Mothering Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
5,069 Posts
I clicked on this thread and now I feel I should post because I don't want you to see the number of views and get discouraged. However, I am (1) not sure if I have anything I can offer you above and beyond the nutritionists and pyschologists, and I have to think about that, and (2) I am on a lunch break at work and need to get back, so will have to return to this thread later.

I hope venting was at least some release for you. Hang in.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,069 Posts
P.S. Can you make a list of things you have tried to post here? I know you described what you did on the doctor's advice, but I am wondering about the pyschologists and other professionals.

I'd hate to make things more frustrating for you by suggesting things you have already tried. For example, have you tried giving her a fanny pack or backpack full of non-caloric and low-caloric foods (celery sticks, or the like...if she is able to handle those without choking) that she can have on her all day?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,069 Posts
Okay, I am back. A lot of what I want to say echos what has been said.

1.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
Are your pediatrician and nutritionist specialized or experienced in working with kids from institutionalized settings? The advice you were given sounds more "standard" than anything I was ever told to do when caring for neglected kids or kids who hoard food as a foster parent...I wholeheartedly agree with Pumpkin's advice to seek out a *specialized* pediatrician and nutitionist if you've not already. I think an adoption specialist would be ideal.
2.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
What about those mesh-on-a-stick things that you can put an apple slice or two in for a kiddo to gnaw on ( they're more for babies though, not sure how they'd hold up to toddler teeth! Also, well, they are kind of gross and messy sometimes).
I didn't mean to offend by suggesting celery sticks. My kids were able to handle that kind of thing at that age, which is why I suggested it but put in the caveat about only if it doesn't cause choking (and a lot of times, I do realize, kids who gorge will take in too much and tend to choke more easily).

If she is a kid who is likely to choke, the mesh-bag-on-a-stick thing for babies is a great idea. It can also be filled with ice chips to increase her water intake, as water helps the body sense when it is full. My kids sometimes used it for teething ice as toddlers, and they did not have an issue with biting it.

The other food suggestions have been good. And I really agree that the key may be in part on keeping her filled with proteins. Cheerios for me is really the non-stop edible food.

3.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I think it's unrealistic to expect most toddlers to carry something with them and just graze from it unless that is how they are. Most of the toddlers I have known (including mine) will eat everything out of their snacky cup or baggie when they're given it unless they don't like it--they don't have self-regulation at all.
That may be true, but if you are at your wits end, I actually think it would be worth trying it in the "boot camp" style that pumpkingirl suggested. I don't mean fill a little snacky cup. I mean get the kid the biggest lunch box or mess-proof backpack she can handle and prepare a huge amount of food ahead of time to keep refilling her box/backpack with. Stuff it to the brim.

I just threw out the idea earlier thinking of things you might have tried, but now having thought about it, I think it could be an interesting experiment. You may have to be the one ultimately in charge of handling it, and you may put a requirement on it like that it stays in the kitchen or that she has to eat at a small table she can get in and out of by herself (to avoid messes), but the point is that it is readily available.

(For what it is worth, this is actually what we did with our own kids from a very young age. We follow the Montessori philosophy, so essentially we chose a low shelf and made that into the kids snack shelf. Every night we prepared snacks and put them in these sturdy little jars from IKEA that had easy on-off lids, and put those on their snack shelf. Then the next day, whenever the kids felt hungry, they could take a jar and bring it over to their little table and help themselves. My developmentally delayed son started doing this sometime between 13-18 months of age, so it is possible. The hardest part was teaching him that he had to remain seated at the table or that it meant he was done and needed to clear his place...it took patience on our parts, but once he learned that, it worked pretty well. Granted, between the two of them, only my daughter came to us with a history of being overfed, and she never had major issues as a result, but my point is to refute the claim that toddlers can't handle having access to food.)

I would do this for a couple reasons...first, it would help you assess where she is at better. I think there is a chance that the more you stress about this, the more her behaviors will exhibit. So if you give yourself a weekend where you are prepared and ready to just let her eat and eat and eat, and see what happens...then you can get a better idea of what is going on. Essentially, I am recommending that you isolate the behavior from factors like a limited food supply and your own frustrations. Second, I think you also find out whether some kind of system giving her unlimited access to healthy, low-caloric foods would work. She might surprise you! I hear you throwing the idea away because it sounds crazy, and I know it does, but sometimes things like this work in counter-intuitive ways.

4.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pumpkingirl71 View Post
I just wanted to say I know how you feel and it is so hard. For my daughter it was not food, it is 100% undivided attention. If we give our other two children any attention, the negative behavior started. Watching other toddlers play used to make me cry. The good news is that things have gotten SO much better. My six year old has come so far. She is watching her brother play right now and letting me answer this question
But it was very slow going. Even at six, in some ways she is still two or three.
Yes! Yes! And this is why I think that working with an adoption specialist as well as perhaps a behavioral therapist, if you are not already, might be tremendously helpful. As many folks here know, we did PCIT-A with our daughter, and it was really helpful with a lot of her behavior.

5.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pumpkingirl71 View Post
Just curious, does she make herself sick?
This is a hugely important question.

