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Kids feeding team answer your questions

Worried parent

My son is 6 1/2 years old and has always been fussy and I have tried everything to get him to eat but he just cries and gags on it is there any advice you can offer for him?

Amber Hale Worried mum
Worried parent

Fussiness in children can be common believe me you are not alone! However this can lead parents and carers to believe it is inevitable and harmless, this is not true. If left to persist it can lead to nutritional deficiencies, faltering growth and cause immense stress on you and your family. I can work with you and your son to identify the root of the fussiness. Through education and an individualised treatment plan tailored to suit you and your family.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My child is two, has suffered with loads of illness and is not eating well, please can you tell me what services you can offer i'm really worried about him?

Angie diaz Mum of poorly son looking for services
Worried parent

I understand your worry with this, and it's understable because illness and lack of nutritional intake can lead to bigger problems and prolonged recovery time. With the “weaning window” being a short time frame if your child is unwell during this period it is not uncommon for this to be missed leading to fussy eating. I have lots of experience in working with critically ill babies and children so i'm aware of the problems and issues that may surround your child’s reasoning for not eating well. Each child is individual and an assessment would allow me to assess your child’s growth and nutritional status whilst identifying any areas his/her diet may be lacking whilst advising and implementing a plan to overcome this.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My baby is 18 months and is one of a twin. They were born five weeks early and incubated until old enough to breastfeed. She was fully weaned then had tonsillitis three months ago and hasn’t eaten since. Her diet consists of milk and occasionally a very small amount of sweetcorn. I am very concerned please can you help?

Annie leino Concerned mum of twins
Worried parent

When a child has been poorly, they can associate food with pain, even if it wasn't the direct cause of their illness or pain. It is important we work together to help rebuild and re-establish a positive relationship with food for your child. As your child is getting older, her requirements are increasing and it's important your child is receiving enough energy, vitamins, minerals and fluid to grow and develop without faltering growth. I can work with you and your child to initiate an adequate diet and leave her feeding problems behind.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My son was born at 26 weeks and was feeding for the first 6 months but since last year has stopped eating and began gagging. He has had an NG tube since October 2016 and is awaiting a peg. He has a congenital deformity and we think he might have sensory processing issues and oral aversions, he is always throwing up, could you help with this?

Dwight perkins Dad of son who has congenital deformity
Worried parent

This sounds like a lot of children who have had trouble weaning from tube and moving onto an oral diet. I have extensive experience with tube feeding, tube dependency and aversions. We can assess your child as part of a multidisciplinary team to decide on the most appropriate treatment plan according to the additional support he needs.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

I have an 18 month old boy who has had feeding issues since birth. He was treated for reflux and potential CMPA as a younger baby. His refusal to take milk led to weaning at 5 months and his issues have carried on into solid foods, with him refusing to eat and forced vomiting which are exacerbated by illness. We are at our wits end and have had no joy with a referral to a paediatrician and dietician both of whom just labelled him as a fussy eater who will grow out of it but we are finding the opposite. He is a good weight but this is putting a huge strain on our family can you help?

Ali mercier Stressed parents of fussy eater
Worried parent

I am experienced in all these areas and can develop a treatment plan to ensure his feeding problems don't continue into being a toddler. To book an assessment please contact us.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hi, I am just wondering what experience / help you would be able to provide for my daughter, Josephine. She is almost 2.5 years old and is still on 4-6 month old baby jars of purée food (and a specific brand & texture of these).

Bella Ryan Mum needing help for fussy tot
Worried parent

Our dietitian can assess your child and ensure she is getting the adequate nutrients, fluid and energy she needs to grow and develop.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Help my daughter has never progressed with weaning since the offset at 6 months and never had an interest in food. When we tried the next stage up she would gag & refuse to eat. For a long time she would only eat yogurts. She is now three and I think she might have a sensory problems.

Grace Jackson Worried parents of three year old
Worried parent

Our dietitian can assess your child as part of a multidisciplinary team of physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists to assess if she has any sensory conditions which are contributing to her eating difficulties. I will also ensure she is eating an adequate diet of nutrients to help her grow and develop without fault.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Can you help my son is 2 and the only table food he eats is toast!! His other 2 meals are purée. We continue to offer new foods but his resistance is beyond “picky.”

Gloria Jackson Concerned parents of fussy eater
Worried parent

I am experienced in fussy eating and can assess if your child is receiving adequate nutrients and energy from his limited diet. To book an assessment please contact us.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

We have been seeing an NHS dietitian for over a year, who discharged us as she could not offer any more ideas. We also see a paediatrician every 4-6 months, who we haven’t really got anywhere with. The paediatrician suspects my child may have autism as he has issues with food as he also doesn’t like messy play, loud noises, new environments / people, etc. Can you help?

