Food obsessions

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

So my daughter, who will be 14mo next week, absolutely loves food. If she sees someone eating anywhere near her, she wants to have some. The only problem with that, though, is she can have just stuffed herself to the point where if I were to eat that much by comparison I would get sick, and she STILL wants to eat whatever someone nearby is eating! This has been going on ever since she started eating solid food, and before that if she ever saw the bottle she'd freak out unless she got some. I had intended to breastfeed her but she was so demanding and I wasn't producing so she kept refusing me and I had to bottle-feed.

When I tell my family about this, they just think she's not eating enough with me, that I'm not feeding her enough. That's not true at all. She gets three meals a day and snacks in between, and we make sure to keep her hydrated. She gets plenty of fruits and vegetables, and we give her chicken or turkey at least once a week. She doesn't seem to like pork or beef and I'm fine with letting her have her way with that.

This kid can eat an entire sandwich by herself and still want some of mine. And she's never been good about chewing her food. If she's eating finger foods, she stuffs her mouth as full as she can get it and if we try to stop her she screams bloody murder and chokes. She does okay when we're feeding her, but she shakes the entire time unless she's had some kind of finger food beforehand. My parents and my in-laws have ALL seen how she reacts to food and how she can eat as much as an adult if we let her. Once we even let her attempt to eat as much as she could, and she ended up vomiting she ate so much.

I don't know what to do. We certainly do NOT starve her, as she gets plenty to eat throughout the day and we try to give her a well-balanced diet that matches her activeness. She's not anemic and she's certainly growing, so I can only assume we're doing okay by feeding her what we do. I'm just concerned about how obsessed she seems to be with food, and how she can eat sooo much. I know babies go through spurts where they eat more or less depending on how they're growing, but this has been a constant thing, from tiny on.

I brought it up with the nutritionist, and she said that I shouldn't worry as long as she's getting the right foods and is growing, but's just insane how much she wants to eat.

So even though I probably shouldn't ask since people will probably say exactly what that nutritionist said, are we doing something wrong?? Is this our fault or is this just one of her little quirks? Is she always going to be like this, and if so, what can we do about it???

I just don't want her to grow up and it turn into some kind of eating disorder...


Lady Heather - posted on 02/29/2012




My daughter was the same until the last month. She is three months shy of three now. When she was 6.5 months she would eat a whole avocado. Ha.

She still eats the same breakfast as me and the same size snacks, but her life isn't all about food like it used to be. So it could be a phase of sorts.

Mrs. - posted on 03/01/2012




Maybe she associates Daddy being around with eating. I mostly mentioned the mimicking thing because my daughter, since she was in the high chair, freaks out if she gets messy on her hands and mouth - so much so she won't eat. I finally figured out, my husband is a huge neat freak, that he had been wiping her mouth and hands after each spoonful...seriously, after each spoonful. She learned to eat in an anal fashion from her Dad. It is something that is really hard to work with her on. She just can't be like a lot of kids who enjoy their ice cream or soup without any huge anxiety about getting messy.

It is amazing what they pick up on, but in my daughters case, it is totally understandable.

Mrs. - posted on 03/01/2012




Get her checked out by the doc to make sure there are no deficiencies or problems. That way you can just put your mind to rest.

If not, what are your eating habits like? Do you ever binge eat or do you eat quickly without thinking? Could it be possible that, if it isn't you who does that, maybe someone else does? Is she just mimicking someone in your family?

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/01/2012




Honestly I think she likes the taste and where she can be in control of something. I don't think there is a serious problem from what you have explained. I would, if it were me, just make sure she doesn't over do it. She will need to learn control when it comes to how much she is eating. By the sounds of it she is far from starving or really even hungry once she has eaten. I think she just likes the exploration of food. It's textures, tastes and perhaps the feeling on her gums (if she is teething).

I wouldn't worry too much. Now if it was reversed and she was not eating much at all, that's when I would become concerned (even though "they" say toddlers don't need a lot - I think they need more than they like to lead on but all kids are different. Some do, some don't). I think you are their best watch dog, you know when enough is enough, she just likes food! As long as it is "good" foods, I can't see an issue.. Good Luck :)

Caitlin - posted on 03/01/2012




My 2 year old daughter eats more than I do (most fo the time).. It's crazy how much she eats, but she just had her 2 year appointment and she's jumped up on her growth curve, both in height and weight, the doc says shes doing great. She also seems to do that vibrating thingy when she sees food, she shakes in what seems to me like anticipation, and if the food isn't for her she FREAKS OUT hardcore. She gets 2 snack and 3 meals a day and sometimes I just cut her off because I deem she's had enough, but usually I just let her have at it, as long as she doens't make herself sick (which has happened once or twice). .

