Mr. Picky Eater And His Food Allergies

Mr. Picky Eater And His Food Allergies

SHARE
Picky Eater
Having a child with food allergies means you probably have a picky eater.  As babies, they have a natural defense/instinct to reject foods that could harm them. Nature is well made. As they grow older, they become a bit fearful of food and trying new things, which makes feeding an allergic child more challenging.

My son is allergic to wheat, eggs and sesame. He does not have a true allergy to milk, but it can trigger his eczema.

He is now 3 years old and it’s been an uphill battle to get him to eat. I always thought by 3, these problems would be far behind me. I kept telling myself, “Oh next year will be better.” Then a year would go by and I would have new challenges.

Like the French saying: “enfants petits, petits soucis; grands enfants, grands soucis.” (little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems).

My son’s introduction to solids was more or less successful. He graduated from my homemade purees to my homemade rice bowls (rice, meat or fish, veggies and bone broth chicken soup). While he needed major entertaining to open his mouth and eat, he did eat his rice bowls religiously – until 1 month before he turned 3. Then, he flat out rejected his beloved rice bowls. It was like a cowboy standoff and there was no way of winning this duel.

PIcky-Eater-Rice-bowl

Now at 3 years old, he is the dictator of his meals.

Can you imagine my nightmare? Mr. Picky Eater will only eat a few bites of chicken or fish. If I’m lucky, he eats spinach and green beans too. For snack time, he was rejecting his nicely cut up fruit, until one day he decided to take a bite out of a whole apple. I quickly grabbed my smart phone to record this monumental moment as I knew this was the beginning of great things. Now, he excitedly holds a whole apple and chomps through it with his little teeth.

So while I was losing hope (and many of you moms may relate!!), I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to that magical apple moment, I’ve relinquished some power and decided to pick my battles and not fight a war.

What have I learned after 3 stressful and anxiety-ridden years?

  • Try to back track and let my son discover and love food for himself – just like we’re told to do when babies start experimenting with solids around 6 months old. So what if he wants to eat the same thing every day?
  • Become a short order cook – I let my son watch me cook his meals to build up his appetite and curiosity. This trick has become a savior for me. And, this little effort only takes 5-10 minutes, but helps my skinny string bean put on weight.
  • Finally, ensure he gets a good afternoon of running or scooting around the park to get his tummy rumbling with hunger.

Now you’re probably wondering, what about nutrition? I was beyond stressed about my son’s growth since he is very tall for his age, but super skinny.

I was reassured at his 3-year exam by his French pediatrician and allergist that he is fine. Here in France, they like the kids thin. However, an additional opinion by his American pediatrician was not as promising and resulted in a menace to my son: “If you don’t eat your fruits and veggies, you’ll have to get vitamin shots!”

Picky-eater-apple2

In the end, who is right? I don’t think there are any right answers – just feelings and instinct. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to children, let alone allergic children and feeding issues. As parents, we know our child best so we heed the advice of doctors and ultimately decide what is appropriate for our child.

So for all you parents out there who may be anxious and stressed out like me, I hope to provide you with some comfort. Remember – kids will eventually eat when they’re hungry – even the most picky ones. Sometimes it takes a lot of exercise to build up that appetite, or it may take some theatrics like a personal cooking show.

I just take one day at a time. I’m grateful that he is eating a little more and growing. I do want some more meat on his bones though. Is that asking for too much?

If you have a picky eater with allergies and have discovered ways to get him to eat, please share them with INSPIRELLE.

Good-bye glamorous New Yorker life and corporate in-house counsel gig… Hello to mommy chic Parisian life! Since 2009, Vivienne Yung has been living in the City of Lights with the love of her life and her 2 amazingly rambunctious boys. During her once-in-a-lifetime free moments, she enjoys discovering the endless beauty of art, fashion, history and gastronomic feasts her new home has to offer. Vivienne also has an ongoing mission to treat and cure her younger son’s trilogy of food allergies, eczema and asthma in the most natural way possible--a challenge she is documenting for INSPIRELLE!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing Angie. The feeding struggle is real at 3 years old, especially since communication can also be an obstacle. This period is so stressful, but from experience, it will get better. Over the years, my son has become very vocal about what he wants to eat or not. His curiosity and courage has helped him try new foods. Like your daughter, many meals that were on rotation are totally out now that he’s sick of them. Luckily, they have been replaced with a new rotation of meals. Watching cooking videos together and trying new recipes helped a lot. My son now enjoys helping me cook or even cooking some of his own meals under my supervision. Something magical happens when he puts on an apron and holds a spatula. Could be worth a try for you and your daughter? Best of luck!

  2. I have a three-year-old who is allergic to eggs and will not drink milk. She eats around the clock and doesn’t eat full meals and I have yet to figure out how to get her to eat more. Her doctor said this to let her eat whatever she wants so that way she can gain some weight. She’s small for her age. I think she is finally getting tired of the things that she has been eating repetitively and now I need new ideas because she’s very picky.

  3. I completely relate to you and share your worries. At 9 years old, my picky little eater has graduated to a steady rotating menu of a handful of meals. Once in a blue moon, he is brave to try something new and sometimes it’s a winner, most times not. While frustrating, I’m thankful for these small wins. Sometimes seeing our family enjoy a certain food can be enough to entice his curiosity to take that first bite.

  4. My daughter is almost 12 and eating the exact same foods since birth. She is allergic to wheat, eggs and peanuts…I pray that she try more foods. I worry about her nutrition and overall quality of life. She is also a proclaimed vegetarian…

LEAVE A REPLY

12 + twelve =

All comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment right away, please be patient. It may be posted soon. There's no need to post your comment a second time. Thank you!