Lucas Poulsen Parents of possible autistic son who won't eat
Worried parent

We can offer a multidisciplinary team of dietitians, occupational therapists and physiotherapists who are experienced in autism and the feeding issues which sometimes follow. To book an assessment please contact us.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

I have a 24 month old. She is generally a happy little girl but the sensory / feeding issues are a massive concern to myself and my Husband. We are unsure what to try next. Can you help?

Ashton walker Parents of possible autistic son who won't eat
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch with us. Our team have experience within sensory and feeding issues and can ensure your child is getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop. We have specialist paediatric occupational therapists which can give a treatment plan alongside the dietitian to reduce the effects of her sensory based feeding difficulties and increase the variety of her diet.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

I have recently completed an 8 week online tube weaning programme for my child that needs to start eating solid food. He was born 8 weeks prem and has been tube fed since birth. Following the online programme has made no progress. What can you do to help?

Julia Pierre Mum of tube fed son
Worried parent

We can work with you and your child to ensure they are weaning efficiently from their tube. Eating can be scary for children who have been tube fed since birth, therefore, it's essential they receive intense dietetic support as they are being introduced to new foods. Following an online course can be successful without the onhand help and support of a dietitian. As part of the Kids Feeding Team assessment and treatment plan, you have regular accessibility to a registered paediatric dietitian who will adapt and change the plan according to your baby or child’s tolerability.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Our 3.5 year old son is very limited in the food types that he will eat (flavours and textures). He has always had this problem since weaning and we had been hopeful that he would improve as time passed but unfortunately this hasn't happened. We are aware that he will be starting school in 18 months and would like some advice and guidance ahead of this deadline, is this something that you would be able to help us with?

Jonathan Price Parents of picky eater needing help
Worried parent

This is definitely something we could help with. It is likely something triggered your son’s restrictive eating habits during the weaning period, such as an illness or disliking to a food. This sometimes leads to a very restrictive diet which is likely to cause energy and nutrient deficiencies and possible faltering growth if left untreated. Although having this deadline is a great starting point to motivate you to contacting a dietitian for help, i wouldn't concentrate too much on this. These restrictions have been occurring for a long time and they may take quite a number of years to be undone.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My son is almost 3 years old and has a genetic abnormality which affects his gross motor development, speech, and learning. He has no interest in food and every mealtime is a battle to get him to eat anything. He is currently spoon fed pureed or mashed up food. He requires constant distraction using toys, iPad or tv to actually eat anything. He was a little better at eating about a year ago, but I feel he's just getting worse with food all the time now. He is always pushing the food away and shaking his head to avoid being feed. If we give him food to feed himself, unless it's chocolate, biscuits, crisps, he'll just throw it on the floor. The OT we say said "he'll eat when he's hungry", but he won't, that's a known issue with people who have a similar genetic condition to him. He also had sensory issues and won't play with soft or messy food. We have to be careful because he struggles to gain weight, so allowing him to skip meals or eat too little will be problematic.

Eva woods Anxious mum of 3 year old with genetic abnormality
Worried parent

Often children with chromosome changes have a different reaction to hunger and eating than normal children, so they require a specialist eating plan to ensure they are getting the energy and vitamins they need to grow and development. Although we may not be able to ever get him to eat the amount of a child without his disorder, we can aim to improve his tolerance to certain foods and textures as much as possible. We can also look at ways to get the most nutrition out of what your son will eat, allowing you and him to become more relaxed with foods and then work on introducing a wider spectrum of food groups. This kind of plan is very trial and error and as part of our treatment I will be on hand for dietetic advice throughout.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My 16 week old daughter has been having feeding issues since birth. Initially breast fed and then moving onto a variety of dairy free formulas as doctors suspected a dairy intolerance due to constant crying and screaming in pain. She has had nutramigen, neocate and now on puramino. The pain she has hasn't really improved. We think she has silent reflux as we constantly hear a popping sound of liquid coming up into her throat. She is on omeprazole to reduce pain but again this doesn't seem to help. She takes very little at feeds (2-3 ounces usually) and then 4 ounces during the night when she is drowsy. She is growing because we are really persevering with feedings and feeding regularly (model every 2 and half hours). The popping sound of the milk coming up can happen even after 3 hours since feeding. We cannot lie her down. Her cot is tilted, we hold her upright for 30 minutes after every feed and she spends a lot of time in a bouncy chair as she is most comfortable. She will squirm and move her body into strange positions hours after feeding. She often chokes and gags during feeding.

Julia Makela Worried mum of daughter who has had feeding issues since birth
Worried parent

Hello, I'm sorry to hear about the pain your daughter is going through. Usually these are clear signs of cow's milk protein allergy, but it sounds like you’ve had no relief from the extensively hydrolysed formulas which usually resolve symptoms. There's likely to be a combination of reasons why your baby is struggling with her milk intake and portraying signs of pain. I would be interested to have a consultations with yourself and delve a little deeper into her symptoms and see if there's any other allergies she may have which have not been picked up. As part of our treatment plan I will support and monitor your child’s nutritional intake, weight and length to ensure she is growing at the rate which is healthy and optimum for her, whilst trying to relieve her symptoms.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello, I need help getting my toddler to eat fruit and vegetables.