She's just my little foodie..


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[deleted account]

getting my husband to stop eating like a barbarian is like trying to stop a stampeding bull alone. i don't think it's going to happen. i will try to set up an appointment and talk to a doctor about all the things that have been mentioned and see if it's just how she is or if it's something physical. i think it's just how she is and i hope she doesn't kill herself being this way but better safe than sorry. i really hope she grows out of it...

[deleted account]

Unless she has a soy intolerance (she has a milk intolerance and we had to have her on ProSobee when i couldn't breastfeed her), food intolerances don't explain why she has been like this since tiny, before we started her on solids. Also, her stools are normal: she has a wide variety of types, haha, depending on what she eats. They are lumpy when she eats lumpy food, and mushy when she eats mushy food. And they all tend to look very well-digested. xP Color is pretty consistent, too. But that may be because a lot of her foods are orange, yellow, or green. It turns out dark orangey brown.

Rebecca Three, my husband eats without thinking about it, and eats rather quickly. that may be it. i try not to eat in front of her because of the way she acts when there's food around. i know that for the first few months of her life, my husband was always working and when he came home in the afternoon, he would get something to eat immediately and would eat in front of her because she'd usually be up. i actually remember joking with him that she'll wind up thinking all daddy ever does is eat when he's around. so that is a great thought-provoking question. if only i could find a pediatrician who'd care enough to sit down and discuss all these ideas with me without thinking i'm crazy. sigh...

let me write all this stuff down, that might be a good idea...

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/01/2012




From what you have described it also sounds alot like a food intolerance. For what I have read a food intolerance will make you hungry and will make you "crave" certain foods. A toddler doesn't know what food they are craving, they just know when they get it, it makes them feel good.

Here is an excerpt to one article I have read.

10. Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are cruel because they make you crave exactly the food that is causing the problem. When you eat common food sensitivities, such as cow's milk and wheat, the body copes with the stress of the food by releasing opioids, which are similar to morphine. This means that you will have a very good feeling immediately after consuming the food sensitivity, and within a couple of hours you will be desperate for more food, especially sugar.

Clues that food sensitivities maybe a cause:

- aversion to certain foods

-cravings to certain foods

-frequent consumption of certain foods

-consistent appearance of symptoms after certain foods eaten.

-better behavior after time not eating foods

-stomach ache, gassiness, constipation, diarrhea

-insatiable hunger

-hyperactivity, poor learning skills

-physical clues, dark eye circles, red cheeks or ears, eye wrinkles, - allergic salute (pushing up nose)

-sniffing, snorting

-irritable, overactive,

-fatigue, droopy, drowsy

-headache, stomachache, leg aches, muscle aches

-coughing , wheezing

-colic history

-rashes -eczema

-sleep problems, depression, confusion

-rages, anxiety, hallucination, dizziness

I would ask the doctor about this too. This could be very likely as well. I hope not for you and your LO but better to know for sure than not. ;)

ETA: Wheat intolerance is a big one that causes a symptom of always being hungry....

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/01/2012




Jaime, a quick question. Are her stools normal? Or are they always loose?

[deleted account]

Thank you all for posting, you are all being so helpful!

Deidre Zehrahk, tapeworms don't sound all that crazy, really. She's not pudgy at all, but she's not very skinny and she's at the weight she's supposed to be for her age (she's always been tall, though). but that is a good idea, i will bring that up with the doctor along with the diabetes possibility. just to make sure they aren't the actual problem.

Elfrieda, that is exactly what she is like! I tried to give her a banana (i'd seen a mom give a baby much younger than Julie a banana and the baby munched happily, taking a bite at a time, so i though MAYBE she could do it) and she tried to stuff the entire thing into her mouth, ended up choking and dropping the majority of it on the floor. we give her animal crackers once in a while, and she will stuff the entire cracker in her mouth, chew a little bit, then stuff another one, until she's got three in her mouth at once. everybody says "She's such a good eater! You're so lucky!" but it's a constant struggle not to just blend everything up and spoon feed her because that's the only time she takes one bite at a time, lol!

Caitlin Auger, yes, the freaking out is what Julie does. If she sees us eating, she stares at the food and starts shaking and crying if we don't share, and it's even worse if we DO share because we eat some and she thinks it's all supposed to be hers, i guess.

