My 4-year-old DD is always hungry. I mean, literally always. She doesn't gorge herself or anything, but she says she's hungry every five minutes when we're not eating. Really, don't read this with the assumption that I am exaggerating. When I say every five minutes, I mean every five minutes. And feeding her seems almost useless. For example, last night, after eating a pile of pretzels and a bowl of strawberries at around 6 o'clock, she ate a huge dinner at 7 o'clock (barbecued tri-tip, two helpings of mashed potatoes, a bunch of grilled peppers, some corn, some garlic bread), said she was full, but ate a small ice cream sandwich within five minutes of saying she was full. Half an hour later, she wanted popcorn. (The answer was no. We've instated a rule where we "close" the kitchen after the girls have had one snack after dinner because otherwise little DD would have DH and I getting out snacks right up until bedtime.) Mornings are the worst. She'll eat breakfast and as soon as she's done, says she's still hungry. She watches the clock for it to be lunchtime, even though snacks are available all morning. She definitely snacks--fruit, crackers, cheese, yogurt. I have no idea how she's going to get through kindergarten, which she starts this summer. Three and a half hours with just one snack?!
I've made healthy snacks readily available so she can help herself, which she does. Sometimes, depending on the day, it seems that she says she's hungry when she's bored. But even in the middle of a big fun playtime, she'd rather eat than, say, swim or ride bikes or play a favorite game. We went on a bike ride last week with some favorite friends and she needed to eat at every stop. When we go swimming, she swims for awhile, but talks constantly about what snack we brought, and about what we'll have for dinner later.
She seems genuinely hungry. She loves food, and happily eats all different kinds of foods. She's not overweight. From the minute she was born, she wanted to eat constantly. Nursed every hour (except at night--this child respects sleep as much as she does food), but headed for solid food on her own at 6 months by reaching across the table for brown rice.
Has anyone else dealt with this? I hesitate to squash it too much, not wanting to cause food issues. But I'm beginning to think food issues already exist. She's obsessed with eating. Is there some reason she might not be feeling "full" for very long? Is this just a fast metabolism thing? Something more emotional and complex?
Any insight would be welcome!