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6.5 year old refusing to eat solids
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agiftfromthesea posted:
approx. 2 weeks ago my 6.5 year old had a mini choking incident that scared her. So now she is scared of choking and basically will only eat yogurt, banannas, cereal. Meal times are a nightmare. We took her to the doctor to rule out any physical issues which there were none. She is small for her age to begin with and is now losing weight. She weighs only 35lbs. The doctor suggested taking her to a therapist. Some people are telling us not to make an issue out of it, that's just a phase. Not sure what to do. Anyone else going or have gone through this? thanks
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momuv4girls responded:
I work with a 4 year old child with a similar problem. His refusal to eat "solid" food is due to hospitalizations when he was younger.

I would first try to completely ignore the problem for the next 2-weeks or so. I would give your daughter the foods that she is comfortable eating at meal times, but make no reference to the fact that its a hassle, or different from your food.
If you are worried about her weight, then you could take the regular food you eat (burritos, spaghetti etc..) and puree it in a blender for her. There are also healthy choices of food at stores like Trader Joes or Whole Foods.

Taking the power struggle out of the equation may do the trick after a while.
After trying this approach for awhile if she is still anxious about choking and refusing food, I would look into a "feeding specialist" - they are out there for others who have feeding needs.

Take care Mom!
-Kathleen
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD replied to momuv4girls's response:
I see a few kids a year with this sort of issue-- a sudden refusal to eat following a gag or choke, or sometimes after a meal that made a child vomit. Often it seems to happen more in children who are perceived as "picky eaters" or "small", or in families where mealtimes were already sort of a struggle.

Keep the following rule in mind: you cannot make a child eat. (you also can't make 'em poop and can't make 'em sleep. -- those three rules probably address 50% of the posts on this board!)

Anything that you do that focuses attention on food or eating will make this worse. Do not make special food for her, or make a show of making special food for her.

Instead, continue usual family meals-- she must sit at the table as a family. During mealtimes, do NOT talk about food or eating. Talk about other things. Come up with games and conversations and sillyness. No food talk at all.

Everyone shares the same platters of food on the table. Everyone can help themselves to as much-- or as little-- as they want of anything on the table. BEFORE the meal, make sure one of the things on the table is something soft that she typically finds acceptable, but DO NOT point that out to her or make a big deal about it or explain that this is "the thing for you." Yogurt at every meal is fine. Yogurt specifically brought out for a child when she refuses to eat anything else is asking for disaster.

As soon as you stop focusing on eating, this will pass. But you must let this go. No dirty looks, no faces, no nothing that shows in any way that you care whether or not anyone is eating, or how much anyone is eating.

Trust me.

BTW, all parents of children should follow this meal plan. It works.
 
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agiftfromthesea replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
She has lost 5 pounds at this point. Do you honestly think it's healthy to ignore? She isn't holding out for candy or anything like that. It's a very fine line to walk and our peditrician at this point wants her to talk to someone. Which I don't think can hurt. My daughter is very verbal and maybe it will help her articulate and understand what's going on inside her.
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD replied to agiftfromthesea's response:
On this forum, I can only address generalities-- your own personal pediatrician knows you, your child, and your circumstances far better than I. You should always first follow the advice of your own physician, who is far more able to give specific advice to your specific situation than I.

My advice will work very well for most acute food refusers, so it's the best I can do with the limited info I have.

Best of luck!
 
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Sarahai replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
What do you do when they won't eat any of the meal and then say they are hungry an hour later? Do you offer them the same food?
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD replied to Sarahai's response:
An hour later, I'd offer same food, with no complaints/punishments/comments. But if it's been "long enough" to have reached a typical snack time, than it's fine to move along to something else healthy and snack-ish if you'd like.
 
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agiftfromthesea replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
Thank you.
 
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Monkeymaze94 responded:
Did you ever get an answer to this? I have the exact same thing going on right now. My 6.5 year old only weighs about 38 lbs. She won't eat anything, maybe ice cream and M&M's. She has even had a tube run down her throat to make sure there was no reason why she can't swallow and they found nothing.
 
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momuv4girls replied to Monkeymaze94's response:
What does her Pedi say ?

I would look into something like this:

http://www.childrensfeedingtherapy.com/

Do some research in your area, and hopefully there is a clinic/Dr. who can help your daughter.

Take care,
-Kathleen


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