Does It Matter If Your Kid Is A Picky Eater?

In my household these days, grocery shopping is a relatively simple affair, largely because there just aren’t a lot of things my 4-year-old will eat. He rotates through a few breakfast options (oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, pancakes if I make them) and basically wants the same five-ish foods neatly divided into his green bento box for every lunch.

At dinner, he’s a bit more open to different foods, but goes through phases in which he’ll request the same meal, night after night, week after week, until he moves on to something else. He is even choosy about junk food. He’ll eat a Cheeto, but no other chips. He likes chocolate and vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, thank you very much, but will seldom tolerate chocolate (or ice cream, for that matter) in any other form.

He has basically been this way since we started introducing solid foods to him when he was 6 months old. When he came across a taste or texture he didn’t like, he wouldn’t just grimace or spit it out; he’d dramatically scrape it off his tongue, glaring at my husband or me with a mix of resentment and tiny baby rage.

I certainly think of him as a picky eater, but I’m less clear about how he stacks up against other kids his age — and am curious about my own culpability in all of this. Like, have I totally screwed him up? Am I failing him by not pushing him to expand his palate? And does any of this actually matter in the long term?

I’m hardly alone. According to one study, half of parents of 2-year-olds said their kids were picky eaters. (What of this other 50%?! Who are these unicorn toddlers?!)

Here’s what experts told me about all of this.

What is picky eating really?

A major challenge with tackling this topic is that there isn’t a clear, science-backed standard that says if your kid eats less than a certain number of foods — or engages in XYZ behaviors at XYZ age — he or she is a picky eater or selective eater, according to Dr. Stephanie Lee, senior director of the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center with the Child Mind Institute.

“When a family comes in [with concerns about selective eating], I’ll typically start by asking: ‘Does your child eat a few different starches, a few different proteins, a few fruits, and a few vegetables?’” Lee told HuffPost. “I also want to know: ‘Is this problematic for your family? Are you unable to go to restaurants? Is your child unable to go to friends’ houses?’”

It isn’t atypical for parents to feel like they’re making different meals for their kids than themselves some of the time, but it can be a sign of problematic pickiness if it’s happening much more frequently, Lee says.

The subjectivity of all of this is tough, echoes Alisha Grogan, a licensed pediatric occupational therapist whose site Your Kids Table focuses on picky eating and sensory problems. Some parents will say their kid is picky if they don’t like vegetables. For other parents, a picky kid is one who eats maybe five foods and gags if the wrong thing is put in front of them.

In Grogan’s mind, an average picky eater might stick to about 25 or 30 foods they’ll eat most of the time, but even that threshold is fluid (which is why she generally doesn’t even use the term picky). One complicating factor: Typically, developing toddlers and preschoolers will eat really well for only a meal or two, then go totally off the rails for the next four or five.

“I become more concerned with what I call ‘extreme’ picky eaters,” Grogan said. “I consider an extreme picky eater to be a child who has less than 15 to 20 foods total in their diet. And they usually have an emotional response when they’re encouraged to eat something different.”

What’s behind the pickiness?

Turns out, there is an evolutionary explanation for picky eating — at least partially. Children have been programmed to dislike bitter-tasting foods as a source of survival, to keep them from eating dangerous things. “A piece of broccoli is quite different on the tongue of a 2-year-old,” Grogan said.

But that is not the entire explanation by a long shot. Both nature and nurture come into play. For example, research suggests there may be a genetic component to picky eating. Parent modeling plays an important role. (If your kid sees you eat only the same few foods over and over, he or she may follow suit.)

Control is another factor. Toddlers, who are notorious jerks come mealtime, have such little control over their day to day. Refusing food is one of the few ways they’re able to express their autonomy.

Then there is the attention element. “When kids don’t eat, they often get a lot of extra attention,” Lee said. Even if that attention is negative, they can still crave it. And getting it can help reinforce the selective eating behavior.

So when is picky eating a problem?

Both Lee and Grogan emphasize that parents who have concerns about their child’s diet, changes in their weight or how they are growing should absolutely check with a doctor right away. Feeding is complex and can be tied to medical and psychological issues.

“If you’ve already tried to address it at home,” said Lee, “and there seems to be a bit more to it, you need to talk to your child’s pediatrician. Maybe you’ll need to talk to a nutritionist or a behavioral therapist about it.”