Kathy Jones Fed up mum
Worried parent

Hello, I’m sorry to hear you’re having a trouble with getting your toddler to eat fruit and vegetables. This is a very common probably with children in general. Evidence shows that eating habits obtained in toddlers and children are likely to carry on in adulthood. Evidence also demonstrates that children who eat a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables are more likely to be a healthy body weight, have fewer colds and therefore fewer days off school- which is why it is so important to get these special foods into your toddlers diet! As a dietitian I will assess your child’s nutritional intake and incorporate strategies into my treatment plan on how to get enough fruit and vegetable sinto your toddlers diet. This can take time, patience and perseverance but with the right techniques it is certainly possible.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello. My daughter is 10 and has become an incredibly fussy eater. Family mealtimes are really stressful as I watch her struggle to eat even a mouthful of food that she has requested and that she has previously enjoyed. The number of food items she can eat is getting smaller and smaller and she will also reject foods with any imperfections. I am very worried about her. She has no medical conditions that we are aware of and is neurotypical. Can you help us at all?

Adam Lambert Stressed family of fussy eater
Worried parent

Hello, I am sorry to hear your daughter is very fussy with her eating, this can often cause distress and worry in a family. It is important to tackle fussy eating as soon as possible; if it is left to continue it may cause nutritional deficiencies, poor weight gain and faltering growth. As part of my treatment plan I will assess your daughter’s nutritional intake, ensure she is getting enough energy and nutrients to grow and development adequately, whilst incorperating strategies to reduce her fussy eating behaviours. This may take time, patience and perseverance. I will be responsible for reviewing your daughter and to change the plan accordingly.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello Kids Feeding Team, I have a son who I weaned and fed by the book. He was weaned at 6 months and showed signs of food aversion / fear of food / vomiting. This continues until now he is a toddler and will only eat 2-3 specific food. He keeps his mouth shut at nursery hasn’t been eating (until yesterday where he ate some pasta at nursery) so I'm questioning if he is playing games and whether it is behavioural. His favourite food is rice which he will eat, I have managed to introduce chicken sometimes more recently but ONLY if rice not on the same plate (if rice is on the same plate he will only eat that) I know it’s not good to keep food separate but it’s the only way he will eat more protein. I am unsure if I need to see a dietitian alone or with an occupational therapist as he seems quite sensory by putting food in his mouth and pulling it out if he doesn't like it. He also has poor weight gain and faltering growth.

Maria Parry Confused mum of son with food aversions
Worried parent

It sounds like your son has a combination of problems which may be affecting his nutritional intake and exacerbating his fussiness with food. It is difficult to diagnose a multifactorial case like your son’s so he would benefit from a multidisciplinary team of therpiaust as you suggested to see if any physical problems are affecting his ability to tolerate food. It may be that he has learned fussiness and refusing foods gets him more attention, which may exacerbate the behavioural problems. As part of a multidisciplinary team we will aim to find the cause of his fussy eating and incorporate a plan to reduce his food refusals and aim to include a variety of food groups. This may take time and patience. I will assess his nutritional intake and incorporate a plan which helps him achieve weight gain and reduce the effects of his faltering growth.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello, my son was born at 26 weeks and was feeding fine for the first 6 months but since mid-august 2016 has stopped eating and began gagging. He has had an NG tube since October 2016. He had a Barium swallow test which revealed a congenital deformity, but our consultant has assured them this had nothing to do with Orson’s inability to swallow. We think he has a sensory processing issue and oral aversions. He will be getting a PEG feed in soon, but currently throws up often. Is something you can help with?

Authur Girard Dad of son due for a PEG feed
Worried parent

Hello, thank so much for getting in contact with us. I feel like to assess your son adequately i will need more information regarding their swallow, but this is likely something we can help with as part of a multidisciplinary team. Our speech and language therapist can assess your son’s swallow and recommend if they can have any food in a different texture. I can assess your son’s PEG feed and nutritional intake to ensure he is getting enough energy and nutrients to grow and develop adequately. Our occupational therapists can assess his sensory processing issues and we can develop a multifactorial treatment plan which will help your son grow and develop to his optimal potential.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello, I would like to enquire about the availability of an initial assessment appointment for my Daughter with your dietitian service at the clinic in Manchester. My daughter is 2yrs & 7mth old and we are currently worried about her weight. Could you help with this?

Bernard Armstrong Dad looking for a dietitian assessment
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch! This is definitely something I can help with. I can assess your child’s nutritional intake and work out if there is an energy or nutrient deficiency which is causing her poor weight gain. I will then give you a treatment plan to ensure a steady and healthy weight gain whilst ensuring she is getting the vitamins and nutrient she needs.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello, my daughter is 10 years old and is struggling to lose weight. It is quite obvious by looking her she is unhealthily overweight and i feel like like I’ve tried everything to help her lose it but she can't. Can you help?

