Saturday, 12 May 2012

Food Aversion and Texture Sensitivity

Faith is progressing so well, being UTI free and now she is gaining weight at last, she has a double chin! Very cute! We decided we needed to make a start again on pureed solids, she has done well in the past but it has been her health that has held her back. I am keeping track of her progress in a food diary so can see any patterns or triggers. Our first day was successful, she wasn't too excited but it went ok. We tried again in the afternoon and she flatly refused. The pattern is much the same with the exception of a few days when we were out with other kids and she ate perfectly. After about a week, we even started moving her from pear combined with mince (need the protein so we can reduce the amount of milk during the day) to include sweet potato that she at first loved. It then seem to go so terribly wrong. Faith stared pooling the food in her mouth, she would cleverly hide it in her mouth and when we wiped her mouth it all came out.

I didn't understand what was happening as we will doing so well and moving forward with tastes. I felt so discouraged, a failure, we had all worked so hard to keep the routine there even when we went out. But no more, we could see by her shaking her head and then covering her head, and then crying that this is not want she wanted. We changed locations, spoons, bowls, played music, watched TV, nothing would change her eating. We are in contact with the speech pathologist in Brisbane and she is amazing coming up with ideas, techniques and encouragement so I gave her a call. She came back with brilliant ideas and said that it is probably best for now to get rid of the spoon and bowl as there is so many other great ways to eat food. She said that instead of traditional spoons try
  • carrot sticks
  • cheese sticks
  • celery sticks
  • scotch finger biscuits
  • baby rusks
  • a sponge finger biscuit
  • make puff pastry sticks
Other great ideas included just playing with the food anywhere and everywhere and lots of food play and her ideas were for example,
  • jelly then add rice bubbles or cornflakes for different textures after she has the stickiness on her hands
  • creamed rice
  • dry pasta
  • baked beans
  • mushy peas
  • blueberries

And any other ideas we can think of. She also said that we could put food in shallow Tupperware containers and then she would have to dig it out. Other ideas included finger painting with potato shapes, pasta and veggies. She also said we could blow bubbles in the liquid foods as she loves bubbles. So many wonderful and creative ideas but with all this great input I didn't know where to start. So I started with the basic ideas when I eat I give Faith some of my food. At first, she rejected it and shook her head and would get annoyed at me but over the last few weeks we have been progressing slowly. First, she touched avocado in my husband's sandwich and mashed it in her hands. Then later that day I put melted chocolate on her hands and she eventually ended up sucking it off. Very small steps. I sat her in the high chair with some cut up jelly in different shapes and got out her toys so she could play with them at the same time but wouldn't move just complained. I saw her just touch it but pulled her hands away quickly. 

We thought it would be beneficial to have a speech pathologist locally so got in contact with the early intervention one and she has been working with us and our speech pathologist in Brisbane. Faith has not only texture sensitivity in her mouth but also in her hands. She is now 21months and still struggles greatly to grasp objects. We show her how to play and how to touch different textures. She is getting better at it though, now she is well but it takes her so long to get used to something new. In saying that she is getting more curious about new things than before. She reaches out and touches some objects when I am holding her when before she would just pull her hands back so we are making progress. When I eat Vegemite toast, I give Faith some and she is now poking it and playing with it. I just need to keep at it and be diligent in showing her new things and repeating old things. Faith is doing so well with all these new things she is encountering, she hasn't been able to try any of these things really until now, so for her, she is moving quite quickly.

Faith went to her little friend's 2nd Birthday party a week or so ago and apart from loving watching the kids play and eat, she grabbed at my felafel that had cucumber dip on it (yummy) and played with it and that was a really big step forward in the food play arena for us. We are not actually offering her food to eat as such, we are just wanting her to make friends with food by having some of our food when we eat to play with. We were eating some yummy Pringles last night and I sat a chip with Faith. I ate one, then I offered her a plain Pringle and put it on her lips and she looked at me and I said would you like some more and she opened her mouth and I sat the chip on her lips and she licked it, yay! What a huge achievement. She hasn't willingly licked food for so long. I love seeing her move forward and doing more things.


  1. It's fascination reading about Faith's journey. I would never have thought of food being such an issue or so many ways of introducing it to a child.

    1. I am still finding out more ways of introducing food, bring on the mess with food play :)