Help with step-daughters eating habits!! — The Bump
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Help with step-daughters eating habits!!

I have a 7 year old step daughter with downs syndrome. My husband and I are very concerned with her eating habits, she only eats instant grits, cream of wheat, spaghettios, milkshakes, and yogurt. My husband has always said she had an issue with textures but now we are not so sure because she will only eat bacon flavor grits, cinnamon cream of wheat, vanilla milkshakes, and key lime yogurt, and if we try to give her anything other than that she flat out refuses to eat. She is very small for her age she weighs only 30 pounds is about the size of the average 3 year old. We have a four year old also who is now three inches taller. We worried that her eating or lack there of is part of the reason she is so small, we know there are developmental delays with downs but are still concerned. She lives with her mom full time and her mom eats pretty poorly for an adult, she loves pop tarts and chicken nuggets so she doesn't see anything wrong with the way Bella eats, give her what she likes and thats that. I'm very worried with no fruits and veggies in her diet she is going to continue to be even more under developed. I am just looking for some advise of parents with more experience than I have. Thanks!!
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Re: Help with step-daughters eating habits!!

  • Yeah, that is not a healthy diet whatsoever. My kids are picky eaters so I get it, but they don't have downs syndrome which could be causing additional eating problems I know nothing about.

    I think you guys and the mother should probably meet and discuss this, maybe with a doctor? She might have issues with texture but that is not a balanced diet by any means so a doctor needs to be following her and making sure she is getting what she needs, even if that means vitamins.

    She sounds incredibly small for her age and if that is because of her poor diet then that is basically child abuse IMO. Professionals might see it that way as well. It's incredibly important to rule out any sort of sensory or texture disorder that might be causing her pickiness and if that's not the problem then her birth mother needs some tough lessons in feeding her daughter the right foods.

    Good luck.

  • I am so sorry. I would definitely think that part of the reason for her small size is diet related. This situation needs to be addressed immediately. I have a son with autism who had a somewhat similar diet when he was 2-3. He never really moved in from baby food. He drank milk (like 5 cups per day) and ate fruit puree and occasionally some crunchy starch (crackers, Cheerios). It was awful. His growth slowed down and he got sick a lot, and every time he got sick, he dropped a food. So we ended up with milk, ONE single type of fruit pouch (he used to eat a variety of baby food), and some starch. Since he has autism, we enrolled him in a full-time ABA program. A feeding program was urgent and our absolute top priority for the first 6 months. He also saw a gastroenterologist to rule out other medical issues. We started that prior to ABA and a letter from his doctor was required before they would start the feeding program. I don't know much about Downs Syndrome but the place my son goes in a large behavioral health center that treats kids with a variety of special needs, including Downs Syndrome. A feeding program like my son's may not not be the exact thing needed here, but something needs to be done. The reason for my son's poor eating was sensory related and an extreme anxiety about anything new. 

    Good luck to you. I hope this girl gets some help soon.

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