MeMe, that is very possible. She is extremely stubborn like both her parents and i guess one thing that definitely shows she HAS to have control is her supreme hatred of our Jenny Jump-up and anything even remotely similar. I actually have a video of how she reacts while in the jumper. She is screaming the entire time and stomping her feet and flailing around. She is so weird. Even if we're holding her and sit on something that swings or bounces, she starts freaking out and wants to get away as fast as humanly possible. I just don't understand. Maybe she is the same way with food. She can totally control it and destroy it and everything. But yeah, we make sure to only give her what we know she can hold. If she still wants more, she gets a drink.

Which she downs like a kid with a Koolaid Squeezer. 9oz gone in a flash. she hardly stops to breathe unless it's water, which she doesn't like so much.

One good thing about her obsession, though, she hardly ever plays with the food (unless she doesn't like it) and she never spits it out or makes a mess. Haha...

Elfrieda - posted on 03/01/2012




Except for the shaking, it sounds a lot like my son. At that age he couldn't be trusted with a full plate of food because he'd stuff it all into his mouth at once and choke on it. And he ate as much as I did, and I like my food!

I'll tell you my experience, so you can judge for yourself if that's like your daughter or not.

Same thing, he wanted more milk than I had, so I had to supplement with formula, and as soon as he started eating solids he just never wanted to stop.

At around 18 months he started being more responsible, and I could do things like give him a whole banana (the peel started) and he would peel it carefully and eat it. And he could handle a whole cracker and just take bites off it instead of trying to swallow it whole, boa constrictor-style. We really focused on teaching him the word "bite", and would remind him as the food travelled to his mouth "Bite, Bite, only a bite! Hurray!" and distract him until he chewed and swallowed, and then let him take another bite.

He still likes food, but isn't as bottomless as he used to be. He's chubby, but he's a toddler. I think he looks good, not too fat and not too skinny.

His cousin is the same. They are similar in a lot of ways. She's 3 and he's 2. We just have to say "no more" to them, which shocks some parents who have to convince their kids to eat. Yesterday for a snack I cut up an apple and half an orange pepper for them to share, and they sat at my son's little table and ate it all, then the girl went to the play kitchen and got 2 plates and scooped imaginary food into the plates, brought them back to the table and the two of them went at it again, picking up invisible food and eating it, grinning at each other.

I don't think she'll always be like this, she just might need a little more guidance on listening to her stomach to see if it wants more food, she might need help learning to chew properly (like my boy), and I think that as long as you teach her these things and don't make a big deal about not eating because you don't want to get fat, she won't develop an eating disorder.

(I am concerned by the shaking, though... do you think she's just so upset, or if it's something more serious?)

Deidre - posted on 02/29/2012




Just remember the size of her stomach is the size of her little tiny FIST. And you are the parent so it is your responsibility to monitor her food intake. You are doing everything right. DO NOT give into the thought of wanting her to be satisfied. That is a VERY big mistake and you are in charge. Children do not have a stop button when it comes to food. That is why we are here. If she is upset, whining, and overall out of sorts because you think she may still be hungry after feeding her her share then I suggest you guys defer her attention to more Physical activity. I don't know if she is a little butterball now, but it's never too early to set standards and set a good example.

Also, later on ask for her to be checked out for a tapeworm. It may sound crazy, but it does happen. It never hurts to check it out. See ya on the wall :)

[deleted account]

well the trembling only happens after she sees the food so i don't think it's anything metabolically wrong with her but i will ask about it at her next check-up. we just got insurance reinstated for her so thankfully we can start looking for a pediatrician. i don't know that they'll say anything different than what i've already been told by people at the health department, but i can make them run some tests on her to make sure everything is okay. the doctor at the last check-up didn't seem to care too much, he was in and out like nobody's business, wouldn't even look me in the going to have to do some really good searching. i don't know all the doctors in this town.

[deleted account]

Hmmm....I was going to say that she's just like Geneva ---- until I read the post about her shaking and trembling. Honestly, to me, that would signal diabetes to me. I'm sure it's probably not, but it might be something to mention to your doctor just in case.

Geneva is the same way (without the shakes). I swear that girl is a bottomless pit. She will eat and eat and eat. And then eat some more. She's thin and tall so I'm not too worried about it.

[deleted account]

she has never lost her appetite, lol. she's been getting more fluids the last couple days (when she still acts hungry we give her a sippy cup full of really watered down juice or just water) and that seems to help a bit but not by much. still shakes and trembles like we haven't fed her all day.

at least she's well hydrated...

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/29/2012




You are not doing anything wrong. She is a hungry girl! Maybe add more snacks and stuff to her day and that may curve the over eating?? My son was like that to an extent, but the way you are describing is quite a bit. And yes, when they are going through growth spurts they sure do eat more. And when they are sick, they lose their appetites....sometimes it can take a week or 2 after being sick to get back to the original appetite.

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