Chewing Through The Facts

Chewing Through The Facts

Have you ever wondered why babies suck on their thumbs? Or why chewing crunchy foods helps you study? Or why some students suck on their clothing or chew through pencil tops? Or why some children put non-edible objects in their mouth? Have you ever wondered what ‘chewy tubing’ is and how it works?

 

 

 

 

Oral motor skills begin developing whilst children are still in the womb. They are born with the reflexive ability to suck, swallow and breathe. Not only does their mouth form a portal for receiving nutrition, but newborns initially learn and explore their environment through their mouths. Babies suck on dummies or their thumb in order to be soothed and calmed. As well all know, children can continue sucking their thumb throughout infancy and early childhood, or they may substitute thumb-sucking for actions like chewing on pencils or sucking on collars and sleeves. But what is the link between sucking/chewing and stress relief?

Chewing is activated by the largest cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve). This nerve has projections that are connected to the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the division of the nervous system responsible for ‘rest and digest’ (ie. Conserving and restoring energy in the body, maintaining and repairing the body) It causes the heart rate to slow, lowers blood pressure and promotes digestion. Have you ever felt the need for a little rest after chewing your way through a particularly large meal?!

The trigeminal nerve also has branches to an area of the brainstem that is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle, alertness and attention (the reticular formation). Chewing on crunchy foods (pretzels, carrot/celery sticks or ice chips are great healthy options) is a great way to improve alertness and concentration (I like to keep roasted chick peas and broad beans on my desk to help me get through my day!). Likewise, drinking from a straw or sports bottle (ie. Sucking) will also help to control levels of alertness. Chewing in a rhythmic, repetitive and uniform movement with moderate pressure is linked to activating the reticular formation (think chewing gum or chewy fruit straps).

There are further connections from the reticular formation to an area of the brain which regulates our emotions and behaviour (limbic system). Chewing when angry may act upon the limbic system to help promote calm and stress-relief. It also forms part of the reason why people inhale cigarettes for stress-relief.

So by now you should have worked out that chewing and sucking can form an important part of a child’s self-regulation of anxiety and arousal/attention levels. So instead of trying to get a child to stop sucking their thumb, or chewing their pencils, perhaps replace the behaviours with suitable alternatives. I’ve already mentioned crunchy foods and sippy bottles. There’s also a wide range of food-grade rubber products designed to be chewed (and chewed and chewed!). There’s chewy tubing that can be threaded onto necklaces or onto the ends of pencils, t-bars and chew sticks. And if you’re particularly trendy or worried about chewy tubing making your child stand out from the crowd, then there’s a wide range of chewable jewellery (necklaces, bracelets, pendants…etc) and cute pencil topper designs (that are just as cool as the pencil topper erasers from Smiggle!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chewy items have two important functions: they provide direct sensory input and oral stimulation for the mouth (perfect for those kids who put inedible objects in their mouth in order to seek oral stimulation). Chewing provides lots of proprioceptive (body awareness) feedback to satisfy the sensory input that children may be seeking in their mouths. Chewy items also indirectly provide calming and attention regulation through the trigeminal nerve pathways I described earlier. They also save parents from wet sleeves and stretched collars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must point out, however, that chewy tubing and jewellery is not a cure to promote calming and stress-reduction, but a useful tool that can be part of a greater sensory program (or sensory diet).

Pop into OTFC on level 1/254 Waymouth Street, Adelaide to see the range of chewy items available for purchase or speak to one of our OT’s about how chewy items can help your child.

54 Comments
  • Amy
    Posted at 13:12h, 20 November Reply

    My daughter was never an oral child, perhaps part of her sensory avoidance. Would promoting chewing to a child who is not that way inclined be helpful?

    • otfc
      Posted at 09:08h, 23 November Reply

      Hi Amy, thanks for your question. If your daughter avoids oral input to the point where it is impacting on her daily occupations (eg. eating certain foods or having her teeth brushed) then you could try and gradually expose her to oral sensations through different foods (eg. crunchy foods or thick shakes) or oral massage. Otherwise, it would be better to use other sensations that you know she enjoys (?tactile input) as part of her sensory diet. Hope that helps!

  • Alice
    Posted at 04:40h, 21 November Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks for the article. My 6 year old son is always sucking his thumb to the point that the skin is all dry, blistered and cracked and is often chewing things. Would you have a necklace or similar that would help with the thumb sucking and is still cool for a boy his age?