If your child’s pediatrician is dismissive but your gut tells you something more serious is going on, press for a second opinion. Lee — who as a psychologist focuses on the developmental and behavioral side of all of this — says that more severe picky eaters might be struggling with oral-motor issues or sensory problems, for example. Research has also linked picky eating to anxiety and depression, though the relationship is not necessarily causal.

Again, the good news here is that serious problems are relatively rare. That same study that looked at picky eating and anxiety and depression found about 20% of 2- to 5-year-olds who participated were what the researchers called “selective eaters,” but only about 3% were considered “severely selective.”

And there’s no magic age when this should all clear up. A 2015 study out of the Netherlands found that picky eating peaked at age 3 and dropped (but by no means disappeared) by age 6, but nothing’s set in stone.

“There aren’t specific ages where we can say there have been changes in developmental appropriateness,” Lee said. “If your child starts school and they’re not able to have any of the other snacks kids are having; if they don’t want to go to birthday parties or on playdates because they’re afraid there will not be anything they can eat, those are times to think that maybe there is something parents want to address.”

What can parents do?

Alas, there isn’t a science-backed playbook for how to combat picky eating, but the research is clear about what doesn’t work: Pressuring kids.

“We found that over a year of life in toddlerhood, weight remained stable on the growth chart whether they were picky eaters or not,” Julie Lumeng, director of the University of Michigan Center for Human Growth and Development and author of a 2018 study on the effect of parents’ pressure on picky eaters, said in a press release. “The kids’ picky eating also was not very changeable. It stayed the same whether parents pressured their picky eaters or not.”

And “pressuring” your kid doesn’t just mean yelling or forcing him or her to eat everything on the plate; it’s often much more subtle than that. “I think it is pressure any time we beg, or ask, or encourage them to eat,” said Grogan.

Small preliminary studies do suggest there is a kind of magical flavor window, usually when kids are between 4 months and a year-ish, maximum, when they might be more open to new foods and tastes. And that could influence their openness down the road. (Baby-led weaning, despite being hailed by many parents as the answer to promoting healthy weight and openness to new foods doesn’t have a lot of research supporting it at this point.)

Repetition is another key. Though it doesn’t track back to a single study, pediatricians and experts often say that children have to be introduced to a food 15 or more times before they’re willing to actually eat it. Cooking with kids can also help. At least one small study has found it can increase children’s openness to vegetables.

The bottom line

Fortunately, experts emphasize that in most cases, picky eating is not a significant problem, health-wise. Take my son (probably). He does well on the growth curves, he eats more than 30 foods, though not many more, and while he often freaks out when I ask him to try something new, it’s not in a way that I think speaks to a more serious underlying issue.

Lee suggests that parents like me spend some time getting clarity on what we find troubling about our kids’ eating and what our goals are. Do I want him to try more foods? Sit through an entire meal at the table? Once parents are clearer, it’s time to try strategies like positive ways of introducing new foods or basic repetition.

Grogan agrees that typical picky eating isn’t usually a major, lifelong issue, although she does have stories about the lasting impact it can have.

“I’ve certainly had some painfully sad comments from adults who leave messages on my site about how they wish somebody helped them,” she said. “They want to eat other things and feel like they can’t.” Lee echoes that the habits children develop when they’re young often — again, that’s often, not always — continue when they get older.

You’ll have your chicken fingers with a side of kohlrabi tonight, kid!


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15 Gorgeous Wrap Dresses to Shop This Summer, Inspired by Meghan Markle and More Celebs

Figuring out what to wear on those hot and sticky days of summer can sometimes be challenging. Instead of wasting time trying to piece together a stylish outfit, take a cue from chic celebs like Selena Gomez, Meghan Markle, and Ashley Graham and make a cute wrap dress your summertime go-to.

Not only is the waist-cinching silhouette universally flattering, but the easy breezy frocks are lightweight, versatile, and super easy to dress up or down. Click through to see how five fashion-forward celebrities are styling this season’s must-have wrap-around dresses, then shop one (or two) for yourself!

