Often I hear mom’s say, “My child won’t eat ANYTHING.”
As a practitioner when I hear this I have to assume that if they are eating absolutely nothing – no food is passing through their body – there is room to be concerned. Call your child’s pediatrician immediately!
Now that that is out of the way, today I am talking to the majority of you. When mom’s say this I find that they often mean, “My child is eating very little, skips meals occasionally, and is very selective.”
Let me put you at ease and share that 9 times out of 10
– your kiddo is totally fine!
But today we are going to talk about when there would be room to be concerned and contact a pediatrician.
First of all we want to look at the BIG picture here: It is not just their lunch or just their breakfast, it is the whole of their food intake. We never want to compare today’s lunch to tomorrow’s lunch or so on. Just the same as we as adults differ in our appetite; some days we can’t eat enough food and some days our stomach feels a bit off and we don’t eat much.
THIS IS NORMAL.
Kid’s do not grow at a steady curve and the fluctuation in their growth greatly affects their appetite and eating habits.
Alright now lets jump into when there is room to seek extra help. A reminder that this information is overarching, general education. This may not apply to your child specifically. So you always want to talk to your child’s pediatrician or an in person dietician if there is something concerning you:
Some reasons why you may seek out extra help:
- If your child (genuinely) only accepts 15-20 foods after going through a program like Table Talk where you are offering a variety of foods, and learning how to expand the foods they eat.
- Any weight loss. This is usually a sign something else is going on – it could be stress, them having a bug, an allergy, ect. There is no need to over worry about this, but it is a indicator that you should schedule a check up!
- Long term stagnant weight or if their growth curve continues to stay the same. Similar to above, it is not something to over worry about, but it is a good idea to talk to your pediatrician and in-person dietician to assess what is going on.
- Eating only very specific textures. A great place to start with this is taking Table Talk. It is linked at the bottom of this blog post. If after taking a program like Table Talk with no improvement, some extra help from an in-person dietician may be needed.
- Gagging excessively or vomiting. Gagging is normal while a child is learning to eat and is no need to worry unless it is constant and present anytime they eat. Check out this episode from my podcast if you need more guidance specifically around gagging.
- Having an incredible emotional response to food every time. This could indicate pain that is associated with an allergy or something deeper going on. Best to schedule a check up with your child’s pediatrician!
- Any medical issues that may interfere with their nutrition. Examples are a G.I. issue, neurodiversity, or an allergy. When your child is walking through a health issue or anything that could impact what they can and can’t eat it is a good idea to process with a pediatrician a plan of action!
Ok, mama! TAKE A DEEP BREATH.
We as mama’s can worry unnecessarily. Even if one or more of these points is happening with your child, there is no need to get ahead of yourself or spiral in to worry. You can take a deep breath and trust that a check up is an easy plan of action!
Another great place to start would be Table Talk:
The picky eating program that works. It’s the program that teaches you to be your own feeding expert, because you know your child best.
To hear more specifics on this topic follow this link to listen to my podcast episode on “When To Worry”