    • otfc
      Posted at 09:09h, 23 November Reply

      Hi Alice, thanks for your question. If you wanted to send me an email at kate@otfc.com.au I would be more than happy to suggest some suitable items. I look forward to hearing from you!

  • Adriana
    Posted at 11:45h, 21 November Reply

    Hi my 5 year old has been sucking on cotton Blankies for years now. She never had a dummy as a baby but will not go to sleep unless she has a blankie or a T.Shirt etc to suck on…Not quite sure what I can replace that with as a chewable object will cause choking !! any suggestions ?

    • otfc
      Posted at 09:16h, 23 November Reply

      Hi Adriana, there are larger chewable objects that can be attached to clothing or worn so they don’t pose choking hazards- if you drop me an email at kate@otfc.com.au I would be happy to send you some suggestions. From the sounds of it, your daughter prefers sucking on material rather than chewing on a rubber object. If you have access to needle and thread, you could perhaps use scrap materials to make a ‘chewie’ for her?

  • Lorna d'Entremont
    Posted at 14:14h, 21 November Reply

    Our company designed and makes KidCompanions Chewelry, the heart and circle shaped pendants in the last photo in the post Chewing Through The Facts. Thank you for including us in your excellent post on chewing. Parents of older children, especially of older boys, were asking for a chewy shape their child would like to wear to school. That is when we introduced our circle shapes that now come in three colors, black, blue and white. For children who do not like a lanyard around the neck, we now have a Clip-on version. Thanks Alice for this excellent post! Lorna d’Entremont

    • Rebbecca
      Posted at 23:16h, 22 November Reply

      Hi Lorna. Where are your products stocked?

      • Lorna d'Entremont
        Posted at 19:44h, 19 March Reply

        Folks may buy SentioCHEWS and KidCompanions Chewelry made by SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. online at http://www.kidcompanions.com Also many special need online stores or real stores also sell our product. Some of the stores that sell them in Australia and New Zealand are the following:
        Sensory Corner
        Sensory Tools
        SkillBuilders
        Teach Me How
        The Toy Bug
        Uniquely Awesome Kids
        Thanks, Lorna

    • otfc
      Posted at 09:18h, 23 November Reply

      Hi Lorna, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I will definitely continue to keep recommending your products!

  • otfc
    Posted at 11:11h, 13 December Reply

    My apologies for some confusion, but may I point out that at present, OTFC only stocks various t-bars and chewy tubing.

  • veronica
    Posted at 22:03h, 06 January Reply

    Hi my 12yr old chews on the edge of her lip when reading orr sitting quietly. Any ideas.

    • otfc
      Posted at 08:49h, 04 February Reply

      Without knowing your child specifically, it may be her way of maintaining ‘alterness’ and supporting her attention. Oral input, e.g chewing, sucking, blowing, can have a large input to the nervous system. Your daughter, unless she dislikes reading or finds sitting still tricky, could be using her mouth to maintain attention. It could be useful to provide her with gum, crunchy or chewy food while she is reading, or sitting quietly. This may reduce her desire to use her lip for stimulation.

  • Robyn
    Posted at 08:32h, 16 April Reply

    Hi , I recently had a little baby 6 months ago and I also have a 5 year old who never use to suck on his fingers but now does. I’m wondering if this is a regression behavior because when I ask him why he does it, he says hes a baby????. Although, I’m also toying with the idea that he may have add/ADHD and may just be a fidgeting habit???. If I do start using your product, how long would it take change the behaviour and how long would it take to wean him off the chewing device???

    • otfc
      Posted at 14:34h, 16 April Reply

      Without knowing your child specifically, our advice is only of a general nature and giving a clear recommendation is difficult. As the sucking behaviour appears to be coinciding with the younger child, there could be an element of your 5 year old mimicking as a means of gaining attention due to the arrival of a younger sibling, and natural change in family dynamics. From our experience it is not uncommon to see ‘mimicking’ behaviours, and this tends to dissolve in 3 – 6 months. If the behaviour continues beyond this or there is further regression, it would be beneficial to seek input from a child psychologist or paediatrician.

      From our experience, oral seeking behaviours are not necessarily associated with ADHD, and it’s hard to be conclusive about any diagnosis without seeking further medical professional input. Children with modulation difficulties can seek oral stimulation to assist with improving their arousal level to assist with increasing attention. As such, having oral motor options (such as chewy tubes) can be useful.