Lisa Petersen Worried mum of overweight daughter
Worried parent

Hello, I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with your daughter’s weight. Often people refer to their child’s weight problem as ‘puppy fat’ or say that ‘they'll grow out of it’. Unfortunately in today's obesogenic society this is not happening, resulting in two thirds of our adult population overweight or obese. I can definitely help with your daughters weight and health problems. At her age we wouldn't necessarily want a large weight loss, as this may reduce her growth potential but we would aim for a steady maintenance and as she gets taller this will become healthier for her size. I will also ensure she is eating a healthy, balanced, varied diet with enough vitamins and minerals to keep her healthy.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hi. My granddaughter had open heart surgery at 7 months old me. She suffered a massive choking fit because of all the tubes etc. Since then, she will not eat. All she has is baby formula milk and smooth yoghurt. If the tiniest of lumps enters her mouth, she gags violently and is sometimes sick. We have been passed from pillar to post trying to get help, with no luck. She is now 3 years old, and we are desperate for help. She sucks wotsits, but puts them in a bowl. She will not bite or chew, and always wipes her mouth and hands if she gets drink or yoghurt on it. PLEASE HELP OUR BEAUTIFUL GIRL TO ENJOY FOOD.

Michelle Burner Anxious grandmother looking for help for grandaughter
Worried parent

Hello, im so sorry to hear the turmoil you have been through with your granddaughter’s eating problem. This is definitely something we can help with as part of a multidisciplinary team. Children who have spent large of times being ill are susceptible to food aversions due to associating food with their illness. I can help your child enjoy food again to ensure she is getting the energy, vitamins, minerals and fluid she needs to grow and develop.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello I've searched for help in my area but there doesn't seem to be any. My 16 month old started solids by baby led weaning and was doing well. He then started teething and refused everything but purée food. Now he won't eat anything unless it's puree and takes hours to eat his meals, is this something you can help with?

Craig Richards Dad from scotland looking for paediatric feeding clinic
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch for advice about your son. Sometimes babies start to associate pain they've had with feeding, and usually it is not something you could have prevented. It sounds like your son needs a combination of nutritional assessment to ensure he is growing adequate,y and a treatment plan to help increase his tolerance to a wide range of foods.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello, my 7 yr old girl has a fear of swallowing. She will only eat smooth chocolate or yoghurt. She is very distressed. She nearly choked on a crisp which has put this fear into her. This is her second episode of this behaviour this year. The last one was at Easter time lasting about 8 wks. We are in week 4 and it’s causing us all a lot of stress. Need to get her confidence back. Can you help?

Clive Beckham Distressed family needing help
Worried parent

Thanks for getting in touch. We understand this must be very distressing for you as parents. There may be a multitude of reasons why she is struggling to swallow things other than a smooth consistency such as behavioural reasons, physical problems with her swallow or general anxiety caused by previous negative experience that you mention such as choking on a crisp. For your daughter I would suggest we see her as a personable multidisciplinary team of dietitians, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. This will help us rule out any physical or mechanical problems that may have caused her choking in the first place and the dietitian can give a nutritional treatment plan to ensure she is getting the nutrients she needs to grow to her best potential.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My little boy is 2.5 years and has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He was born with an unsafe swallow and this has now improved to eating soft/lumpt food and relying on a PEG feed for ½ his fluid requirements.hilst he is making great progress with eating he is still not keen to finger feed or put anything in his mouth himself and does not seem to know how to chew, which I feel would be the next step for him. Whilst we understand this may not be possible we would be keen to explore therapy to see whether it might be possible for this to develop. We live in Edinburgh, but would be happy to travel to Manchester for some appointments with potentially Skype appointment etc in interim. I would be grateful if you could let me know whether this might be the sort of intervention you do.

Johathan Spark Parents of son with cerebral palsy from Edinburgh
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch about your son. This is definitely something that we could look at as a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Our Kids Feeding Team includes dietitians, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. These allow a thorough assessment of all physical, nutritional and behavioural aspects of the problems your son is presenting with. Skype assessments as an interim would be recommended for you and certainly possible between physical appointments to reduce your travel.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello My son is 21 months old and has short Bowel syndrome, He has been on TPN and PEG since birth and at present has gradually weaned down from 7 to 4 nights per week of tpn. In his first months of life he couldn’t tolerate anything orally at all. From 4 months he gradually increased from a few ml orally to about 40 ml a few times a day but at around 7 months he refused to drink. Around this time we had started to offer him food and for a round a year he tried foods, puréed things, yogurt, bite and dissolve foods. In recent months he has got extremely fussy - he will hardly try anything at all and retches a lot at the sight of food. He is on omeprazole and has had a lot of issues in the past with vomiting, having ng tubes passed etc so understandably is quite averse but also has never really had a hunger drive to eat due to the tpn and peg feeds. He should feel hungrier in theory as the tpn weans down but he isn’t showing any increased interest in food. We offer things, no pressure, play with food, touch it etc but he will rarely eat anything and if he does he often spits it back out and doesn’t swallow. We are Cardiff based. I wonder if any of your services would suit us, how it would work and what the cost implications would be.

