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Fussy Eating

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

Fussy Eating is one of is the most common feeding issues parents come to us with

in our paediatric clinic. Although it may sound like a small feeding issue, it can cause

a lot of stress and trauma to families including the fussy eater themselves.

It can vary for a child avoiding 1 food to a child only eating 5 foods in total. This can

lead to faltering growth, nutritional deficiencies, developmental delay and problems

with overall health.

It can occur at any age however typically it starts around the age of 2-3 years old

and they use it as a way of exploring their environment and asserting their

independence. This usually a temporary stage and they will grow out of it as they get

older and interact more with their peers.

However there are some things parents can do to get through this time and what

sometime feels like a never ending battle.

1. Parents provide child decides - Your role as parent to decide what food and when

to offer it, but the child decides whether or not to eat and how much they’ll eat. This

is known as the division of responsibility.

2. Keep calm at meal times - it is important for children to associate meal times with

calm and happiness not stress.

3. Encourage family meals - siblings and parents make excellent role models for

children particularly when it comes to food.

4. Encourage messy play - some children have issues with textures of food. Messy

play can help them become accustomed to these textures in a fun way.

5. Get them involved in cooking - helping make the meals helps children understand

what they are eating and gives a sense of accomplishment.

6. Continue to provide avoided food - encourage with food that is avoided on a side

plate even if they do not eat it, they may touch it or smell it this is positive! Be patient


7. Reduce milk and snacks - this can reduce appetite at meal times and increase

chances of meal refusal.

8. Serve a new food with a familiar food - this makes the new food less scary for the


9. It won't last forever! It is usually a phase and things will get better.

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