Need Help Feeding 18 month Old

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I need help finding foods to feed my 18 month PA daughter. She will NOT eat meats, pasta, fruits or vegetables. If I try to feed them to her or put them on her tray, she gags and refuses to eat anything else. She only likes crackers, tater tots, grilled cheese sandwichs, and yogurt. I am afraid she is going to get tired of these foods before long, but I am having such a hard time finding anything else she likes. Does anyone have any ideas what I can try to feed her?

Thanks, Paula

On May 19, 2003

Does she like to dip things?

Maybe she would like to eat bread sticks or even crackers if she could dip them in pizza sauce? Or apple slices in yogurt? (Since this is a favorite food, I noticed.) Would she like to help "make" tortilla chips from corn tortillas? (My daughter liked this at that age- just cut into triangles and then let them brush on seasonings -watered down salsa makes awesome "paint" - and then roast them on a cookie sheet until they are crispy.)

Have you asked your pediatrician about yoru dilemma? (I can't think he/she would be happy about her diet) Is she on the low side of ht/wt? How long will she go without food if you simply feed her what YOU want to and let her act/eat however she likes? I mean, is she doing this because of a sensory issue or is it because it gets your immediate attention and gets her exactly what she likes to eat best? (Some kids relax pretty quick if you stop paying attention to the behavior- others not so fast... only a few will really go without food for days) Maybe letting her make some food "choices" is the answer if she's iron-willed (like another dd I know... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ).

I think you should ask your doctor for advice on this one.

On May 19, 2003

Try veggie omelettes, I used to use egg,broccoli,carrots,zucchini and cheese. The trick was keeping it in a round shape so I could cut it neatly into squares(strange kids I have) I used a little food processer to process it into a thick batter then just cooked it. If you ask my 2 year old what color eggs are though he'll tell you "green".Kids go through phases, as long as she's getting a balanced diet it doesn't matter if it's the same meals everyday. If you want to give her new things just do small amounts in addition to her faves,try and make it exciting. My son also loved "Monkey Milk" banana,yogurtand rice milk shake. These were the good old days before we found out about his egg and dairy allergy in addition to PA.

On May 19, 2003

My doctor told us not to worry too much about it, just keep offering a variety. They will pick whatever it is that they really need.

My nephew only eats foods that are white. He is a healthy, robust 7 year old despite that!

Regardless...if you make a big deal about how delicious the foods are that you eat, your child might become more tempted to try some new foods...just don't expect it over night. Sometimes cutting food into different shapes, making faces out of veggies, etc. sometimes helps.

Most of all, it is probably best not to make a big deal about what is not being eaten. But do make a big deal about tasting new foods.

My kids also respond well to using puppets. Pretend to feed the puppet and let the puppet make a big deal about it. I never did that with food, but it works great with other issues.

My kids are actually good about trying different foods, but if they do not want to I just move onto something else. If they taste something and do not want it or like it, I do not push it. They have frequently identified foods they are allergic to by refusing certain foods. Like one of my sons tasted a strawberry once and avocado once and absolutely avoided them thereafter. Never had a reaction of any sort. Recently had a RAST done. He is allergic to both. Also, he used to eat peas readily as a 2 yr. old, but little by little started refusing them. RAST indicates he is also allergic to peas. My other son, occasionally would eat a bite or two of corn on the cob, but usually left it. His skin test (no RAST yet) indicates he is quite sensitive to corn! These particular foods caused minor reactions in my children, like post nasal drip or stuffy nose. Symptoms that could easily be blamed on a million other things and go unnoticed.

So - long and short is that it is probably ok to trust your child's preferences, set a good example by eating well yourself and frequently offering a variety of foods (in small amounts, along with foods that are liked) cause one day that food may just become quite appealing for no apparent reason! And probably do not need to worry about it. Just make good stuff available.

