtimes can be a battlefield when children do not have an interest to eating or eat very little. It becomes the battle of the wits between the child and the parents. Meals need to be joyous for you and your child. If he will not eat a certain food, do not make a fuss over it. Let it go and enjoy your meal.
Engage your son with preparation of food. Have him help you set the table or do something for the meal. Children love to be a part of making food.
He does consume milk, and I suggest a nutrient dense drink such as Pedisure or milkshakes. All it takes is milk or soymilk, ice cream and some banana (any fruit). Whip it up in a blender and you have a drink packed with protein and calories. If he accepts the milkshakes he will be getting more nutrients then he is eating now and hopefully he will enjoy making it too. I also suggest a children’s chewable daily multi-vitamin for vitamins and minerals he is not consuming due to his present diet choices. Hope this helps you. Thank you for your question.
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Your son is perfectly normal.  Children between 2-5 years of age are trying to "control" their environment and exercise their own desires.  They want to dress themselves, they throw tantrums, etc. They want what they want when they want,etc.  Selecting their own food also comes under this desire to control their environment.  Kids will often go through a phase where everything must be the same each and every day. Same clothes, same routine, same food.  Often they don't want foods to touch, if it does they won't eat it no matter what.  Your son is going through this phase.  Not to worry, he will grow out of it.  Offer him simple choices of healthy foods and let him select what he wants.  For example, if you want him to eat fruit, offer him a choice of an apple or an orange and let him chose.  If he eats some the fruit, then he can have the goldfish crackers.  He is getting some control of his environment and you are getting him to eat better.  You might want to add a multi-vitamin to his diet if you are worried about his overall eating.  
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Thank you for your comments.  My son has not been losing weight due to his picky eating.  I don't know his exact height and weight, but I think his height would fall into the above normal range, but his weight his definitely not above normal.  Many have suggested offering choices, but he won't put new foods into his mouth, and he certainly wouldn't put something like a chewable vitamin in his mouth.  We would have to force it and it would be a battle because he would spit it out.   For now, all I know to do is to keep offering foods and hope that he decides at some point to try something new.  Thanks again.
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Avatar_n_tn
what about a gummy vitamin? That is what I got my son to eat. Also, my son was the same way at this age. Does he like milk or shakes? I would defientnly try and get him to like pediasure. I gave this to my son when I was desparate and needed some sort of nutrion in him. He really liked it. My son is starting to get out of that phase... he just turned 5. He had a bite of banana and strawberry this weekend, all though he said he didnt like it, he actually didnt throw it up and I just praised him all day long for trying new foods. he said he will never eat them again but atleast he tried them!
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Avatar_n_tn
what about a gummy vitamin? That is what I got my son to eat. Also, my son was the same way at this age. Does he like milk or shakes? I would defientnly try and get him to like pediasure. I gave this to my son when I was desparate and needed some sort of nutrion in him. He really liked it. My son is starting to get out of that phase... he just turned 5. He had a bite of banana and strawberry this weekend, all though he said he didnt like it, he actually didnt throw it up and I just praised him all day long for trying new foods. he said he will never eat them again but atleast he tried them!
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Avatar_n_tn
You might try, rather than a gummy vitamin (which for some strange reason my daughter wouldn't eat either) buying liquid baby vitamins and just putting the drops in his milk or water, he wont' notice the taste and at least you are getting it in him.  Also, I got my daughter (who is not nearly as finicky as your son) to eat certain things by trying to sneak them into food that she would eat.  So, you said your son likes chicken flavored rice.  Why not try subtly sneaking something nutritious in there, it sounds weird but tuna fish or even canned chicken because it is so flaky is a good sneaky thing to put in food (I did it when my daughter would only eat pasta), use a small amount and mix it in.  

Also, your sons' food repertoire seems to have enough junk food in it to maybe try to bargain.  Now I wouldn't do something so drastic as to tell your son if he eats peas he will get it, but maybe try with a "fun" food which offers someting more nutritionally, like maybe pizza.  You could make pizza english muffins or something with him, maybe if he helps in the process he might be more willing to partake.  If he will try the pizza or whatever then he can have his oreos. I would definitely keep trying to offer him things and maybe you will hit on something he will eat.  

One other thing - I know many children use food as a power struggle issue to assert their independence, they are in control and you can't tell them and parents out of real concern for their childs' health turn mealtime into battle time.  I don't know if it is like that for you, but if it is, you might try laying completely off for a week or two.  

I know it can be so frustrating when your child will not eat - my nephew was exactly the same, that boy grew up on french fries, potato chips and mint chocolate chip ice cream and white rice with ketchup.  A good day was going to Mcdonalds where he would actually eat chicken nuggets.  This went on for years.  Now the kid is 18, 6 foot 3 and healthy as a horse and honestly, he is now pretty health conscious.  

Good luck, it will get better!

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