      If you are concerned, it may be useful to contact a local paediatric occupational therapist, who specialises in sensory integration. Here you can have an OT assessment to gain a ‘sensory profile’ of your 5 year old, which can give more accurate recommendations. In the meantime giving a rich amount of oral input (e.g. chewy toys, crunchy food, whistles, blowing activities with straws) and observing what happens over a 2 week period would be a good start.

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 16:42h, 09 May Reply

    Thank you for an insightful article. I have a 5 year old son who started sucking his clothes when he started Kindy at 4 years old. Now he still does but to a lesser extent. He sucks in a variety of situations including when he is playing happily alone at home. I do also find him sucking various toys and household objects quite regularly. He also has speech pronunciation difficulties (Kindy speech pathologist diagnosed this as a severe phonological delay). He was born with torticollis and I’ve always wondered about a link? Would an OT assessment help? Or should I better spend on speech pathology hoping that the sucking will sort out
    eventually? Thanks

    • otfc
      Posted at 14:51h, 11 May Reply

      Thanks for your question Rebecca. It appears that in addition to your son’s speech difficulties there may be some oral sensory needs also. Without knowing your son, and only being able to offer general advice, it may be worthwhile seeking input from an Sensory Integration trained OT. An OT assessment may reveal that Speech Pathology is of greater focus, but that the oral sensory needs that may be occurring, can be supported via OT input.

      If you are in the Adelaide Metro area or in South Australia, feel free to contact our service to organise an initial OT assessment.

  • Kirsten
    Posted at 13:34h, 15 May Reply

    Hi, thanks for your interesting article. Our primary school wants to introduce a ‘munch & crunch’ break of crunchy fruits & vegetables to help with increasing alertness, promoting calm etc. Are you aware of any research that supports the science (school staff are asking for it) 🙂 Thanks in advance.

    • otfc
      Posted at 16:17h, 18 May Reply

      Hi Kirsten. This is a great idea of the school to pursue such a strategy! While there has been some evidence, I’m not too sure about specific research that has looked at food in regulation. In saying this, the principles of regulation, and using strategies such as food, are fundamental in the ‘Alert Program’, which is based on research and evidence in Sensory Integration. Link provided below.

      http://www.alertprogram.com/

  • Jade Burrows
    Posted at 02:05h, 25 May Reply

    Hello,
    I have a 7 year old son who has high func ASD & ADHD. My son has always chewed on things…… Everything in our house has been chewed curtain knobs, toys, cords ect clothes (mainly school uniform) has been a favorite. Last year my sons skivvies were completely eaten up to the elbows! He goes through stages of doing it, he won’t chew on clothes for months then he starts to literally eat them, ATM moment he is doing it on home clothes & uniform. He has 2 loose teeth I’m not sure if its because of the teeth or something else, its driving me crazy because the chewing ruins lots of nice clothes & important cords -phone charger. What do u recommend as a alternative?

    • otfc
      Posted at 13:38h, 01 June Reply

      Hi Jade. It sounds like there are some very high sensory needs there, particularly oral seeking! I am sure you have consulted an Occupational Therapist in the past, or are seeking OT services currently, but without knowing your son, it sounds like he needs to be provided with lots of oral motor regulation throughout his day (i.e. chewy and crunchy food, rubber tipped drink bottle on table, chewy toys such as necklaces or chewy tube, chewy pencil toppers, or even allowing chewing gum).

      My first question would be what is causing him to be so demanding of oral motor input at school? Is this consistent? Are there patterns? I would be happy to discuss with you further, so feel free to send me an email at: michael@otfc.com.au

  • Lane
    Posted at 16:07h, 23 June Reply

    I have a five year old son who just started prep this year. He has found the demands of a structured school routine with very little play time, lots of sitting and listening and high expectations for learning very difficult. He is getting in trouble a lot for being fidgety, lacking attention and talking. He is finding the end of each term very exhausting. I feel that he is also beginning to act out due to stress and negativity. My reason for emailing you is because in recent months he has begun chewing all of the collars on his uniforms, to the point he has chewed most buttons off and ripped the corners. I find he automatically puts it in his mouth when concentrating and doesn’t realise it. He also plays with his clothing whilst listening in class and gets in trouble for it. I will be seeking advice of a paediatrician asap but any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks heaps!

