We have been struggling with this since Monkey began feeding himself. He’s now almost 6 and it is still a daily battle. At school, he often eats lunch in the company of his OT who has been trying to address this. At home, he eats under our supervision every night.
We have to remind him with every bite to not overstuff. Sometimes we have to physically restrain him from stuffing yet another bite in. If he doesn’t overstuff with food he’ll try to fill his mouth with whatever he’s drinking. It’s messy and it’s gross, honestly. We need to figure out a way to get this under control because it is going to alienate peers.
Come on FX experts…what works?
7 thoughts on “Overstuffing.”
They have feeding therapy at school for Nathan and we try to use some of their strategies at home. Some of them are— eating something really crunchy before he eats ( triscuits), massage cheeks before eating, vibrating toy inside mouth to wake up the muscles, brush teeth before eating, pepper or hot sauce ( a little wakeup spice), practice putting down fork and wiping mouth with napkin after each bite, 2 plates-1 in front of him with the appropriate amount of food, the other out of reach until his bites are gone. Nathan is a stuffer, too. It has gotten better with these strategies. We also make sure to send to school long pretzel rods, Fruit Leather, cereal bars that practice taking only one bite and putting it down between bites. We also do this at home. Hope something was helpful from this list!
**sometimes we listen to music, it distracts Nathan because he loves it so much, therefore he won’t be so focused on stuffing.
**blowing bubbles or tongue play with funny sounds
I’ve said it before…I love your district! We’ll definitely have to try some of this stuff!
An OT once said to me that using a mirror can work. If he has a small mirror in front of him while he eats, he is less likely to stuff his mouth full of food. My son only does it when he’s eating hot chips, but you could give it a try.
( I have an eight year old FX son)
Holly is little so I keep telling myself she doesn;t know any better and hope she will grow out of this, she also only over stuffs with some foods, like bread. I will break it into bite size peices and put them on her plate but she will stuff in like ten and then have to spit it out because she is gagging because she can;t swallow, I think this relates to the fact that she doesn;t chew. She also sometimes, not always stuffs cheese, but she will eat cherrios one at a time, go figure, also other snacks, goldfish, puffs, yogurt drops.. Sometimes she will put a whole strawberry in her mouth, other times she will take bites.
We saw a feeding therapist who suggested making her spicier foods this activates her mouth so she chews, also the cheek “pinches” ect too. Aimee had all the good ideas, but I guess what I wanted to suggest is, if this is really a everything thing, or if you can notice a pattern to when he over stuffs. Also, this might sound weird, but instead of a chair, perhaps he could sit on a yoga ball during dinner, this activates his vestibular system makes him have to focus on his balance and wakes up his muscles and with that preoccupation he might be distracted and eat slower. Holly is too little to sit on it by herself, but we have a small little “ball” she sits on next to the coffee table during snacks and she loves it she will sit “still” for three times longer on the ball, because she is doing something.
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@Alison…I’ll have to put the mirror on the list, what a great way to give a concrete visual cue!!
@ Holly….Anything he eats, he will overstuff. And what he eats changes from day to day! The only constant is that he will only eat food that is just barely warm. Anything else is “hot!”
A yoga ball would be leave him too low at the table but I think they have some therapy items they use on chairs at school (primarily during circle time) that we might be able to try with a similar effect!
I have an adult daughter who is overweight. Not only does she overeat but she overstuffs her mouth. She also pulls on the outsides of her cheeks when she is not eating, stretching cheeks almost compulsively and I can find no info on these symptoms anywhere!!
Angela, one thing that I picked up somewhere, I think from Tracy & Mouse is that the mouth is a really sensory intense part of the body. It’s one reason our kids overstuff and why some of them chew on objects.
It sounds to me like the pulling on her cheeks might be an attempt to get some powerful sensory input in her cheeks/jaw. We give our little guy adult strength chewy tubes, I know some families use gum, some use gummy bears or Sour Patch kids (the really intense flavor also provides sensory input.) Maybe you could try giving her one of these options when she starts pulling on her cheeks to try get her that input in a more appropriate way?