If your child has tooth ache, you take them to the dentist. If they are feeling ill, you go along to the doctor. But where do you go if you are worried about picky eating? And how do you even know whether you need professional help? The answer to this is complicated and changes according to where you live and what type of healthcare system you have.
In this article, we want to share three things for you to think about in relation to getting professional help. It’s not a comprehensive list but we hope it’s a helpful starting point. Ultimately, the decision to seek help is a personal one, and you are best placed to make it. Nobody knows your child like you do!
How stressful are mealtimes?
If either (or both) you or your child are regularly finding meals anxiety-provoking or stressful, if you’re dreading them and feeling huge relief if they go to plan, the chances are you need a bit of extra help with your child’s eating. We eat several times a day and if this is fraught with emotion, this is not okay. It can have a huge impact on your quality of life and even on your mental health. When your mood or sense of yourself as a good parent is tied in with what and how your child eats, you may need some professional help to unravel this. Your child’s eating behaviours are not your fault, but it can be very hard to genuinely believe this.
Just how limited is your child’s eating?
If your child is only eating a handful of foods and you are worried about their nutritional status or weight you should get this checked out by a health professional. Depending on the system where you live, you may get referred to a dietitian who can assess your child’s diet and give you recommendations for supplements if needed. If your child is missing out on entire food groups, seeking expert guidance is a good idea.
What does your instinct tell you?
You know that thing where you just KNOW that something is up with your child… that sixth sense that all is not well? Listen to that. If you have been to the doctor and felt fobbed off, if you have asked for help but been told not to worry and yet you can’t help worrying, trust yourself. Parental intuition is a powerful and wonderful thing.