    • otfc
      Posted at 11:02h, 30 June Reply

      Hi Lanie. Without knowing your son specifically, it sounds like he is using sensory options (e.g. oral motor, fidgeting) to support his attention and regulation in class. I would discuss with the teacher about allowing your son some ‘fidget toys’ and possibly some movement break during the day. With regards to the oral motor seeking (e.g. chewing on shirts) have a look through the post “Chewing through the Facts” which will give you some ideas of oral motor toys that can be trialled to support oral motor sensory needs. Similarly, our post ‘Stop touching things: the role of fidget toys’ can also provide some ideas and reasoning behind some of your son’s sensory behaviour.

      Seeking a paediatricians advice will also support you desire to find more answers as to what may be going on. Hope this helps!

  • Lee
    Posted at 20:06h, 30 June Reply

    Hello! I have a son who just turned 5 although he’s very smart Im starting to worry he has adhd/add. He has a hard time listening and staying still and the only thing that has ever calmed him down or gets him to go to sleep is a soft shirt of mine and sucking his finger. Ive tried so hard to break him of this but he grows extremely frustrated and upset when he doesnt have a shirt or I take his finger out his mouth. His dad is very worried he will continue to do this as hes older and I could use any information on why my child NEEDS this combination of sucking his finger and needing soft shirt at this age to be…at peace so to be speak and is there anyting I can do to stop it or minimize it.

    • otfc
      Posted at 09:06h, 21 July Reply

      Hello Lee, I would first take consult a paediatrician to see if there are sensory components at play, and if so, they will likely refer you to an Occupational Therapist. From what you have described, and without knowing your son, it sounds like there may be some high oral sensory needs (e.g chewing, sucking, biting behaviours) however the reason for why he is seeking this is unknown. Keep an eye on when he seeks things in his mouth. Is it anxiety? Is it regulation? Is it to help him focus? Consulting and OT near you may help to further unfold these questions. In terms of oral motor support, there are a number of online stores that sell oral motor toys, and it may be worthwhile looking at these. However, as mentioned, seek an Occupational Therapist to have an OT assessment.

  • Anne
    Posted at 05:06h, 15 August Reply

    My friends son will put so many pieces of his apple in his mouth but not to chew or eat it and keep it there for as long as you let him. He also will have a tongue covered in soggy bread hours after lunch. He will put a whole chicken nugget in his mouth instead of biting it in half to fit. He chews his pencils. He has selective mutism and only talks at home. He is in kindy and has not spoken a word. He struggles with the work and lacks fine motor skills. Unfortunately he is not progressing with the work like his peers and cries at school. I have thought perhaps he has proprioceptive sensory needs but I am no professional.

    • otfc
      Posted at 06:55h, 18 August Reply

      It certainly sounds like this young boy is experiencing a number of challenges at Kindy, and with selective mutism obviously finds it hard to communicate his desires or concerns. Given the complex nature of this child, I would say rather than give any advice myself, I would first be seeking a paediatrician and also have an Occupational Therapy assessment to ascertain what sensory needs he may have.

  • Joan
    Posted at 18:52h, 11 September Reply

    Hi I’m seeking for advice for my 2 year old son. We notice that he doesn’t know how to chew and he is just swallowing it. He is also scared to swallow big textured food and prefers smooth or mash food. He is craving for food but when he bites a bit bigger texture he will start to gag and stop eating. I’m worried about choking and I don’t know how to start teaching him to chew. Do I need to consult him to a therapist?thank u so much in advance.

    • otfc
      Posted at 08:06h, 12 September Reply

      Hi Joan. It sounds like there could be a few issues at play here. Without knowing your child, I can’t give too much specific advice, however, I would say that some of the eating and texture concerns may be good questions for a speech pathologist. This would be my first option. It may also be worthwhile discussing this with your child’s paediatrician, to gain some further insight.

  • milly
    Posted at 02:39h, 17 September Reply

    Hi, I have a 5 year old boy who has always bitten his nails.

    The nails are now very short and as there are no nails left to bite his bites the skin, so on the end of his fingers he is missing skin. He sometimes makes them bleed.