Erin Davis Mother of son with short bowel syndrome
Worried parent

Hello, thank you for taking the time to get in touch and explain about your son’s complex conditions, it sounds like he has been through a lot and it is understandable he is now portraying food aversions. This is certainly common with children who experienced many health problems and medical procedures as a baby; they start to associate food with pain and discomfort even if it was not the original cause of the pain. We recommend that your child sees our multidisciplinary team of dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. We would not recommend adjusting his TPN outside of a hospital, but can certainly work on techniques to increase his food intake. We would communicate this all back to the consultant he is under. With you living in cardiff, we would recommend an initial trip to our clinic initially and then skype assessments as an interim, until we think it necessary for your son to be seen in person again.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

I have a daughter who is 2 this month. We did nothing differently when weaning her to our son who is 3. But she won’t eat. I stopped breastfeeding her at 14 months she will occasionally eat a few mouthfuls of pasta, grapes and yoghurt. Very rarely some toast and chips and crisps. She has refused to try or eat anything else that we offer. We continue to offer a variety of food but are having no clue. Her eating hasn’t regressed it’s always been awful. She doesn’t sleep well at all and we believe it’s all interlinked. Please help

Laurie Reid Anxious mother of daughter who doesn't eat or sleep well
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch with us. This is definitely something we can help with at Kids Feeding Team. Our specialist paediatric dietitians have a wealth of experience with toddlers and food aversions. We can assess your daughter and incorporate techniques to help reduce her aversions to food and increase her nutritional intake, enabling her to grow and develop to her optimal potential.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

We have problem with feeding our daughter. She is 2yrs old and problems started when she was 5 weeks old. Her diet is limited to 20 products, main food is still milk. We still don't have any diagnosis from the hospital dietetics team. We want to know could you try to make a diagnosis and prepare some kind of therapy for our daughter?

Andy Webb Parents looking for a diagnosis for daughter
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in contact with us at kids feeding team, we are sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling with feeding adequately. Our multidisciplinary team of dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists can help assess, diagnose and then treat your daughter according to what her diagnoses is.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My 16 month old son has always struggled with fluid and food intake and has steadily dropped weight and height percentiles for some time. He has a history of severe constipation, reflux and silent reflux. Can you help?

Floyd Bates Anxious dad of 16 month old who is losing weight
Worried parent

Hello, thank you for your enquiry. Dropping weight and height percentiles is a red flag sign that your son is malnourished and requires dietetic intervention. Malnutrition can cause faltering growth, development delay and physical growth delay. Our dietitians can assess, diagnose and treat your son’s malnutrition and help him meet his energy and nutrient requirements with a bespoke treatment plan which fits into your lifestyle.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello Kids Feeding Team. My son is 2 years old and won't eat any meals/food. The only thing that he will eat is things like sweets and chocolate. Up until around a few months ago he was fine with eating the meals made for him and this is a recent problem. Can you help?

Frank Picard Concerned dad
Worried parent

Thanks for your enquiry. It is very sensible that you have contacted us early, before left to develop further. This is certainly something we can help with. Our team of specialist peadiatric dietitians can assess your son's requirements, nutritional intake and meet the deficit through a bespoke treatment plan to ensure he starts to eat proper meals again.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello Kids Feeding Team, I have a 14 month old baby who’s having difficulty eating solid food. They chew it and then spit it out. They are taking milk and yoghurts. Appears to be very fussy and moves hand in the way to stop food from entering. Please can you help?

Maria Webb Anxious mum of 14 month old
Worried parent

Hello, it sounds like your baby has had trouble with weaning which has developed into food aversions. This can lead to your baby not getting a balanced diet rich in the energy and nutrients they need to grow properly. This is definitely something I can help with. I can take anthropometric measurements to ensure your son is growing and developing adequately and then provide a bespoke treatment plan with strategies to encourage a more diverse intake with an aim to eventually remove the aversions. This process can take some time but with the right dietitian support it is possible to reverse these.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hi, I wonder whether you have someone based out in London that could help please? I have a 17 month old boy - who I weaned on purees at 6 months - great feeder (as in he will try a variety of foods - meat, fish, chicken, fruit, veg) but our issue has always been : I have had to spoon feed him as: (a) he shows no interest in spoon feeding (b) throws bowl and spoon on floor (so I've always held these in my hands and spoon fed - otherwise he'd end up not eating anything (c) he's OK with finger foods Now, recently, @ 17 months, he had decided not to want to be spoon - fed, but the worry is that he seems 'scared' of the spoon: closes his eyes, has no interest in picking it up, pushes me away with his hands ... I'm very concerned about this now as his diet has become very limited (can't feed muesli for breakfast anymore, even yoghurt his favourite, well neither - as that comes off the spoon). I've always found him 'difficult' in that he has this thing for throwing everything - his toys, sippy cup, fork/spoon, bowl - anything he'll take once, then throw out. He also seems to have texture issues - never liked banana, avocado - I think its texture related. Any help please? Much appreciated!

