10 Best Strategies to Ensure your Child is eating Food without Pocketing

Ever Experienced Food Pocketing With Your Child?

Food pocketing is where a child holds food in the mouth for longer than necessary and end up spitting instead of swallowing. This can affect any child regardless of age but mainly observed in growing children.

Parenting comes with challenges and food pocketing can be one of them depending on how you approach it. The baby is still growing, and as you walk them for fresh air outside with a stroller you want eating to be as easy as when they were breastfeeding.

When you understand Food pocketing and its effects the strategies will make feeding time more fun and enjoyable for both of you.

Effects of Food Pocketing

  1. Stress

This is a problem that can stress any parent especially if the child is very young as they need food to grow.

It can become an ongoing challenge for a parent as you try to do everything to ensure your child eats and gets satisfied.

  1. Frustration strategies of dealing with food pocketing

Eating time is so stressful for both parties (the parent and the child) and can be very frustrating to a point of breakdown for any parent.

A poor eating child can frustrate a parent hence keep your calm.

As a parent, you can experience some power struggles here.

Eat together as a family and avoid discussing what you are eating to avoid resistance from the children. discuss other fun things as you eat.

  1. Vomiting

It is mostly experienced with small children, you find them doing this when eating fruits and vegetables. If the child eats a lot you might find them vomiting when you force them to eat quickly.

What Leads to Food Pocketing?

  • Eating a lot of snacks before meal time, makes your child resist food.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Does not love the taste of food e.g. (vegetables)
  • Not able to swallow fast.
  • Lack of food variety in the diet.
  • Limited time for eating.
  • Feeling Nausea while eating.
  • Sore throat leading to painful swallowing.
  • Being feed by a familiar face, that they do not fear hence acting out.
  • Giving your child a lot of food at once.
  • A decrease in the oral motor.
  • Teething issues.

They are ways one can try at home to curb this but if not professional help from a doctor will go a long way.

Strategies for Dealing with Food Pocketing

  1. A lot of Play

Let your child play before meal time so that his stomach is empty and he won’t be choosy when he comes indoor, he will eat the food.

  1. Reduce Snacks in between meals

If your child has to snack between meals give fruits, fresh juice instead of sweets or junk food. Something healthy.

  1. Give Favorite Foods and Fruitseat together

Work with your child, give favorite fruit and food when feeding him, after he improves start giving variety in meals.

Fruits can range from grapes, apples, melon, pear, and banana.

Sample a few and with time you will know your baby’s favorite.

Try to give the favorite fruit and food after playtime when your baby stomach is empty.

  1. Be Patient when your child eats

Don’t hurry your child to eat, even if he eats for long (1hr) be patient, it won’t do good if he vomits due to hurry. Growing up is a step by step affair just like when your baby moves from a baby crib to a toddlers bed.

  1. Encouragement

Some children have a sensory issue that can affect their eating habit, do not worry he/she will outgrow it. They can hold food in their cheeks or tongue area if they do not like the way it tastes. Encourage your child to sip water as they eat this pushes the food down.

  1. Keep distance during feeding time, let someone else do it

Get a nanny or someone else rather than you to feed your child as he/she could be acting out because you are around. There is a power struggle and they know if they do not eat you will get angry, hence they need a neutral person to feed them.

  1. Soften Food

Solid food can be hard for children with this problem, try adding milk or soup to their food to make it easier for them to swallow.

  1. Make Feeding Time Funtricks to make your child love fruits and vegetables

Make feeding time fun, play with your child, read a story, run around as they eat.

This will destruct them and they will swallow quickly before they realize the food is finished.

For our baby running around in the compound did the trick, and by the time we were returning to the house the food bowl was always empty.

  1. Consult the Doctor

Children can lack appetite and hate vegetables, consult your doctor for supplements if need be but this should be after you have tried everything else. Your child’s doctor can advise the use of appetite stimulants to increase her appetite for food.

  1. Give Small Quantities of Food

Give food in small quantities as the mouth muscles might be struggling to get your child to swallow fast. As children grow they would love to feed themselves without your help and explore different tastes and food texture. Encourage them to eat small quantities to avoid choking.

Final Thoughts

Avoid the mealtime battles, the strategies explained above will assist your child. If this continues for some time it is good to take your child to a doctor (dietician, therapist) to advice on the way forward.

You can give your child different kinds of foods that they find easy to swallow quickly. Sometimes I think it’s a stage a child goes through as I have experienced it with one of my children and have to keep on reminding him to swallow after every three minutes.  I had to make feeding fun and we could play until he finishes his food while other times I had to let the nanny feed him as I hide.lack of appetite

Food Pocketing can be a symptom of a bigger problem do not assume that your child will outgrow it seek help early. It can be a developmental issue, sensory issue, or psychological issues.

It is not good to ignore it, finding a solution as addressed above can help both the parent and the child as food pocketing can lead to choking without you knowing.

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