Any parent of a picky eater will quickly agree that eating is not as ‘easy’ as it looks. It is certainly a lot more than putting food onto the utensil and then putting it in your mouth.
Eating is so much more than that.
Because the whole physiology and anatomy doesn’t appeal to everyone I’m going to keep this part very read-able. Eating involves your whole body. Eyes- smell- taste-touch- taste (mouth/ tongue and throat movements)- fine motor skills- muscle strength and tone- attention- behaviour. And more.
Eating difficulties can result from a breakdown in any number of those areas (1, 2 or more), which will influence how significant your child’s eating difficulties are.
Common reasons children won’t eat
◊ Pain: Gaging, vomiting, sore throat, stomach pain, gut issues, multiple medical procedures (can heighten sensitivity of the throat, mouth and body in general), acute illness.
◊ Discomfort: Constipation, fatigue, allergies, nausea, congestion, renal conditions, sensory processing difficulties.
◊ Immature motor, oral-motor and/ or swallow skills: Choking, aspirating, trouble breathing and eating, weak muscles of the mouth and throat, over stuffing, poor hand eye-coordination, sensitivities in the mouth, poor trunk and core muscle strength.
◊ Sensory processing issues: Over or under responsive to certain tastes/ textures/ temperatures/ colours of food/ smells, seeking lots of flavour/ texture/ certain temperatures.
◊ Behavioural: Cognitive delays, impaired learning capacity, developmental delay, feeding difficulties from birth, reduced attention.
◊ Nutrition: Metabolic disorder, absorption issues, prematurity, long standing feeding difficulties from birth, history of tube feeding, constipation, underlying health issues (e.g. allergies, gut issues), cravings, metabolism.
The month of March is dedicated to Picky Eating, especially since I’m launching my Kids Vegie Challenge: 3 Veg | 31 days. See here for more information. If you know someone who has a picky eater please send them these supportive pieces of information.
Image in post thanks to @childrenofthetribe