Problem Feeders–Kids Who Eat in “Special” Ways

We have a problem feeder.  His condition is mild in the spectrum of feeding though.  I have a mom “friend” who is driving two hours today to have a procedure done on her daughter.  Her daughter is fed by a tube and has to have it re-placed.  There are children who cannot swallow safely so they are fed by a tube either in their stomach/abdomen area or through their nose.  The type of feeding tube varies based on the child’s needs and the duration of placement. 

The type of feeder your kid is may seem impossible.  For my husband and me, we cannot get our son to eat foods that vary in taste or texture.  He is a cruchy carbitarian.  Truly…he only eats crunchy carbs.  His exceptions to that rule are chocolate, ice cream, cake, and peanut butter.  The texture, and brand of foods matter as well.  Our son can tell the difference.

Bryan looks like a 3-4 year old child, but he is really 5 years old.  Children with feeding difficulties are often smaller than their peers.  Problem feeders require specialists: doctors, nutritionists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, psychologists, and teachers to be involved.

Adults and peers may question why they eat differently.  I recently joined a closed group on Facebook:

Pediatric feeding disorders 

FTT/ GERD/and kiddos with feeding tubes

to learn more about parents/kids with feeding disorders.  Our son is not tube fed, but as a speech language pathologist and mom I really like reading and supporting families that have unique feeders.  Our son has a sensory feeding disorder.  He is very alert to smells, tastes, and textures.  He is a kindergarten student at a public school.  He has not been eating his lunch. Why?  He explains that the noise, smells, and sights are too much.  He runs out of time.

Time is something that relates to feeding.  Our son is a grazer.  He eats when he is hungry and when he at low stress.  Mostly that is at home.  He sometimes eats a lot at breakfast and sometimes more at snack or lunch.  We are presently in speech therapy (with another SLP…not me…I am mom).  He goes once a week for 30 minutes to work on the S.O.S. model of feeding.  This intervention is a slow step process to desensitize the child to new foods. 

Some kids are so slow at feeding or eat/drink with such effort that a tube feeding is necessary for efficiency and caloric intake.  There are adults and children who are tube fed.  If you see one do not stare.  Ask questions.  It is okay.  They or their caregivers know how the tubes work.  They are eating by an alternative means…they are not weird.  They are just different.   Same with our son.  He is special…he does not readily accept new foods at all. 

Differences are plentiful in our world.  I pray that we embrace them, and we accept them.  We try so hard for our kids to be like ALL the other kids.  I am learning to accept that our son Bryan is just the way God made him to be.  He is here to teach me lessons in acceptance, patience, and love.

Dear God,

You are Creator.

Forgive us when we question why you created our child “differently.”

We ask you to bring us understanding, acceptance, and love for ourselves and others when we feel or see “differences.”

Yielding our lives to you is so hard.  We want to control things.  Help us to see our kids the way you see them…perfect.




2 thoughts on “Problem Feeders–Kids Who Eat in “Special” Ways

  1. I have one of those too, Jennifer. My girl is 13 years old now and still very limited in what she will eat. We do what we must to get her nutrition in, like drinking Boost. But she is also one of the most creative kids I’ve ever known. She is truly amazing!


    1. Kim,
      So encouraging to hear we are not alone with these odd eaters! God bless them and us! I have not gotten Bryan to try Boost yet, but perhaps I can some day! Good idea. We had tried the kid versions, but maybe an adult one would be better…plus I think he’d like the name BOOST! Our son too is amazingly creative and his gross motor/fine motor skills are phenomenal. Each person is God’s little slice of heaven. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend! Jenn


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