March 18, 2009

Sensory Food Aversions in Infants and Toddlers

Sensory Food Aversions is one of the most common feeding disorders during the first 3 years of life, when young children are transitioned to self-feeding, and when issues of autonomy and dependency have to be negotiated between parents and child.


This article, by Irene Chatoor, MD, discusses "picky eaters" and the importance of distinguishing between children who experience minor food aversions and those for whom their reluctance to eat may become a serious feeding problem.


http://www.zerotothree.org/site/DocServer/29-3_Chatoorv.pdf?docID=7961

13 comments:

Brianne said...

I came across this post today. Thank you so much for posting the link. For three years I have been thinking that I was horrible mother and must have done something wrong in introducing solid food to my child. Thank you for bringing me some relief.

Ayesha said...

I am going thru something like this and never thought it can happen. My daughter is 17 months old and she hates "food". I went to so many doctors and they tell me she will outgrow it. Toddlers are picky eaters. Worse than that I live in Middle East where finding a good pediatrician is a chore. Anyway looking forward to help my child. Right now I give her pediasure which is the only source of nutrients she is getting.

Linda Murray said...

My son has sensory issues and is suffering from sensory food adversion since he started solids. Ad discribed in this article, my son was also formula fed most of his life, had negative reactions to anything lumpy. refused meat products and green vegetables, and only liked the orange vegetable puree (no lumps) and fruit puree...

we had to supliment his diet with fruit/veg smoothies and vitamins, iron, DHA and Omega 3.

We are still struggling with this as he only eats 5 things, over and over and over.. every day is a struggle.. to try and get him to eat or try something new.

We are hoping a dietician or an OT can help with his food issues.

kavitha said...

my baby is 3 months , bottle fed on formula right from begiining .now she has started refusing the feeds , does not even touch the nipple when awake, but i am able to feed her some volume when she is sleeping. i ve changed the formula and nipple as a trial but no results... is it a part of sensory food aversion

Pam Dyson, MA, LPC, RPT said...

Kavitha, according to the information in the article to which I posted a link it's possible. If you've not already done so you need to speak to your child's doctor.

Anonymous said...

How can i print this article? I would like to give it to the teacher at the creche as she needs to understand my sons needs. He is very sensitive to food and is very picky about what he eats and when he eats. He started creche today and is already finding it difficult when it comes to eating the food they provide. I have packed all the food that he eats in his lunch box so he will eat but not the creche's food. Thanks!

Pam Dyson, MA, LPC, RPT said...

Go to the link I provided, click on it and when it opens use the print feature on your computer. Best wishes to you.

Sam said...

I haven't been able to print it because if copyright. Has anyone had any luck with printing the article?

I would also like to give it to the day care we attend so they can understand my daughters issues.

Pam Dyson, MA, LPC, RPT said...

My apologies as you are unable to print this article. You can contact Zero to Three for permission to reprint. I suggest you email the document to parties you want to share this information with.

Sam said...

Have emailed them for permission. Thank you.

Alli Grant said...

Hi Pam,
I read the article posted and think it describes the issues I'm having with my daughter. She is almost 16 months and a couple of months ago I started introducing her to finger food which seemed to be going well until a bout of tonsillitis when all of a sudden many foods made her choke and gag (obviously due to a sore throat). This has since resolved - she eats breakfast no problem - and will chew on toast. She will eat a sandwich for lunch crusts and all. But sit her in her high chair for dinner and the battle begins. Unless it is pureed to the point of baby food she will not even look at it and screams hysterically. If I try to give her anything with any type of texture or lumps she gags and vomits. Tonight I pureed dinner and she would not even look at it so I got her out of her high chair (trying to avoid the whole anxious dinner time thing) and give her a break but she clung to my leg sobbing because she was obviously hungry. Yet, wouldn't eat. I'm tearing my hair out about it - and have read the article. I just don't even know where to start to help her? Or what to do??

Pam Dyson, MA, LPC, RPT said...

I'm not an expert on food aversions and since this has only been happening for a couple of months I suggest you give it some time. Perhaps she's tired at dinner time?

I also suggest you consult with your pediatrician about your concerns.

Best wishes to you.

Joanne said...

So glad I came across this. My son is nearly 4 years old and has been refusing all fruit, veg and meat, pasta, rice since he was around 18 months old. His diet is so restricted although we have always tried to get him to get more foods through various methods. He eats plenty of dairy, fish, potato, bread and cereals fine but not too much else, besides packaged snack food. I am sure that he has sensory food aversion - he totally fits the criteria and also has oral motor problems. As a family we eat healthy, home cooked meals and encourage him to try things from our plates but he absolutely refuses and seems downright frightened of the food so I have never forced him or made a big issue about it. Other people think I am not strict enough on him but that has never felt like the right thing to do with him. I am glad I went with my gut feeling. We even tried a sticker chart, bribery, allowing him to choose foods, making his own meal, refusing to give him anything else until he ate what was given - none of it made a difference. He would rather go hungry.