Having a child that doesn’t eat has got to be one of the most frustrating, scary things for a parent to deal with! We’re not talking about the child who doesn’t want to eat their broccoli, but the child who may only eat 5 foods, is losing weight, and/or who struggles to swallow food safely.
One of the first things we recommend is a thorough assessment of the structure of the mouth to make sure there are no physical limitations to manipulating and swallowing food safely and confidently. For example, a tongue tie may be contributing to a lack of control of the food in the mouth, making it harder to chew it sufficiently, and to swallow it safely.
Food allergies and intolerances should be investigated as well. If a food makes a child feel pain or discomfort, they will often decline it but not indicate why.
If there are no structural limitations, we would consider whether the child has enough postural and oral motor control to move the food within the mouth and down the digestive tract effectively.
An indicator that a child may lack sufficient postural and motor control would be a child that props their head on their hands, or leans back in their seat.
Another issue to be considered is whether or not the child has sensory processing challenges. A child who is tactile defensive might be avoiding foods of a certain texture, and thereby severely limiting their food repertoire.
One thing a parent can do to help their child is to start a feeding journal. Just spend a few days writing down all of the foods your child has eaten, and what they have refused. Take this information to your pediatrician or a feeding specialist.
If you have a child that struggles with eating, you can call us for a free consultation with one of our feeding therapists. We are here to help!
~ Your SAB Team
Helping struggling children succeed.