How chic does Alessandra Ambrosio look in her peachy nude-colored wrap dress? Wear a cute bra or bikini top underneath and let it peek through (like the supermodel did) or cover up by tightening the wrap belt for a more modest style.

Buy It! Kalita Gaia Cotton Wrap Dress, $875; net-a-porter.com

Buy It! Majorelle Teddy Dress, $178; revolve.com

Buy It! Rachel Parcell Ruffle Wrap Dress, $159; nordstrom.com

The Duchess of Sussex caused a stir when she stepped out in this bold printed wrap dress by Figue while in Fiji last year. Take a cue from her styling and ground the patterned frock with a neutral shoe and minimal jewelry.

Buy It! PRETTYGARDEN Floral Boho Wrap Dress, $27.99–$28.99; amazon.com

Buy It! Betsey Johnson Cherry Print Wrap Dress, $49.97 (orig. $128); nordstromrack.com

Buy It! Reiss Bay Floral Midi Dress, $425; bloomingdales.com

At a recent press event, Selena Gomez looked polished to perfection in an adorable polka dot wrap dress. We love how she accessorized with classic black pumps and a cute barrette, but this dress style would look equally charming paired with sandals on a hot summer day.

Buy It! Realisation The Violette Dress, $225; realisationpar.com

Buy It! H&M Calf Length Wrap Dress, $60; hm.com

Buy It! Fraiche by J Polka Dot Wrap Dress, $110; nordstrom.com

How gorgeous did Jennifer Garner look in this feminine, pink printed wrap dress? Follow her lead and pair the one-and-done dress with nude heels, which will elongate your figure.

Buy It! Tanya Taylor New Blaire Dress, $545; revolve.com

Buy It! Cupcakes and Cashmere Catana Ruffle Wrap Dress, $64.80 (orig. $108); zappos.com

Buy It! Retrofete Audrey Velvet Wrap Dress, $795; net-a-porter.com

For a sexy take on the girly trend, take a cue from Ashley Graham and rock a skin-baring option. The model looked stunning in a sleeveless wrap dress that featured a sultry slit on one leg, and we found a similar dress on Amazon for under $26.

Buy It! Alice & Olivia Cobi Wrap Dress, $440; net-a-porter.com

Buy It! Madewell Wrap Cami Dress, $138; nordstrom.com

Buy It! Dearlove Spaghetti Strap Wrap Dress, $23.99–$25.99; amazon.com

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See 'Stranger Things' Star Finn Wolfhard Channel Bob Dylan for Saint Laurent

It looks like Millie Bobby Brown isn’t the only style star to come out of Stranger Things.

On Monday, May 27, Saint Laurent announced Finn Wolfhard (a.k.a. Mike Wheeler) is the new face of the fall-winter 2019 campaign in a series of Instagram pictures and one video.

Harry Styles Poses With Piglets and Swans in the Gucci Pre-Fall 2019 Men’s Tailoring Campaign

In a black and white photos shot by David Simms, the 16-year-old looks identical to a young Bob Dylan. Wearing dark sunglasses that highlight his jawline with his curly hair unruly and voluminous, he is the spitting image of the ’60s folk singer.

To elevate the aesthetic even more, the It actor oozes laid-back coolness in two sharp ensembles that capture the Saint Laurent sophisticated yet edgy sense of style. In one image he rocks a sleek slim-fitting suit with a polka dot button up and skinny tie. In the other he pairs a striped shirt with a retro bomber leather jacket.

Wolfhard’s boyish energy is new for the the design house. Previous ambassadors have included Travis Scott and Marilyn Manson as well as Keanu Reeves who was just announced in April to star in the fall-winter 2019 campaign.

Styled similarly in a polka dot dress shirt and leather jacket, the John Wick star evokes a more mature side of brand while Wolfhard proves a youthfulness to the dapper style.

 

We aren’t the only ones who are excited about the young man’s new gig. Guest of Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello, Shawn Mendes, commented on one of the Instagram posts in support. “This is amazing,” he wrote. And we totally agree.

Speaking of Stranger Things fashion, Millie Bobby Brown has also shown off her trendy side as she tours the world promoting Godzilla II: King of the Monsters. She’s hit the premiere’s red carpets in stunning dress, like the white lace mini she wore on May 26 or the black and gold tulle ballgown on May 18. Even when she’s off duty she keeps if cool and chic, accessorizing with skinny shades, bucket hats or awesome jackets.

