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He won`t eat anything good and it is reflecting in his behavior

Hi Leanne, hoping you can share some of your advice with me I ha a 3yr old son who won`t eat anything good and it is reflecting in his behavior. My backups use to be tomato`s, strawberry`s, rice & pasta but recenly he even turns his nose up on these things. He had gastro for about 5 days and it seems that he does not want to try anything since. He will have ricecakes with butter only on them (he use to have vegemite but wont even have that now) he will have 2min noodles sometimes he will et about half a weetbix in the morning but usually only if i sit there spoonin it into his mouth this is funny because every morning he wakes up wanting breakfast and wants weetbix. He wnt drink milk or cheese or yoghurt anymore doesnt even eat sandwiches. mot dinners consist of rice or pasta which he will eat providing there is nothing with it, he`ll occasionally have a saugsage or pick from my plate last night for example i had chicken curry wit rice & vege`s he would eat a bit of the chicken but i would try to offer him some of the vege`s an he stubbornly refuses to even try. Every meal we sit down for he will ick at but always avoids anything good, Ill cook a roast and cut his vege` into chips he wont eat them, i made some vege fritters last week with everthing finely grated he wont eat it, he`s been helping me make his baby sisters vege mash and is very interested but wont eat a thing, im more worried now than frustrated as he seems to really be lacking energy and is very sooky and moody. It could still be the tail end of the gastro but I really dont know whether i should take him to the drs or if i should just persevere, anyway if you have any tips (that hopefully i havent tried or read) i would love to hear them. Would you recommend seeing a dr?
Thanks for reading.

Answer: Hi Stacey, Fussy eating can really have you pulling your hair out! I have a five year old who is showing signs of coming out of it, but on glimpses. I still sneak stuff into all sorts of meals, makes it easier to go with it when I know he has been getting healthy food albeit disguised. If he is recovering from a gastro you may find that he refuses many of the foods he ate close to the gastro hitting. It can go on for 2 or more weeks and then slowly they show signs of getting past it all. So keep offering just in case. Also just as a quick note, you may find that the noodles have a few additives in them some even have MSG and this of course can affect a little one adversely, so perhaps check those ones. Most health care professionals will say as long as your preschooler is gaining weight at his usual rate and is happy and healthy then he won`t starve himself. But as a parent that can be little comfort. I believe it comes down to:
  1. Persisting with offering the healthy stuff even if it is rejected
  2. Sneaking in the good stuff where you can which makes avoiding the battles (no-one wins those ones) easier
  3. Getting them involved
  4. Offering a healthy supper down the line if dinner is rejected and your toddler complains of being hungry
  5. Trying to use the foods they do eat as a basis for making other food/meals that are more likely to be enjoyed. For example cream cheese on a bagel, pasta with bacon and a cream cheese base, bread and butter pudding made with calcium enriched milk such as soy or rice, try sweet potato chips etc.
  6. Swap lunch and dinner if that helps and make meal portions achievable (small but healthy).
  7. Check milk or other fluids aren’t interfering with their appetite.
  8. Repeat the mantra "this like all things in infancy and childhood, will pass" and it will!
I have a tip sheet on fussy eating on Huggies that might have some pointers, but again I really think it would be best to get some help with this, the link is: Picky Eating Also I think the Jessica Seinfeld book using purees is a good idea, but I reduce the sugar, use olive oil and don’t add salt, I also have a recipe book based on my fussy foodie. If you feel you really would like some help and also to check that he is getting all he needs, there are a few options you might like to consider, if you wanted to start out with the obvious you might like to see a naturopath, nutritionist or dietitian who specialises in children. They will be able to firstly review what your little one does eat and tell if there may be some nutritional issues to be addressed and if so, how they are best dealt with. Then advise you on the fussy eat and what tips and tricks might help. Another option is a feeding expert, the gals at No Fuss Feeding are excellent with feeding issues, and it’s their specialty. Or in a similar vein an early childhood consultant who can help with behavioural tips. Aussie: www.nofussfeeding.com.au NZ: http://www.paediatricfeedingdisordersclinic.co.nz/index.htm Keep an eye on his growth and development and if you notice any changes to that or health (for example if he doesn’t gain weight or drops percentiles) then it would be a good idea to pop into your GP. But I would suggest though that someone who specialises in nutrition would be a good option first. I hope some of this provides relief, it will pass, maybe not soon but it will so keep offering the good stuff don’t given into junk and you will eventually end up with a great eater once again. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Mar 2009