From Omnivorous to Picky Eater – What Changed?

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Ever wonder why a 9-month-old will put anything in her mouth and the same 19-month-old refuses to eat anything new? This activity is so common that there’s even a name for it – neophobia or “the fear of new things”.

After observing my patients go through this over and over again I had to ask myself why? And I came to the conclusion kids were actually designed that way.

In this week’s video, I describe food neophobia and why it has an important place in childhood development.

If you have a baby who is still in the “hummm, let’s see what dust-bunnies taste like” phase of life, i.e. about six months old to about the time she begins to walk, here’s some great information to help you keep her from becoming a picky eater. If your child has already entered into the food neophobia phase and has a limited palate, there are ways make changes that will help you and your child though it.

Either way, I’d love to hear your picky eater story.

Dr. Alan Greene

Article written by

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

 

Comments

  • Lauren

    I am an SLP who works with children with feeding disorders, so I was adamant that my child was going to eat everything. I breastfed for 2 years, made my own baby food, didnt follow feeding guidelines for introducing foods, added different spices to his food, and even regularly puréed what husband and I ate. Surprise! My child is still picky. He eats one vegetable, several fruits, and 3 proteins that have to always be presented in the same form and he won’t touch anything green with a ten foot pole. I hope that some day soon my efforts in infancy will be repaid by a boy who eats his spinach (and likes it!)

    Thanks to Feeding Baby Green I was prepared for my son to start cutting foods out of his diet (even though I hoped it wouldn’t happen). I just try to remember its just a stage and I keep exposing my son to different foods and new food experiences (cooking, gardening etc).

    • http://DrGreene.com/ Cheryl Greene

      Lauren,

      Thanks for sharing your story. I know it must be frustrating to you, but your experience is shared by so many parents. Certainly you will be able to relate to the parents you’re working with who are experiencing feeding difficulties.

      For our kids, we were pretty relaxed. We’d put unfavored foods on the table and say “As you grow your tastes will change. Give it a try and see if you’ve grown enough for it to taste good to you now.”

      Interestingly our kids started liking different foods at different times. Some in elementary school. Others in high school. One of our 20-something kids is just now on a journey to like several new foods.

      In the meantime, sounds like you’re doing everything right.

      • Joann Woolley

        I love that you share your experiences with your kids so we know we haven’t necessarily done anything wrong, and in due time our kids grow out of these stages.

        • http://DrGreene.com/ Cheryl Greene

          Sure thing. We’re all in this journey together!

  • Mari Rodriguez

    Hello, I have a 1 yr old baby girl who is a VERY PICKY EATER. She’s only 18 lbs. Her doctor insists that she’s fine. All her labs always come back excellent yet she is only 18 lbs! It’s very frustrating when people ask me how did I get my 8 month old to walk so soon! She only likes chicken and rice she won’t do mash potatoes let alone veggies. She eats fruits and has at least 2 pediasure a day. Recently she’s had diarrhea on and off for 2 wks. So she’s lost a pound. I don’t know what else to do! Is there anything I can do to get her to eat more?