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Mum fears her heart won’t ‘ever be big enough’ to love her second child as much as her first – and parents are praising her honesty

A WOMAN has spoken honestly about being a mum for a second time and admitted she was scared her heart wasn’t big enough to love the new baby like the first.

Kendra, from the blog Daylight to Dark, shared a heartfelt post about her worries of diving her time and love between two kids – and people have praised her honesty.

She said her second pregnancy felt extremely different to the first, and wrote: “there was no gender reveal party. No elaborate showers".

Kendra shared on Facebook: “You were second. Not in my heart, but one did come before you in time. Yes, with you, it was different. There was no gender reveal party. No elaborate showers.

"We didn't read all the books or check the apps every week to see what vegetable you measured up against.

"I didn't take as many photos, didn't spend every waking moment thinking about the way your hair might curl up on the ends one muggy summer day.

"My mind was busier; my body more tired."

Kendra spoke candidly about how the worries of being a first-time mum soon faded, and her main fear was “that I wouldn't be enough for you.”

She said: “I wondered how on earth my heart could ever be big enough, how I could manage to divide my time and energy and love equally enough.”

The mum said that as soon as her second child arrived, all of her worries left her.

She said: "And that was it. I was yours. A mum of two. A family of four. And oh, sweet baby, the lessons you've helped me learn. You've taught me how to juggle 1,000 balls without completely melting down.”

You were second. Not in my heart, but one did come before you in time. Yes, with you, it was different. There was no gender reveal party. No elaborate showers.

Kendra said her second baby has taught her that “love covers all gaps” and she has learned how to “slow down”.

She also said she has a confidence that she never had with her first pregnancy.

She ended the post: “But more than anything, my love, you taught me that a heart is absolutely limitless in size, and that love is the antidote to fear.

"So, it's true. You didn't make me a mother. But you sure made me a better one."

The Fabulous Beauty Awards 2019

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Since uploading the post, it has struck a chord with online mums as it has received over 21,000 comments.

One mum wrote: “I'm BAWLING. Beautiful words, beautiful sentiment, beautifully correct. #momoftwo."

Another added: “This is PERFECT. I love this so much.”

And one woman commented: “Only a loving mother can relate to this ! I’m a mother of 3, grandmother of 8 and a great grandmother of 6 . My heart just keeps filling with love for all of them . God has blessed me with so many to love .”

A mummy blogger previously revealed her brutally honest ‘summer holiday survival guide’… from letting your kids get bored to why you should let them pick their own snacks.

And in more parenting news, this mum called out a rude midwife who shamed her for her weight.

 

 

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Stars from Emily Ratajkowski to Lauren Goodger are loving the VERY revealing loincloth bikini trend – but are you brave enough to try it?

LOINCLOTHS may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering a sexy swimwear look, but this summer's latest trend is here to prove the ancient underwear is beach ready.

Long associated with Tarzan and used for centuries to cover people's modesty, the undergarment is the new hot topic when it comes to bikini bottoms, as influencers and A-list celebrities alike sport the look on their Instagram feeds.

Inspired by the unmistakable shape of the cloths, which typically features a single piece of fabric hanging from a string, the revealing bikinis leave little to the imagination.

Minimising tan lines by covering only the necessary parts, the ruched fabric and string can also be pulled high up onto the hips, creating an illusion of never-ending legs and a super-cinched waist.

And not only do they give you that A-list look on the beach, following in footsteps the first pioneer of the style, Emily Ratajkowski, you can happily go wild in style as your own jungle Jane.

Supermodel Emily was first spotted in the look in 2016, rocking variations of what is now known more fondly as the 'tanga' bottom – which with it's drawstrings and high-cut legs, definitely requires a bikini wax.

  • Emily Ratajkowski's Las Olas Bikini, Inamorata, £118 – buy now

The London-born model started stocking the style shortly after as part of her swimwear line Inamorata – in which she regularly poses on her Instagram, flaunting the stringed bikinis.

Posing in the sun in her back garden, Emily recently showed off her toned figure in a polka-dotted Las Olas bikini, which will set wannabe models back a whopping £120.