    Any suggestions ? Thanks

    • otfc
      Posted at 06:49h, 22 September Reply

      Hello Milly. Based on some of the ideas detailed in the post, there may be some other oral motor options that he can access to reduce the desire to ‘chew’ on his nails. If he is able to follow rules and set guidelines, then a strict but fair chewing gum routine can certainly help provide oral stimulation and reduce the need for fingers and nails. Other oral motor ideas include crunchy and chewy food, other chewy toys and in general movement breaks and regulation, which combined, can help reduce the need for the nails. ‘Top down’ approaches can include putting nail polish on his nails, or wearing tight gloves, which can have some success, when combined with the above ideas.
      To further support this, when you notice he is chewing on his nails, provide some ‘tactile’ stimulation. This can be in the way of fidget toys or simple tactile sensory exploration (e.g. rice, water, putty play).

      Again, have a look through both our “chewing through the facts’ post and our ‘Fidget toys’ post for further ideas and an understanding of why he may be chewing his nails.

  • Sharon cunningham
    Posted at 21:20h, 30 September Reply

    Hi, my son chew he,s T-shirts he is 20 now why dose this

    • otfc
      Posted at 03:57h, 13 October Reply

      Hello Sharon,

      Without knowing your son, my advice can only be of a general nature. It does sound like he has some oral seeking regulatory behaviour. This is not uncommon for adults, as it is for children. Think of someone who needs gum in their mouth often. He may be seeking oral input from his t-shirt. As I don’t know the reasons for his oral seeking, it is hard to know exactly what may be happening.

      If you are able to provide further information on your sons case, I am happy to provide some feedback via email: michael@otfc.com.au

  • G
    Posted at 17:39h, 18 July Reply

    I have a child who is 7 and has severe ASD. He is very dysregulated. He chews on his right index finger and chewies have been trialed. He will hold the chewy in his hand while chewing on his finger. Do you know of any products out there that can provide deep pressure on his finger to replace the deep pressure provided from his teeth? He is quite cognitively low so I do not want to give him gum. What other suggestions would you recommend to replace chewing his finger?

    • otfc
      Posted at 03:35h, 25 July Reply

      Hi,

      I can imagine this would be quite concerning for you and you do not want to see your child causing any pain or damage to themselves. You are definitely on the right track with trying to replace the habit with something similar. The chewies are a great idea but they are only fulfilling the oral side of the habit not the pressure on his finger. You need something that fulfils his oral needs as well as the pressure he is seeking through his fingers. This may take some time and trial and error especially if it is a habit that has been ongoing for quite some time. My advice would be to consult a health professional in your area to address this issue so it can monitored over time.

      Many thanks

  • Emma
    Posted at 12:38h, 05 September Reply

    Hi my 2 year old son has ruined many chenille sleep time blankets by biting them and they just Frey, any suggestions? At my wits end

  • Laura wilcox
    Posted at 07:48h, 11 November Reply

    Hi,

    I have a five year old daughter who enjoys anything crunchy (apples, cucumber, carrots, crisps). However she has started grinding or gritting her teeth till they crunch. She is unfortunately damaging her teeth. She’s had a hard chewy and a flexi chewi and both haven’t work. Do you have anything that might help?

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 11:11h, 16 January Reply

      Hi Laura, sorry for the delayed response. I would consult your dentist if you are concerned about any damage to your daughter’s teeth and then consult a GP or Paediatrician to look at a coordinated approach to these issues. For the time being continue providing healthy options that allow for lots of crunch as you are doing (apples, cucumbers etc).

  • Adelle breen
    Posted at 16:52h, 13 November Reply

    Hi thank you for this article, chewing through The facts. I have found the info very interesting. I have 4 yr old twins and they do exhibit sensory processing issues, but have not been assessed by an OT yet. They are both in speech therapy and we are seeing a psychologist to see if one of them has ASD.
    The issue I am having is with the dummy. It feels like she is using it to calm herself down and help with anxiety, but I am struggling because this is so frequently “needed” when at home. I’m aware there are chew toys and wonder if that would help to reduce dummy time. I worry that if we remove the dummy all together it will be a nightmare, I just don’t think she would cope… and would be interested to see if other behaviours form, such as chewing on clothes… are there any other strategies you can suggest to help reduce dummy time and dependence on it?
    Thank you.

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 11:19h, 16 January Reply

      Hi Adelle,

      Sorry for the delayed response- you are right there is the risk of new behaviours forming such as chewing on clothes. Removing the dummy will require a coordinated approach with all the professionals you are currently working with and replacing the dummy with something similar to support those sensory needs.

