Friday, August 12, 2005

Eating Shmeating!

4.5 years ago Dakota was hospitalized for 5 days because he has a condition called "Failure to Thrive" which can be cause by many things but basically means you child has stopped growing and in some cases loosing weight. He endured a myriad of tests which included taking his blood at least 4 times. They evaluated his eating and came to the conclusion that he wasn't eating enough. That was what I told them before I went in but I was only his mother.

The problem with kids not eating has many parts.

1. Because of incidences like the previous we (parents) tend to put pressure on our kids to eat and get all worried making the problem worse.

2. Getting them to try a variety of foods

3. Getting them to gain weight so that their body doesn't feed on it self.

The first thing we I needed to do was stop putting pressure on Dakota to eat. I think kids not eating is a control issue, I have no degree in psychology and all of this info is purely anecdotal but, lots of things are happening in kids lives that they have no control over and eating is one that they can control. The more I pressured the more Dakota refused to eat.

The next thing I needed to do was to get the kid to gain weight. I had to beef up the calorie count to all his meals. He love milk shakes so his food was supplemented with ensure (or a store brand easier on the wallet) He was only aloud to have water once a day and never any juice. I guess it fills them up. No drinks until after he has finished half his dinner. The dietician specifically said this because they wanted his calories to come from food. I guess that's really important because kids have a hard time transitioning. Is easier if they can carry a cup around all day. My pediatrition gave me some recipes that are for milkshakes you can make at home in case the budget doesn't allow for the expense of piedisure. I 'll share some in the next few posts.

There is a lot of psychology behind getting a kid to eat and I guess you have to find what works for you but here are some helps that worked for me.

1. Regular meal times
***2. Eat at the table. Less distraction. Gone are the days of picnics in front of the TV.
3. No juice especially at meal times. If going to have juice it must be served 1 to 2 hours before a meal
4. Establish the rules and reduce the pressure. It pained me to see Dakota go hungry one night but the next day he learned to eat when served (this was the hardest) He could choose to eat what he wanted on his plate but I was not to make him a special meal and I left the choice up to him.
5. It takes about 15 times of offering something they won't try, to get them to try it. Just keep trying.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Oh, my son is the same way about eating! (Not to the point of failure to thrive, but I do worry.) And of course, I put on the pressure, which of course makes things worse. For what it's worth, I'm not a psychologist either, but I came to the same conclusion about part of it being a control issue. Also, my son seems to need a quiet, organized environment (no distractions) when he eats. He's being bussed to a new school this year and for the first time he will have to stay for lunch. Last time I checked, school lunchrooms were anything but quiet and organized. I never realized how much this was "eating at me" until I stumbled across your blog.