monkeys and marbles

Ironman

Posted on: February 28, 2007

Zander has always been a picky eater. Although he did start solid food with quite the taste for pureed squash and carrots. That ended when he got his first nasty cold at 8 months old.

He decided he would rather have a bottle, which I figured was a comfort thing. He was a pretty sick little man.

Unfortunately the food strike did not end with his convalescence. He decided he no longer had need for fruit and vegetable goodness, and would rather receive processed nutrients from his formula.

He would not eat solids consistently until he was 13 months old. It was months of offering various pureed produce with only the occasional spoonful consumed. He is the only child I know who wouldn’t even look at his 1st birthday cake, let alone eat it. We gave him some icing to smear around, just so that he seemed more like an average 1 year old…atleast in pictures! But we know better.



A couple of months ago, we started to suspect he might have an iron deficiency. He got tired easily. Too easily. He had also lost all apetite for anything other than milk. He would have been happy with 20 ounces of milk a day and nothing else.

We received his test results from the doctor today. The news was so-so. He does have an iron deficiency, but no so bad as to make him anemic. It’s still bad enough that we need to keep a very close eye on it, making sure he gets enough iron daily, and getting re-tested in a couple of months.

While waiting for the results to come back, we have been fortifying Zander’s diet with enough iron to bring him to atleast 90% of the recommended daily amount. We’ve also been keeping a food journal. At times we’ve had to literally shove food in his mouth and make him swallow it, all the while trying to ignore his screams and gagging. It’s been tough.

It appears we have been successful. His apetite is back. His energy is back. He’s even gained back a couple of pounds in the last 6 weeks. But he will still doesn’t eat like your average soon-to-be two year old. Most of his diet still consists of pureed fruits and vegetables, since anything chunkier or with the least bit of texture makes him gag enough to bring up everything he’s recently eaten. This is something we try to avoid at all costs, since he needs every little bit of food (and iron) he manages to swallow.

He’s only recently started to try food from our own plates, but it only seems to be a one-time offer. We try to offer the same food a few days later, only to be rejected with a hugely melodramatic “No!” and a violent shaking of the head. Unless the food in question is something we would rather him not eat. McDonald’s french fries seem to hit the spot at all times.

But atleast he seems to be going in the right direction now. He’s actually eating the occasional food that requires him to use his molars in a chewing/grinding action.

I’m starting to see the light at the end of the mealtime tunnel. This is a good thing.

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2 Responses to "Ironman"

I can see why this would worry you, but he seems to be slowly getting over it. There will probably come a time when you’ll wonder how he manages to eat so much. 🙂

Have you ever thought of consulting a speech-language pathologist? Many of them, like myself, specialize in children with feeding disorders. This can include serious issues, like my son who aspirates all liquids, or children who sound like your Zander who have “behavioral” food refusals. Sounds like he might be experiencing some textural food issues. Or maybe he is just going through a phase. But, I know many children his age who have similar food refusals who, after oral therapy, begin to show improvements in their ability to tolerate a variety of textures. Maybe this will help?

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