Maria Roche Very concerned mum from london
Worried parent

Hello, thanks so much for getting in touch with us. Unfortunately we do not have someone in london, but we do offer skype assessments. My concern with your son is that it sounds quite behavioural related, which may require input from an occupational therapist in our clinic environment. I would recommend an initial free phone consultation with yourself so we can find out a bit more information and we can go from there.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My 2 year old son will only eat crisps, fruit baby pouches, the odd biscuit and chocolate. He won’t even try anything else. I still give him formula milk because I am afraid he won’t be getting enough iron, etc on normal milk. I know he drinks too much milk but I don't want him to go hungry (it’s a vicious circle). He also won’t drink water. I cannot get him to use a straw or normal cup - only bottles. If he would eat food I could stop all the milk and then I think he would be more likely to feel thirsty and have water too.

Niamh Pelto Worried mum of son who drinks too much milk
Worried parent

Hello, it sound like your son is showing signs of fussy eating and food aversions at a young age. I think your son would benefit from an assessment and treatment plan from our specialist dietitians. These will aim to alter his behaviour to food and drink and eventually meet his nutritional requirements via a healthy balanced diet, rather than you meeting it via milk. Our dietitians will monitor his weight and height to ensure he is growing adequately despite his poor food intake.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

I need help getting my 4 1/2 year old daughter to improve her eating habits. At present she will only eat ‘beige’ foods. Anything else that is put in front of her turns into a hysterical situation from upset, to anger and fear of food. She has been this way as long as I can remember and have visited our gp and health visitors only to be told that she will effectively ‘grow out of it’ which hasn’t happened. She is due to start Reception in September and will be on school supplies meals as is every pupil at the school and I don’t want this to be a traumatic experience for her everyday or to be singled out for how she reacts to certain meal situations. All the usual ways of trying to get her to try something new just don’t work with her and she is extremely stubborn and strong willed. I would appreciate any advice you could give us as I am out of options.

Catherine Murphy Mum of 4 ½ year old at end of her tether
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in contact with us here at Kids Feeding Team. it sound like your child has quite a severe case of fussy eating. I would certainly need some more information about her dietary intake to make an accurate nutritional assessment to see what nutritional deficiencies she may have due to her limited diet. On assessment, I will give a bespoke dietetic treatment plan which will aim to meet her nutritional requirements to grow and development properly whilst incorporating strategies to widen her variety of food.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My son is 22 months old. I am very desperate for help regarding his eating. From the age of 7 months I realised he showing a lot of red flags for autism. I have gone back and forth with doctors and health visitors but no one can help me as he is too young to diagnose. Meanwhile he is getting worse. He now has major sensory issues and eats absolutely nothing. All he has is 3 bottles of milk a day and even that is a battle. He gags when he even sees food. In this past month has progressed to eating wotsits and quavers which is not healthy at all but a miracle that he picks it up and eats it. I have tried putting things like peas, carrots, toast etc in front of him but he is not interested. It's a very hard situation to deal with and he is losing weight. Can you please let me know if this is something you can help me with?

Florence Alexander Desperate mum of 22month old son who wont eat
Worried parent

Hello, thanks so much for contacting us about your son. It sounds like this is a very hard situation to deal with for you and must be very distressing. Although he doesn't have a direct diagnosis for autism, we can try to work on his behaviour and eating behaviours as though he did have. We have a multidisciplinary team of professionals which can help with his eating behaviours. Our specialist dietitian can help input a bespoke treatment plan to ensure he is getting enough energy and nutrients to grow and development adequately, whilst incorporating techniques to help with his behaviour.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My baby is 10 weeks old and the doctors/HV won’t help with advice on his bottle feeding. He’s never been a great feeder. Breastfed for nearly 9 weeks with a few combination bottles in between. He dribbles a lot when feeding, seems frustrated, isn’t happy at the end of a feed (but won’t take anymore milk) gulps a lot and takes a lot of air, is only taking 1-3 oz per feed then struggles to settle. Doctor said it isn’t reflux. We’ve noticed he has got lip tie - but doctor won’t recognise this. Swapped to size 2 teats on tommee Tippee but but sure if these are working. Any advice welcomed as struggling to help him.