      Many thanks

  • juju
    Posted at 07:09h, 08 December Reply

    Hi
    My 6 years old son sucks and chew his clothes, his water bottle, his toys, and his pencils to the extent that his mouth is dripping saliva ..his friends feels disgusting while seeing this but he cant stop it.
    at home he does this while watching t.v or ipad or playing or doing homework.
    he is a gifted child (as the psychologist said) .. his teacher said he has a great imagination..
    what advises you can help me with.
    does he have a serious issue.. what is sensory disorder?? or hypo sensory?

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 11:38h, 16 January Reply

      It sounds like your son needs a strong sensory diet (with an oral component) and is using oral input as a way of achieving this. There could also be oral motor or tone issues too that could be impacting him. Look into this and seek advice from a local allied health professional (OT or speech pathologist). Basically, you need to gather more information as to what is causing the oral seeking.

      Good luck

  • Anne-Marie Claxton
    Posted at 00:55h, 06 September Reply

    We are looking for a drink bottle that requires work to suck through, but is also hard to squirt at others.
    Do you have any suggestions?
    Anne-Marie

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 10:51h, 11 September Reply

      We often recommend semi-freezing drink bottles to make them extra hard to suck through (this may not be appropriate if you live in a cold climate!) – this may open up a few more options of sports type drink bottles you can purchase.

      Good luck!

  • Dionne Saddik
    Posted at 09:11h, 03 October Reply

    Hi, I am a kindy teacher and am wondering if a child presents with the constant chewing of their sleeves etc., should I be referring to an ot or is including these types of sensory inputs what is required?
    Thanks, Dionne

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 11:07h, 30 October Reply

      If you are concerned and it is having an impact on the child’s functioning, I would be referring to an OT.

      Many thanks

  • Amy Wilson
    Posted at 06:03h, 19 January Reply

    Hi my 8 year old daughter has started to bite down hard onto fabrics and, when asked, she says her teeth are telling her they need to bite the fabric. Is this normal?

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 09:34h, 23 January Reply

      We all have different oral sensory needs – this definitely appears to be seeking behaviour. It’s only an issue if it is damaging her clothing or affecting her socially. I would be looking at more appropriate alternatives such as chewing gum. If you are concerned, consult your dentist and or local occupational therapist.

  • Sally Mackenzie
    Posted at 11:48h, 25 January Reply

    Hi. My 4 year old son is very oral and has sucked his fingers since he was about 6months old. His oral fixation on other objects seems to have eased in the last year or so but his finger sucking continues. Would you recommend a chew item to replace the fingers, especially in public? He has started to be picked on at daycare and I really want to tackle it before school next year.

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 10:16h, 29 January Reply

      We would definitely recommend looking at oral alternatives to replace the fingers. If you have ongoing concerns, consult an OT in your area but also chat to your dentist as there can be dental concerns in relation to ongoing finger sucking.
      Best of luck

  • Meg
    Posted at 15:26h, 03 May Reply

    Hi. My 4yr old boy is a thumb sucker and chews on the drawstring of his hat. His nom thumb sucking hand is usually fidgeting – scratching his legs or touching his face. His kinder teacher has told me he has been chewing on his shirt collar too. Any suggestions? Many thanks.

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 13:21h, 28 June Reply

      Providing alternative oral options as suggested in this blog post would be a good starting point. If you have significant concerns consult an OT in your area.

  • Connie Csizmadia
    Posted at 04:48h, 03 November Reply

    When do you get concerned about a toddler not wanting to chew solid food? I have an 18 month old grandson who lives with me, who will only eat purees. When given lumpy foods, he gags, sometimes to the point of throwing up. If we keep trying, he wont eat at all and is miserable. We eat with him and he seems very interested in what we are eating. He pretends to chew, says yum but wen you offer it to him, he turns away. We asked the pediatrician and they said they were not concerned yet and to keep trying. He eats purees just fine and we have been making them thicker to make work more to eat. He was never really interested in a pacifier or sucking his thumb….someone told me this could mean he might need therapy to eat better. He only has three teeth right now. Getting teeth late runs in the family. His mom got no teeth until she was 13 months old but was very willing to gum beans, soft veggies and meat starting at 8 or 9 months. Thougths appreciated. This little guy is hungry often and purees are just not satisfying enough no matter how much we try to bulk them up with grains and protein

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 12:18h, 14 November Reply

      There’s a lot to unpack here, I would definitely be consulting a health professional in your area that specialises in feeding and paediatrics (ie a speech pathologist and or OT) so they can explore what is going on further.
      Best of luck.

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