Child Therapy: Picky eaters vs. problem feeders

As adults, it might seem shocking that mealtime is a stressful and dreaded time for kids. Although we enjoy indulging in delicious foods during mealtimes, toddlers might feel nervous or anxious about new, mysterious-looking food. It is normal for kids, especially toddlers, to be picky about the foods they like and they may hesitate to try unknown foods. Although picky eating is normal for kids, there is a difference between a picky eater and a problem feeder. Problem feeders can develop medical issues if not addressed at an early age. Child therapy is recommended for children that show signs of problem feeding. Evaluate the signs of a picky eater and those of a problem feeder to ensure your child’s health.
Signs of a picky eater:
  • Will eat 30 foods or more but lacks variety of foods.
  • Too much of one thing will causes aversion to food. After 2 weeks, the food will become re-acquired. 
  • Able to tolerate new foods and sometimes attempts to touch or try the food.
  • Eats a variety of food textures.
  • Frequently has a different meal than the rest of the family.
  • Will try a new food after 10 times of exposure. 

Signs of problem feeder:
  • Less than 20 foods with restrictions in range and variety.
  • Foods lost to repetition are not re-acquired.
  • Meltdowns occur when presented with new types of food.
  • Refuses to try different textures.
  • Always has a different meal than family members.
  • Will not attempt a new food even after 10 times of exposure.

A problem feeder may have serious health concerns and needs to be addressed early on. Problems with feeding can cause intellectual, emotional, or emotional developmental delays. Children can inadvertently starve or dehydrate themselves, which can lead to malnutrition. If you feel your child is a picky eater or a problem feeder, refer to the mealtime tips recommended by our speech therapists in Chicago. If you feel your child is a problem feeder, contact you pediatrician. Step by Step Care Group can provide an assessment of your child and create a team of speech, occupational, and developmental therapists to customize a treatment for your child’s needs.

References:
North Shore Pediatric Therapy. N.p., 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 July 2015.
"Picky Eaters vs Problem Feeders." SOS Approach to Feeding. Toomey & Associates, 07 Feb. 2012. Web. 02 July 2015.