On May 19, 2003

I have a 22 month old and occasionally get into food ruts with her also. You could try feeding her those new foods when she is most hungry - my dd will eat anything in the morning. Who says you can't have spinach and turkey for breakfast? Another trick that gets her more apt to eating it is to have her 'help' me make it - omelettes or even heating chicken nuggets in the microwave. Good luck! They are challenging at this age, aren't they?

On May 19, 2003

My ds loves to dip also...amazing what he will eat when there is a pile of ketchup on his plate. Give that a try, it may work. Good luck

On May 19, 2003

Thanks to everyone who has replied. I probably should have mentioned that my DD is still breastfeeding a couple of times of day too. I am trying to slowly wean her.

Corvallis Mom: She is definitely not underweight. She weighs 28 lbs. right now and has plenty of little rolls on her legs. She eats a good size amount of food when she eats. It is just the same foods all the time. She does not like anything that is wet or slimy feeling. She only likes dry foods except for her yogurt. I can't even get her to try chocolate pudding. Does this sound like a sensory issue?

wendysco: The omelette idea sounds great. I would like to give it a try, but I have not given her egg yet. She tested negative to egg, so do you think she is old enough to try it now?

kstreeter: I keep offering her a variety. I guess I just get tired of throwing away so much untouched food every day. The puppet idea is a good one. She loves puppets. I will give it a try tomorrow.

Karissa's Mom: Yes, they are definitely challenging at this age. I was so spoiled, because my son (10 years old) would eat anything and still does!

Karen D: I have tried the dips and she gags on those too. She loves to dip the foods, but she will not eat them. She wants to feed them to me.

Thanks to everyone and if anyone else has any ideas, let me know!

Paula

On May 19, 2003

I have posted many times about my son's eating problems and the long road we are still on with him. (Becca, I have not forgotten that I promised to email you about this whole thing sometime!) One of these days I'll get it all down on paper, but not tonight...

For now let me just tell you that your daughter's eating habits sound so familiar to me. My son only eats a handful of foods, was a gagger (still is, at 5), and is not underweight. He is currently working with a team of professionals to help him re-learn how to eat. There is no particular diagnosis for WHY he is the way he is; right now the only suggestion is that he is "highly sensitive."

That being said, what I've learned from my many, many hours with occupational therapists is that picky eaters can often learn to eat new foods, it's just that it takes a long time to do it. Whereas most kids only need to be introduced to something 5, 6 or even 10 times, picky/highly sensitive kids need to see them HUNDREDS of times in succession to become comfortable with them.

Long story short ... just keep offering the new foods. And even when you think you should give up, keep going. The other suggestions from the moms here are great ones, but frankly, not a single one would work on my highly sensitive kid. Not at first, anyway. Remember, parents should choose WHAT their kids eat, and the kid should choose HOW MUCH. She may be trying to show you that she needs more control over it herself than you realize. Just a thought.

Good luck and don't give up! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On May 19, 2003

A couple more ideas...

Try chopping some veggies really really fine and sneak them into the grilled cheese sandwiches. Like finely chopped carrot, or zucchini. If it is tiny enough, and you only put a very small amount in, she might not notice. You could also try this with the yogurt, but she might not like the texture difference. Just make sure to only put in a teeny amount the first few times.

When introducing a new food, just put one or two tiny bites on her plate. That way, you won't be wasting much, and she might eventually want to try them. Hopefully, one day she will ask for more.

On May 20, 2003

Paula, your daughter is still so very young that I would chalk it up to her just getting used to eating people food. I think that since she is still breastfeeding she should be getting the vitamins she needs from your milk. I know you mentioned you're trying to wean her but maybe it is for the best that she is still nursing.

My 8 year old has always been a great eater; she is not picky and eats a lot. She is my pa/tna child, and as a baby was also allergic to milk and eggs! I was always so glad that she was such a good eater, since it was hard enough to find safe foods to feed her. I weaned her at age 2 and she would have continued to breast feed a lot longer - I think - if I had let her.

My three year old, on the other hand, is extremely picky! Fortunately he does eat a lot of fruit, but if he had his own way he would live on candy and cookies. He doesn't seem to have any food allergies - although we are waiting on peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and sesame - and he weaned himself at 10 months.

