Hi, my 18mth old spits out most of his food.
He will eat smooth purees, cruskits & cheerios with no problems because they go soggy. He's not fussy about flavours, just textures e.g. I have given him cooked carrot 3 ways, puree -loves it, mashed-won't touch it & sticks chews them up & spits most out. Sometimes he still sucks food off the spoon like he did when he was 6mths. He eats tiny bits of scrambled egg, shredded chicken & toast. He will chew a sultana for 15mins before swallowing it. I give him family meals & when he's finished having a go, I top him up with puree because he's hungry. He gets 3 180ml milk bottles in 24hrs (1 over night). He was born with a tongue tie that has been snipped. Does this sound like a physical issue or is he just being sensitive/fussy?
Jane here. This is a common query from parents of toddlers concerned about their child's reluctance to accept foods with any texture other than puree.
If you have no reason to think that he has issues with swallowing and his mouth and teeth are fine, then it's reasonable to assume this is an eating behavioural issue rather than anything physiological. But just to be on the safe side it would be worthwhile if you had your toddler reviewed by your GP. The tongue tie snip should not be affecting his current reluctance to chew.
There are a few ways of managing this issue and of course you have choices. But it may help a lot to cease all of his bottles. Prolonging sucking action over and above chewing does not help. So offer him all fluids from now on via a normal cup. No more than three drinks of milk a day after his main meals will help.
Stop offering him cheerios and sausage type foods and instead, good quality red meat and chicken are better nutritional sources.
Stop feeding him yourself even as a means of "filling him up" after his meals. All foods can be cut up into small, bite sized pieces so he can learn the skills involved in self feeding. It will take a few days of him learning what's involved in choosing what to eat and how much but if he has the chance to become hungry and this motivates him to eat better this can only help.
The skills involved in biting, chewing and moving food from the tongue to the side of the mouth and back to the middle of the tongue takes lots of exposure and practice. For as long as he's having purees spoon fed into his mouth he's not being challenged to change any of his behaviours.
Check with your CHN and GP for support and guidance and check the Huggies site for more comprehensive information on his dietary needs.
18 Feb 2015