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Food jagging

We talk a lot about picky eating and food refusal, but another really bizarre, but common eating behaviour we see with children is 'food jagging.'

This is where young children want to eat the same food over and over and over again.

It's like they're addicted! They just can't get enough of it!

Fortunately, food jags aren't usually a sign of an underlying medical or psychological problem, they are developmental in nature which means that as your child matures they tend to go away on their own.


That all depends upon how you respond to your child while they are food jagging.

It's still OK to offer your child this favourite food routinely but allow at least a 48 hour gap in-between one time and the next. So if they have it for lunch on Monday, they won't see it again till at least lunch on Wednesday or later.

When you offer their preferred foods make sure that this is alongside other foods too, so it's not the single and only item on offer.

This 48 hour gap is important to stop the food jag turning into an obsession and also to ensure they still get a varied and balanced diet with a range of nutrients.

Children who jag on foods tend to indulge so much that their preferred food actually turns into a hated food. Essentially they get sick of eating it and it get struck off their food list for good! If you try and present it again later on it can trigger a 'disgust' response or your child may look at it as if they've never in their lives seen it before and no way are they going to even try it!

We experienced this first hand with my daughter Maisie and salmon risotto! She used to love it and now can't bear the suggestion of it.

From a nutritional point of view, eating the same food over and over means that the nutrients your child's body gets are the same over and over and this can result in deficiencies, another reason why its important to keep this 48 hour gap.

Does your child food jag?

Information provided by Michelle Lok, International Board of Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)


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