The one thing I have realized is how very different kids are. Both of my kids seem pretty healthy. It's funny that when my daughter was little I figured she was a good eater because I was doing things "right" and didn't make a big deal about whether or not she ate. My second one made me realize how delusional I was! That little guy is a junk food junkie from the word "go". His ears perk up at the mere mention of the word "candy" or "cookie". If anything green is on his plate he seems to think I have committed a mortal sin.

I guess I haven't been any help with food suggestions. But, I just want to offer you support that your little daughter will probably do just fine. Give the little sweetie a hug from me! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

On May 20, 2003

teacher, that is exactly what I was trying to convey. She gets to decide when her "tummy says stop" and *we* get to decide what's on the plate. We don't allow much snacking. I also figure that if I am very realistic about portion sizes, she is MUCH more likely to be hungry enough to try something new... like jicama... which she only tried because she was so sure it was apple slices [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]. But truly, it is tough to remember how little food they really *need* at this age- what will fit in their cupped hands is a hefty meal for them. So our solution is to offer our dd's favorite foods frequently, but NEVER to give her servings of them that are enough to fill her up on. (So she will get a few french fries but also gets salad and chicken... )

We had issues because of our dd's multiple food allergies. Anytime she had a reaction, she wouldn't eat anything but fresh fruit for days (at one point, she was reactive to most cereal grains, dairy, soy, and eggs in addition to pn... plus of course no tn or shellfish). Our allergist and regular doctor finally convinced us that the fact she was in the middle of the weight range meant she certainly wasn't going to starve herself- and that we should pay less attention to her behavior without giving up on a healthy, varied diet. We also used the "sneaky" method for fruits and veggies- banana-rice milk smoothies were a big hit, and spaghetti sauce with mixed pureed veggies in it is still a staple for us. By the time our dd was 18 months, she wouldn't eat if we fed her, either- it was a control issue. She has continued on that path, too- she insists on "helping" to cook everything from mashed potatoes to sourdough bread at four years old. (And I am far from supermom, so you can imagine what a pain I find this most of the time... oh well- she has to learn how to cook for herself anyway.)

I guess what I am trying to say is- relax! Food is definitely not an area that you want to lay groundwork for battles later. Not with a PA kid. They hold the trump card, remember? At the same time, it is even more critical for us to encourage our kids to turn to less highly processed foods because they are inherently SAFER dining choices (so a baked potato instead of french fries or tater puffs). [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Easy to say- MUCH harder to do, I know. *sigh* We just try to lead by example and ignore her editorial remarks at dinner. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

Shannon

PS- Since so many pa kids turn out to be egg allergic, too, you should REALLY ask your doctor about introducing them before age 2 or 3.

On May 20, 2003

Our pediatrician okays egg whites at 10 months, but then he's clueless with food allergies. We didn't have the benefit of an allergist at the time but if you have one I would ask them about the egg. My dd ate nothing but jarred oatmeal and pears until she was 10 1/2 months old and I took the bottle away(she still got formula but in a cup). That very day she started eating three meals and snacks however everything had to be bite size and able to pick up with fingers(she's very independent). She has just recently started eating veggie stew type dishes as we invested in a bunch of funky spoons, forks,etc..colors, characters whatever you can find. It's often enough to tempt our 2 1/2 yr old ds to eat if he isn't particularly keen on the meal. Thankfully I've been blessed with pretty good eaters, fair trade with all the food allergies. I used to worry about them getting a balanced diet without using wheat,milk or a lot of fruits as it got them all rashy(this was before we had official diagnosis from an allergist)but found a few products that were pretty fortified and they've grown well and been in the proper weight height scale so I guess I'm doing okay. They both love Teddy Puffs as a cereal and a snack, the company is Healthy Times and they make a few other things but d/t our food allergies we can't use most of them. Anyway they told me their cereal is PA/TNA safe. Will she take a multi-vitamin? Not a solve all but at least it's something. Also since I've had to eliminate egg and dairy from their diet, I've been putting a little olive oil in their food for fat/calories since their rice milk and all the other stuff they eat is low in fat, I used to rely pretty heavily on the egg and cheese in their diet for some high quality fats/cholesterol. Sorry to blab on, I guess my only point was bite size assortment or funky forks and spoons.