Lydia Harvey Struggling mum of 10 week old with lip tie
Worried parent

Hello, this is certainly something we can help with at Kids Feeding Team. We can assess your baby's nutritional intake and give a bespoke dietetic treatment plan to ensure they are meeting their nutritional requirements. It is very sensible to recognise these issues early so they are not left to develop further and causing faltering growth. I can offer you a free phone consultation for me to gather more information to see if an assessment with other health professionals would be useful.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Good evening I have 5 year old who is extremely picky eater and have always struggled with feeding and continue to do so (although much improvement). I now have an 20 month old who until 4 weeks ago, ate a really good wide range of foods, mainly foods with sauce and easily chewed. We went on holiday 4 weeks ago and we struggled to feed either child in the area we were in, largely eating chips, fruit and bread. Since returning home my youngest will not eat anything other than fruit. I’m worried he is going to go down the same path as my daughter and want to nip this in the bud ASAP. Hoping you could give me advice. Is it advisable to offer him his usual food and if he chooses not to eat it, offer him nothing else? Leaving him hungry? In the hope he will eventually realise he will receive nothing else? Any information would be very gratefully received From an exasperated mum.

Nicole Harmen Exasperated mum
Worried parent

Hello, thanks so much for getting in touch with us. This is certainly something we can help with. We would recommend an assessment with our specialist paediatric dietitian, she can assess his nutritional intake and devizse a bespoke treatment plan to help reduce these aversive behaviours to food. This tends to involve working with you as a family and training you on how devise strategies which influence more positive eating behaviours. I will also monitor your child’s height and length to review if they are growing adequately and to their optimal potential.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My son is 2.5 and has a restricted diet. He only eats yogurts, 1 purée and 1 pasta baby food. I have seen OT, dieticians and SALT with no support other than handouts and I would like some advice on addressing this.

Tania Renard Mum of son sick of being passed from pillar to post
Worried parent

Hello, we are sorry you've had no luck with previous professional input. We would really like to help. We would like to offer you a free phone consultation to gather some more information and offer you the best treatment package.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

We have a 7 year old boy he is twin with a girl , they were born premature at the age of 26 weeks with just a weight of 850 gr , after 2 months and a half he manage to get the weight of 2 kilos and he came home. During these two months he had a lot of different type of sickness. Now the problem is that he only eat mashed food, as solid food he hardly eats few chips , the outer side of the pizza, few bread plain , some crips. When he is eating mashed food he eats everything which his mum put in the food processor , and hìs food is always done exactly when he is going to eat ,and not prepared before. We took him to therapist and to psychologist and it shows that he suffer from a sensory disorder which could be the reason as well for eating just smashed food . I don't know if you could be of any help. Thanks for now

Olivia Smith Mum of son sick of being passed from pillar to post
Worried parent

Hello, we would be happy to help with your son. Food aversions and difficulty eating is common in children who had frequent illnesses and hospital stays as a baby. They start to associate food with the pain and discomfort they experienced even if it was not the direct cause. I can assess your son and provide a bespoke treatment plan to ensure they are receiving the energy and nutrients they need whilst incorporating strategies to help reduce his food aversions.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My nearly 5 year old son had been under an NHS dietician for over a year. He has a restrictive diet, eating hummus and crisps for each meal. He can eat bread and cheese but can be reluctant. He eats cake and biscuits and ice cream. And that's it. He is prescribed seravit powder but for last few months he won't eat what we put it in. He is sensitive to texture. Encouraging sniffing, touching and playing with foods is hard as he's generally not interested. He's had adenoids removed and grommets in which had improved breathing and hearing, but not eating. I have my suspicions that he might have sensory processing issues. Smells can make him gag. As a family it impacts us very much. We don't go out to eat but if we try, his pot of safe hummus comes with him. I would be interested to know if it's something you could help with?

Leah Garrett Mum of twins
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in contact with us. This is something we would help with. It sounds like this is a combination of both behavioral and sensory problems and would probably benefit from a multidisciplinary team approach to your son’s assessment and treatment plan. Our team of dietitians and occupational therapists can work together to ensure he is meeting his nutritional requirement sot grow and develop but also incorporating strategies to reduce his food aversions.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My 5 and a half year old has issues eating. There are only about 6 things he will eat (yoghurt, cheese, chocolate, tomato soup, spaghetti hoops, pasta with a smooth tomato sauce). He has been assessed by a speech and language therapist who confirmed he has no physical problems eating - it is all psychological. He has seen a dietician (a year ago) and she confirmed he is growing fine and advised how to help (no pressure, eat together etc). I am concerned as he has made no progress and shows no sign whatsoever of growing out of this 'fussy eating' phase (when I say phase, he has always been this way). I would like to help change the way he thinks about eating/food. Is there any sort of therapy and/or practical sessions you provide that you think he could benefit from?

