Fussy Eaters

Most babies learn which foods they like through their food experiences in the first year, this helps them develop the ability to manage different textures and explore and accept different flavours.

It is not uncommon for children to begin to refuse, or show fear around previously accepted foods as they move into their second year, this is a typical developmental phase.

Unfortunately, some children find it very difficult to move through this stage. They may begin to reject many of the foods that they used to accept and may no longer be willing to try new foods as they may once have done. Children feel safer eating the foods they know and so stick to these.

Typically this phase will pass, however we can support children by continuing to give them opportunities to taste new (or no longer accepted) foods as part of family meal times.

Typical children are able to identify their own hunger / full signals and will refuse extra food when they are full. We should try to listen and trust our children when they are telling us they have had enough. It is our role to decide when they are going to be offered food, and what they are going to be offered but it is the child’s role to decide what of the food offered they are going to eat.

The quantity of food a child has day to day can vary, as can the quantity needed from one child to another, as long as your child is growing and developing normally then they are taking the right quantity of food for their own needs.

Occasionally ‘fussy’ eating can be linked to a medical diagnosis, a developmental need, or a memory associated with discomfort on eating, these children are likely to need additional support to move on with their food acceptance.

If you have concerns about your child’s food acceptance you can speak to GP or Health Visitor as a first point of call. They will be able to give you general strategies to try and will be best placed to identify if an onward referral to a speech and language therapist is needed. A speech and language therapist can assess if you child has a physical difficulty with their eating and drinking as well as take a further look at what may be causing the restricted food acceptance.

Associated Services

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Children’s Speech & Language Therapy

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