On May 21, 2003

Paula, I can relate. My 23 mos-old pn & soy allergic son (he's also off all legumes)has a lot of food issues. He has sensory issues & has been in oral motor/feeding therapy for about 4 mos. He would be happy to live off of cheerios, crackers & raisins. He has made progress, but it's been very slow. He definitely has textural aversions to foods. He prefers dry/crisp (for instance, he will eat crackers & hard toast but not bread) & he also likes smooth/creamy (like smooth yogurt). His therapist has told me that dry/crisp is the least offensive texture for sensitive kids.

What I have done is work w/ what he does eat & try to build on it. For instance instead of smooth yogurt, I try to give him yogurt w/ pieces of fruit (which he usually spits out, but has gotten better about). Or since he loves sweet things, instead of baby oatmeal cereal, I got him to accept highly sweetened "adult" instant oatmeal. I have gradually gotten him to accept more things, but it's been slow & frustrating! I spend more on foods for him & throw out so much, trying to find things he'll eat!

One thing his therapist does is use distractions/toys and she will feed him tiny pieces of lunch meat on crackers. She explained to me that he needs the sensory feedback of the cracker.

Other things I've gotten him to eat are soft scrambled eggs made w/ cream cheese (to make them extra creamy). He also likes cheddar cheese cubes. As far as fruit goes, I had better success getting him to eat dried fruit bits & raisins before fresh fruits. The only vegetable he'll eat straight up is corn. Another thing I've tried is pureeing things such as vegetable lasagna, which he will sometimes accept.

Another thing one of his therapists told me is that kids who won't touch certain textures w/ their hands will not put them in their mouths. So, I try to encourage him to touch his food. One thing I did to get him to eat pieces of soft apples (gerber) was to pour chocolate syrup on them and let him play/paint w/ it on his high chair tray (this was before I knew about his PA). He loved that! Now, he will occassionally eat diced peaches or pears in syrup.

HTH! Good luck! I know how frustrating this is!

Fran ds Jack 23 mos PN, soy, legumes allergic

On May 21, 2003

Every time I go on this board, I feel a little more whole! I know that's cheesy, but it's helpful to hear of other "sensitive" children - I thought my son was just odd. We know he's a classic introvert and therefore gets overstimulated very easily. Maybe THAT'S why he's such a picky eater! I never clued in to that! If it makes a mess, he won't eat it. Even his apple slices have to be completely symmetrical or he'll flip! We try not to take him too seriously - it's easy to feel like you're being barked at by Captain Von Trapp or something! Anyway, back to the discussion at hand: I agree with the advice not to wean right now - remember that breastmilk is the perfect food. If your child isn't getting enough variety, you're filling in the blanks with your breastmilk. Don't let "society" pressure you either (by which I mean MIL in most cases) about weaning or eating or anything. YOU know your child best. The only thing I can offer, since we're still very much in the thick of picky eating with our son, is being very careful with our wording when we introduce new foods. For instance, he loves chocolate donuts, so anything brown and sweet, we call, at first, "donut". Once he's tasted it, we call it "donut cake". Slowly adding words till he accepts or understands them. The other day, we gave him something called "special big-boy chocolate donut raisin cake". It's a mouthful, but he tried it! (Here's another little aside - my son won't eat the green, normal part of a broccoli stalk! We called it broccoli trees so he'd touch it at least, but I guess he doesn't want to eat the "leaves", so just eats the stalk! What a wierdo!)

On May 21, 2003

Maybe it would be helpful to let her feed you a little of these "new" foods. Gets her in the habit of interacting with the food rather than ignoring it and relating it to a positive response from you...might eventually peak her interest in trying it herself rather than giving it to you.

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