How her sons early feeding disorder led Beth Bonfiglio to start Little Mrs Fusspot

When my son was 18-months-old and practically not eating, I worried. He was still on the 10th percentile for growth so doctors considered he was perfectly healthy. But as a clinical nutritionist I knew better.

I wasn’t willing to wait until my son grew out of being a fuss eater because I wondered if he would. There was literally NO help for people whose kids were living on biscuits milk, hot chips and chicken nuggets. A doctor even told me ‘while he’s on formula he’s getting all he needs’. This was wrong and frustrating for me as a nutritionist to hear.

My son was eventually diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, pyrroles (leads to zinc, vitamin B and other trace minerals being extracted from the body) plus sensitivity to gluten and dairy. He was irrational, had pale, irregular stools and rashes on his body.

dark horse little fusspot

Few professionals offer a multidirectional approach to early feeding disorders. Parents often face huge therapy bills to get their children to eat foods of no nutritional value. Many nutritionists and dieticians recommend the traditional food pyramid that I believe is partly a catalyst to the problem.

Like many frustrated parents, I turned to doctor Google. I sought help from the world’s leading sensory specialists, who are fortunately based here in Western Australia. I started researching the ‘why’ and ‘how’ but was missing the ‘what to do about it’. I studied sensory enrichment therapy and how disconnected neurons impact the way a child interacts with their world along with techniques used to overcome sensory aversions.

We introduced seven therapy techniques into my son’s life, which made an immediate difference in how he reacted to food. I came to terms with some guilt and had to drastically change my reaction to him not eating. This was probably our turning point because he began to trust me again and enjoy food. Through understanding his difficulties, the more therapy practices I implemented because not one set of therapies work every time. Mealtimes need to be dynamic, flexible, stress-free with a clean, balanced diet.

I started offering free help to families with fussy eaters locally. I did this for 12-months until I had developed techniques to help a broad enough range of fussy eaters. I then implemented my now hugely popular three-week therapy program. I soon started getting emails from frustrated parents worldwide.

I’m a mum first and feeding therapist second, so found it difficult to meet a growing demand. I decided to shut down my clinic, move to a home office and start filming my therapy practices to teach parents how to administer these therapies at home. My digital courses are tailored to three different types of fussy eaters. The courses aim to make specialised care accessible and affordable on a global scale. I’ve built a therapy group on social media with members helping each other.

I feel like I’ve only just began learning about all of the therapies available. I’m hungry to research and add more strategies. I plan to write a book to bring a lower price point for people. I also feel an urge to start giving back and am considering ways to help people in a more desperate situation. There’s still plenty of work to be done for Beth as she works to help more and more kids with Little Fusspot.

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