Our 4yr old daughter wont eat, shes not a dissobediant child... I'm worried for her health!

Carley - posted on 12/16/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Our daughter Ebony refuses to eat! Its not that shes a fussy eater or a dissobediant child or even an unhappy child, she just sits at the dinner table for hours, picking at her food, not eating it at all.
We control her portions so that they aren't to big, and make sure that whats on her plate is giving her enough nutriants.
We've also had her tested for family health problems like coliacs and lactose intollerance, she's in great health, but she'll just sit there not eating.
She makes up excuses eg: I'm tired, my tummys sore and I need to go to the toilet. She can even make herself vomit on que! Yet as I said there isn't anything wrong with her!
We've tried old fashioned disapline, not working! We've taken away TV and treats for an entire week, not working! Shes really smart too, why does nothing work?
I've made a chart to record what she eats, when she eats it and how long it takes. I've also made a matching one in comparrison to her 19month old sister. They get rewarded with stickers for eatingup good and crosses when they don't... This isn't even working. Please help, shes just getting thinner and thinner :(
My frustration is reaching its end, I'm quite patient but I'm so worried about her... Its exhusting me to tears!!!

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Kekua - posted on 12/17/2009

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It's because she's so smart that nothing works. I think you're worrying too much and putting too much emphasis on food/eating (which could set the stage for a later eating disorder).

If she can make herself vomit then it sounds like she's seeking the attention. If she doesn't want to eat, don't make her •but• make sure that there is always a snack available. Like some fruit in the fridge that are washed and ready to go or some sort of appropriate snack in the cabinet where she can reach them.

As best as you can, take any and all attention off her eating habits. Just tell her I have some (whatever snack) and I'm going to put it (wherever) in case you want some and continue to give her regular meals but make no mention of how much or whether or not she eats it. After about half an hour or whenever everyone has finished eating you can ask her if she's finished and if she'd like you to take her plate.

However you need to start making regular time for her like "reading time" or "cuddling time" or even watching tv with mom because it really sounds like she doesn't feel like she's getting your attention and one of the very few things kids can control is what they eat, so she can use that to gain your attention.

In the meantime you can make smoothies/shakes. In fact that could be one of your together things to do. That way you can know she's still getting some nutrition.

Stephanie - posted on 12/17/2009

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Maybe like try to get her favorite character plate. Maybe that will work. Take her to the Dr. and see what they say about her weight. Maybe start her on some shakes. But try the character plates to see if she will then they have these plates that have 3 opening for 2 ears and a mouth. Don't know if t will be in your area but tr that and see how that does. Good luck

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Heidi - posted on 12/19/2009

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My 6 year old son is the same way. I get to the point when I want to pull my hair out. He takes forever to eat, and refuses to eat what I give him. I found lunchables at the store that he will eat, and I bought some PediaSure milkshakes. I give him one or two a day so I can make sure he is getting what he needs.
I have been told that many kids go through a stage like this but it is very frusrating.

Laurie - posted on 12/19/2009

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I am very sorry that you are having to deal with this. I have had two very picky eaters and I sympathize with you. I agree that she is getting a lot of attention out of this. I was just watching "the doctors" on tv the other day and they had a similiar story, they recommended ignoring the child during the meal. They actually started the child with an empty plate and didn't force anything on the child. This child started picking something off the table to place on her plate and started eating it. The doctors said to not make a big deal of what she does or doesn't eat, just go about your eating as normal. Of course this approach is not going to get her to eat everything and completely solve the problem but it might be a starting point and hopefully she would begin to start eating when she realized the focus wasn't on her any more! I also agree that a multivitamin is a good idea, to insure she is getting the nutrients she needs, and also make sure she isn't getting any snacks that are less nutritional to fill up on. When my daughter was younger my pediatrician recommended making healthy fun snacks, like fruit kabobs, use cookie cutters to shape bread, cheese etc.. finger foods are way more fun for kids, and maybe letting her help you make some healthy snacks will make her more likely to try it! Best wishes!

Patricia - posted on 12/18/2009

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# one if she truely does not eat much at all then I would suggest some sort of multivitamin. You can call your physician to see what they recomend for over the counter. Be carefull those flinstone vitamins are usually considered to be 2 doses. Yeah I happened to read the back of them one day and it said dose size is 1/2 a vitamin luckily I read that because I would have assumed to give the whole thing.

2nd how much liquids do you give her? I would stick to no more then 4 cups of milk and give water there after and see if she will begin to eat more.

3rd when she is finished with her plate save the left overs and offer them again when she becomes hungry.

Otherwise if she is healthy and is not declining on her curve of development at the docs then I wouldn't worry to much. A 4 yr old will eat when they get hungry I don't beleive they are capable to starv themselves for attention. Their brains just don't work like that yet. So relax and keep tring new ideas eventually after all this she'll hit a growth spurt and start chowing down.

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