And it wasn't long until other celebs started following suit – with fellow models, musicians and reality stars alike all flocking to the style for their summer holidays.

Rita Ora took to a luxury beach resort in the Maldives to sport a neon pink take on the loincloth bikini, while Lauren Goodger showed off her curves in the coveted design while in Dubai.

  • Zara McDermott's Shelby White Knot Bikini, Missy Empire, £27 – buy now

  • Kaz Crossley's String Leader Bikini Set, Beach City, £22 – buy now

  • Olivia Buckland's Red Leopard Teeny Bikini, Exempt Society, £36 – buy now

Popular among reality TV stars, Love Island competitors Zara McDermott and Kaz Crossley have both stepped out poolside in the 'tanga' trend.

Olivia Buckland was also spotted in the loincloth, taking a dip in a decadent gold and red designed swim set, while Georgia Steel set pulses racing as she showcased her peachy posterior in the tiny thong.

And just last week, busty Demi Rose chose a salmon pink set for her trip to the Balearic Islands – making the look even more risque with the addition of completely see-through plastic straps.

Even the Kardashian's have got involved with the look – with Kourtney posing in a white bikini alongside friend Larsa Pippen while holidaying in Turks and Caicos.

  • Demi Rose's Skinny Dipping Strap Bikini, Oh Polly, £40 – buy now

Fashion fans are going mad for the look online, taking to the Kardashian sister's Instagram to leave comments about the mother-of-three's 'sexy' choice of swimwear.

"Kourtney you look cute," one woman wrote in response. "That bikini makes your body look amazing."

While another wrote: "That bikini really shows off your amazing tan and your natural beauty. Goddess."

A third added: "I wish I could wear that bikini and look as good as her. Super flattering though."

In other news, skimpy bikinis that offer the SAME support as a bra are set to be huge this summer with the likes of Olivia Buckland and the Kardashian’s already loving them.

Or you can check out another of the most popular swimwear trends this summer – as PrettyLittleThing's 'bowkini' makes a splash with celebs.

If you're stuck for ideas on what to wear to the beach this summer, take a look at our round up of the best chic and comfy swimwear that also shapes your curves.

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Gucci's Cruise Collection Supports Women's Reproductive Rights With the Very Important Slogan, "My Body My Choice"

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‘My Body My Choice’ is a feminist slogan from the 70s which appears on the reverse of this jacket seen before the #GucciCruise20 fashion show by @alessandro_michele. This piece echoes the Creative Director’s continuing vision of freedom, equality and self-expression. Since founding @chimeforchange in 2013—the global campaign that represents and advocates for gender equality—@gucci has a longstanding commitment to women and girls by funding projects around the world to support sexual and reproductive rights, maternal health, and the freedom of individual choice. Learn more about the global partners for sexual and family health rights the campaign is donating to in 2019, which can be found in @chimeforchange’s link in bio. @museiincomuneroma #AlessandroMichele #MuseiCapitolini

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Gucci’s Cruise 2020 collection, which took place at Rome’s Capitolini Museums, is all about women empowerment. According to an interview with WWD, the brand’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele said the show is a “‘hymn to freedom’ . . . that allows him to express his belief in the idea of self-determination and gender equality.”

Models walked down the runway in clothing that supported women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. One such example? The designer had blazers with the slogan “My Body My Choice” boldly stitched on the back. And if the slogan didn’t get the point across, the designer embroidered an image of the female reproductive system on a gown, which was embellished with flowers. The date May 22, 1978, was also written on some of the pieces, which signifies the day the Italian law for the social protection of motherhood and legal abortion took effect.

The brand explained more in an Instagram post with the caption, “‘My Body My Choice’ is a feminist slogan from the ’70s which appears on the reverse of this jacket seen before the #GucciCruise20 fashion show by Alessandro Michele. This piece echoes the Creative Director’s continuing vision of freedom, equality and self-expression. Since founding Chime For Change in 2013 — the global campaign that represents and advocates for gender equality — Gucci has a longstanding commitment to women and girls by funding projects around the world to support sexual and reproductive rights, maternal health, and the freedom of individual choice. Learn more about the global partners for sexual and family health rights the campaign is donating to in 2019, which can be found in Chime For Change’s link in bio.”

Read on to see more from the collection.

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