Rose Roy Mum of 5 year old who has very restrictive diet
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch. To answer your question, your son may benefit from dietitian and occupational therapists input. It is quite a long process to try and reverse the food aversion behaviours he has developed, but there is certainly success in some patients. It is positive that your son is growing to his full potential. We can ensure this is continuing and try various strategies to reduce his fussy eating.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

My son is 3.5 years old and is autistic, with sensory processing disorder which hugely affects his eating - he relies on breadsticks rice cakes and Heinz biscotti for him to feed himself, yogurt and milk and very bland children’s meals. He rejects normal food and does not eat anything fresh (such as fruit or chicken/fish or vegetables or bread or rice) and this is affecting his growth. He also suffers badly from constipation.

Antonio Knight Dad of son who is autistic with feeding difficulties and faltering growth
Worried parent

Hello, many thanks for getting in touch with us here at Kids Feeding Team. it sounds like your child’s poor nutritional intake is starting to have a negative effect on his growth and body function. It is important to tackle this early on, as if it is left to develop it can cause faltering growth and developmental delay. I can assess your child’s nutritional intake and develop a treatment plan to meet his nutritional needs. As part of this, we will monitor and review his growth to ensure he is reaching his best potential. It is common for children with autism to develop food aversions and our team have extensive experience with these cases and can advise the best strategies to help increase his nutritional intake.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hi we have a 6 year old who is a late talker and all though as a baby he would eat food as the years have gone on his intake of food is pretty poor, obsessed with Gnocchi and pasta and garlic bread, only meat he will eat is sausages and then that's hit and miss, if chocolate he has no issue, if we come near him with any vegetables he shuts his mouth and moves away from it, only fruit he will eat and again hit and miss is strawberries and grapes, taking him to his friends parties is terrible as all the kids are eating bar him. Wondering if any advice or how you work?

Eli Bradley Parents of 6 year old with food aversions
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch. It sounds like your son is a fussy eater. Although fussy eating is common and many children experience and grow out of it, it appears this has been happening for a long period of time. If left to go untreated this can cause entire food groups to be missed within the diet, causing nutrition and energy deficiencies. I can help assess your son’s nutritional intake and growth to ensure he is growing to his optimal potential. We can then incorporate management strategies and techniques to help reduce his fussy eating behaviours. This can be a long process but we offer dietetic support throughout the plan.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hello, my son was tube fed for many months before he underwent open heart surgery. We have really struggled to establish weaning and think he has an aversion from being fed that way/never having to feel hungry (we fed through a tube every 2 hours day and night) He's 18 months now and doesn't eat anything at all (just milk) I feel a bit lost and probably sound very desperate. Any help gratefully received. Thank you very much

Julie Gregory Desperate mum who needs help
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch. It is understandable you are desperate for some support with your son’s feeding problems. As he is getting older and developing, it is essential his nutritional requirements and growth are monitored to ensure he is reaching his full development potential. Having just milk is certainly not optimal, and it will mean he is likely deficient in energy and nutrients he needs to grow and develop adequately. I can assess his nutritional intake and input a treatment plan to meet his requirements and help increase his food intake.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

Hi. My 19 month old son has some sort of intolerance/allergy to cow's milk. He gets hives around his face and neck when he has cows milk. Seems ok with cheese and mixed reaction to yoghurt. My doctor doesn’t seem concerned as we’ve switched him to almond milk but I’m worried he’s not benefitting from the benefits of cows milk. Is this something you can advise on?

Katrine Johansen Mum of son with cow’s milk protein allergy
Worried parent

Hello, thanks for getting in touch with us. Unfortunately, almond milk does not contain the nutrients or energy that cows milk does and therefore is not a suitable replacement in babies or children with cows milk protein allergy. If replacing cow’s milk with an alternative milk please ensure it is fortified with calcium. Yit sound like your baby does have cows milk protein allergy. I can taylor you a plan to eliminate cow's milk from the diet and then reintroduce it as a means of building up tolerance. This is an evidence based programme which helps babies and children tolerate cows milk protein to ensure their allergy does not continue into childhood. I will assess their nutritional intake to ensure they are receiving enough energy and nutrients to grow and develop, despite their allergy.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician
Worried parent

We’re adopting a 3 year old who was 26 weeks prem and has had an NG tube from day 1 , just had a gastronomy ... but has a serious food aversion. She will touch and play with food even put some things into her mouth but will spit it straight out or gag. Can you help????

Lana Robert Adoptive parents of 3 year old whos tube fed
Worried parent

Hello this is certainly something we can help with. It sounds like your child may benefit from our multidisciplinary team of feeding professionals to get to the route of the cause of her food aversion. I will ensure she is getting the energy and nutrients she needs to grow and develop, whilst the occupational therapists can help reduce her behavioural problems.

Niamh Gilligan Paediatric Dietician

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We are having an event on the 1st December! As hosted by our paediatric dietitian, she will educate on how to tackle fussy eating (and prevent it!) whilst ensuring your child is getting enough energy and nutrients. Link below to buy two tickets for £10. https://www. eventbrite.co.uk/e/from-fussy-e ater-to-foodie-tickets-50061953651?ref=estw   … pic.twitter.com/ra3MWKIxdP

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