Red flags are an indication that you need to call in reinforcements for your picky eater or fussy feeder. The following red flags mean your child needs a referral to a feeding therapist if you don’t already have one:
 Restricted variety of foods, usually less than 20 foods
 Loses foods that they have previously eaten and foods aren’t re-gained after a two week break
 Child has a meltdown when new foods are presented
 Highly distressed when familiar foods are presented in a different way e.g. a banana is presented sliced rather than whole
 Refuses entire categories of food textures (e.g. no chewy foods)
 Refuses entire food groups (e.g. no meat or no vegetables)
 Family is fighting about food and feeding (ie. Meals are battles)
 Almost always eats different food to the family
 Often needs a separate mealtime to the family.

The following are additional red flags for referral that indicate referral to a medical professional for further assessment is also needed for a child of any age irrespective diagnosis etc:
 Poor weight gain (rate re: percentiles falling) or weight loss
 Ongoing choking, gagging or coughing during meals
 Ongoing problems with vomiting
 More than once incident of nasal reflux
 History of a traumatic choking incident
 History of eating and breathing coordination problems, with ongoing respiratory issues
 Parents reporting child as being “picky” at 2 or more well child checks
 Inability to transition to baby food purees by 10 months of age
 Inability to accept any table food solids by 12 months of age
 Inability to transition from breast/bottle to a cup by 16 months of age
 Has not weaned off baby foods by 16 months of age
 Aversion or avoidance of all foods in specific texture or nutrition group
 Food range of less than 20 foods, especially if foods are being dropped over time with no new foods replacing those lost
 An infant who cries and/or arches at most meals
 Child finds biting, chewing and swallowing physically difficult
 Parent repeatedly reports that the child is difficult for everyone to feed
 Parental history of an eating disorder, with a child not meeting weight goals (parents not causing the problem, but may be more stressed and in need of extra supports)
These checklists have been adapted from materials by Dr K A Toomey.

If your child is showing any of these red flags then seeking further assistance with their feeding development is the best way to move forwards. Chatterbugs provide feeding therapy solutions for children of all ages. There is help available for your fussy eater and you don’t have to keep on having the mealtime meltdowns. To refer your child call us on 1300 66 1945 or email us: