Now I would like to tackle the actual eating experience, so that you can use all the tools in your arsenal to tackle the battle that is dinnertime. Certain parts of the dining experience can be key to controlling the meal and making it go the direction that you, the parent, want it to go. Common sense says that peaceful meals make things taste better and don't give you stomach aches. The same is true for your child.
There are also nutritional fixes, natural things, that may cure many stomach issues occurring with your child..which you may not even be aware of! More on that later.
Let's start with the environment. Make sure:
1. Use a calm voice and don't turn on the TV while you eat.
2. Try other rooms to eat in. Many times Kitchens have smells that overload your child's sensitive nose.
3. serve the food on non slip plates. Do not place all the food on the table. Serve everyones' plate then bring it to the table. Again the smells and textures are more easily handled in SMALL amounts...
4. Use different utensils. Many times stainless steel forks/spoons are too much (sharp edges, too cold/hot) for a sensitive child. there are other options for utensils, rubber tipped spoons, small forks, even chopsticks have been used successfully by sensory kids.
5. Small portions. Small bites. Small steps. All important at mealtimes.
6. bring a doll or stuffed animal to the table to 'try' the food first.
7. No power struggles please. No threatening. No scolding. You will cause the opposite to happen with your sensory child and he will shut down, or revolt and you will have more issues the next meal. remember, calm voice, firm, calm demeanor. small steps.
8. Praise a lot. when they touch a new food, praise them. praise them for sitting through the meal.
9. use a disc-o-sit in the chair to give them the chance to move around at the table. ESPECIALLY out to eat.
10. write down exactly what he or she eats on a daily basis and get some help from a nutritionist if necessary.
11. Try feeding your child before the rest of the family...if you are trying something new, and make it non threatening. Just put it in front of him and continue cooking and prepping the meal. Many times the no stress environment does the trick.
Now, additional nutritional issues that might be happening.
Has your child had lots of antibiotics? More than 3 rounds?
Does he or she complain of frequent stomach aches?
Does he or she want scrambled eggs all the time? Or crave fatty foods, like cheese, butter, pizza?
Does he or she complain that their 'bones hurt?'
Does he crave very spicy or flavorful foods?
Does he or she complain about stomach aches or have gas frequently, especially after milk products?
General digestion problems?
If You said yes to the antibiotic question. Highly likely your child has a yeast overgrowth. Your doctor will poo poo the idea, but I believe it can be fixed with natural organic yogurt or chewable Acidopholis bacteria. The antibiotics kill bacteria, and they also kill bacteria you need to digest food. Replacing that bacteria can make the digestion work properly again.
yes to the stomach aches and general digestion problems? Again, yogurt and digestive enzymes (at GNC, capsules, empty them into pudding or yogurt..) The enzymes give their stomach a 'helping hand' and will improve your childs' digestion and with it, their attitude for eating.
For the scrambled eggs, fatty food questions...the brain is lined with lecithin. Eggs contain it. and the body tends to crave the things that are deficient. Fatty foods could mean an omega 3 deficiency...which is remedied by more fish, flax-seed oil or supplements. Coromega makes one that tastes like pudding.
Bones hurting can also signal EFA essential fatty acids are deficient. Vitamin D could also be a cause. 15 minutes of sunlight a day without sunscreen on will fix Vit D problems.
Spicy cravings are oftentimes caused by zinc deficiency...zinc supplements are available and will help. These cravings are often associated with kids that do not like meat products.
Gas or stomach distress after milk products usually signal lactose intolerance. the digestive enzymes mentioned above will fix the problem if eaten with the milk product.
go to www.enzymestuff.com to read more about enzyme supplementation. www.integrationscatalog.com has disc o sit and alternative utensils to use at mealtimes.
GNC or your neighborhood drugstore carries enzymes and acidopholus is found at major retailers including walmart. Stonyfield farms is the best brand of yogurt with beneficial bacteria to boost immune systems.
I hope this answers some of your questions on eating . If you have additional ones, please ask.