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All my 3-year-old does is eat, eat, eat.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Ok, so this sounds like possibly the stupidest question ever, I know, but all my son (3y 4m) does is eat, eat, eat.  He's not fat, in fact, he's tall and skinny for his age.  At first I just blamed it on a growth spurt, or maybe not enough snacking at preschool for an active boy, or maybe he was too busy to eat snack.  But he's been to 3 different schools since this started which I swear was the end of last summer, and most recently was at Montessori where the kids can self-serve snack whenever they want. His teachers tell me he often had 2 helpings and would still sometimes try to steal food from his friends!  At this school also we bought lunch and I know it was a well-balanced offering with good protein.  Snacks are often things like apple wedges and pretzels. 

 

At dinner yesterday he had 5, yes _5_ helpings of spaghetti and some french bread (not a lot, he loves anything with tomato-based product on it). He ate as much as me and my daughter combined.  Tonight we had a treat and went to McDonalds (mostly so my kids could run around and exhaust themselves 'cause I'm coming down with a cold and wanted a break).  He had a kid-sized hamburger, kid-sized fries, apple slices, his juice box, some of MY fries, 8 leftover chicken nuggets, and half a chocolate chip cookie.  This is on top of the 2 apple wedges, 8 or 10 crackers, and 2 carrot sticks he ate in the car on the way there. Incidentally, he was super-cranky also had 3 near meltdowns while we were ordering, but his mood improved massively after he started eating.

 

Now, sometimes he'll say he's hungry (lately he'll actually say, "I'm STARVING!!") and not eat what I give him, but his refusal is usually actually tied to his not really liking the food on offer (for example, he doesn't like those animal crackers from the Target dollar zone--I have a bag in the car that's been there forever because he will NEVER eat those things).

 

This eating thing is constant enough that on a couple occasions lately when he hasn't been hungry, he's come down sick the same day.

 

So I know, kids can be hungry, they can have growth spurts, but this has been going on for months.  Is it possible there's something WRONG with him??  I almost want to take him to the ped, but I'm afraid she'll laugh at me.  

post #2 of 4

How about writing down everything he eats for a week or 2 then taking a look at it. That way you have a document if/when you decide to go to the ped. FWIW my ds eats as much as my husband most of the time. If we eat out with our friends their kids can split a kids meal, my ds orders from the adult menu. He is now 6 but this has been going on a long while.

post #3 of 4

My first assumption would be that it's normal for him and to respect his natural appetites.  I really do not think there is anything wrong with him. 

 

It sounds like he may need to snack frequently or he has blood sugar drops that affect his mood a lot.  Then eating makes him feel so good he keeps going?  In your shoes I would probably try to offer fewer high-carb foods like pasta and crackers because in my experience those foods have intense effects on some children's appetites.  If there is anything my kids would eat three or more servings of it would be spaghetti or macaroni and cheese.  Since those are not very nutritious that may be part of why we feel hungry even with a full belly of such foods--we're craving nutrients that are still lacking.  I'd keep more things like carrots and nuts and cheese on hand to shift the balance a little.

 

It is possible that appetites can be affected by problems with wheat or other sensitivities, and most such problems remain undiagnosed for years.  No need to leap to conclusions about that but you might want to learn a little bit about gluten sensitivity.  I am biased on that subject because I personally can't eat wheat and it took me a long time to understand that I was having problems--and I really didn't believe it until I had major reactions.  (Most pediatricians probably wouldn't have much to offer on this subject if it didn't involve an acute allergic reaction FWIW.)

post #4 of 4
I suggest keeping a food diary and getting him checked for celiacs if it is really as frequent as it feels. My dd was at the upper end of the growth chart at that age and she snacked frequently at that age during growth spurts and needed a morning and afternoon snack in addition to meals but it wasn't the extreme daily thing you are describing.
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