6.

Quote:

Originally Posted by WifeMomChiro View Post
My suggestion would be to have her evaluated for SPD. It seems to me that she is really oral sensory seeking. If you learn some tools to increase her sensory input in other ways it could really help.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pumpkingirl71 View Post
THis could be true, or it could also be true that oral input could help fer avoid food for a longer stretch. Maybe soemthing like a z-vibe or a vibrating teether?
Trying a vibrating teether or z-vibe is a great idea!

7.

Quote:

Originally Posted by texmati View Post
It sounds like your daughter had gotten used to a steady stream of food, and also uses it for comfort.
What I would look for in a behavioral therapist is someone who has experience helping a child slowly transfer one comfort-seeking behavior to another.

I know you said she doesn't have any attachment issues, and you and the professionals you worked with will know best. But sometimes attachment stuff can be really subtle. When my dd came to me, her comforts were all things *outside* of our relationship. Over time, we've been able to transfer some of her comfort-seeking behaviors to some things that are relationship-based.

What we did is really seek to respect the comforting effect she already had going. For example, when dd came to us she was feeding herself from the bottle. She would sometimes cry for the bottle when she wanted to be comforted, not necessarily because she was hungry (which was also age appropriate). But she didn't want us to hold her. So we respected that she *needed* the bottle for comfort. But slowly we began to help her associate the bottle with *us.* So we weren't taking away what was comforting, but were bringing that thing to us. That puts you in a position where you can eventually can begin to phase out the original comfort item (which wasn't what we did with dd...the bottle was age-appropriate, we just wanted her to begin to associate the bottle with attachment) because you have begun to put the feeling of comfort into a replacement context.

8.

Quote:

Originally Posted by texmati View Post
I can only imagine being moved from that kind of environment to one where food was restricted. It can be very stressful. I agree with pp's to start out small, and also maybe adjust your thinking about food. Why is it that she can't eat every 20 minutes?
You sound frustrated because your life with your child totally revolves around food, but the above is still a valid question. Is there some way that you can set her up to get her needs met while you also get your needs met?

Quote:
can she carry around a watered down juice bottle?
Or milk in a sippy cup (to avoid spills throughout your house, since she'll be carrying it around) and then maybe start replacing the milk with increasing amounts of water-milk mix until it is just water (you don't want her to get baby bottle rot in her mouth)?

9.

Quote:

Originally Posted by tsfairy View Post
One other thought after re-reading some of the posts is that it does sound a bit like an attention/comfort issue. Does she still obsess over food when she's being held and cuddled? Does she maybe associate food with comfort?
It would indeed be helpful to know this.

10.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
Also, what do you expect a child's response to be when they see someone in their own home eating? At that age they like to share and being told no hurts their feeling. If you don't want her to snack don't eat snacks in front of her -- that is mean in any situation. I think if you polled you will find many people's toddlers expect sharing.
True enough.

11.

Quote:

Originally Posted by melon View Post
I started steaming carrot sticks and green beans, and I just leave them in my fridge for when he asks for fruit and he's already had some. (He eats them cold) Also, defrosted frozen peas are a good snack.

I've also been making these "cookies" in the food processor, I'm not sure about quantities, I just fudge it.....Put in some cashews or peanuts, chop em up, move to a bowl....Put in some dates, and maybe some raisins, chop that up, and put in another bowl. Gradually add the nuts to the fruits, mush it up with your hands, and make it into flattened balls. (Wrap in cellophane for an on the go snack, or put on wax paper.) Stick em in the fridge. They're really good.
Those are all good suggestions but anything with dried fruit can cause blood sugar spikes, so may increase her hunger later even though it has protein too.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,069 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
Someone suggested unlimited bottles. I would LOVE to do that. However, if I give her a bottle, she always completely finishes it, to the last drop (and then sucks on the air for a few minutes). So if I refilled it, she would sit and do it again. and again... Should I try it and see if she stops after 4 or 5?
I wouldn't do bottles personally (with my kids we did bottlenursing so the bottle was associated with us, and I think that is helpful in adoptions). I would do large sippy cups.

I would not set myself up for frustration by filling one cup at a time. I would instead get a whole bunch of cups -- maybe even ten or fifteen (only because you don't know where her natural limit is right now) -- fill them up and put them in the fridge each morning. I'd let her see me doing this so she'd know they were there. I'd even show her how many. Then whenever she wants a new one, you can help her get it, but you keep yourself out of it as much as possible so your own feelings and fears don't interfere. That's gonna be the key here.

And I wouldn't try it one day and give up. With the "boot camp" a weekend is a good start, especially if your own fears and feelings are problematic, but with this I would want her to normalize to the system before I decided what kind of impact it was making on her behavior...I'd give it at least a few weeks if not a month or two.

Only THEN will you know how much she would drink naturally.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
2. She is STILL chubby, and I feel like she would eat 10 times more than she is now. So I can pretty much assume that she will gain ALOT of weight if allowed unlimited access to food, even if it is vegetables/fruit.
There is something critical that has gone unsaid here. I guess I didn't connect what you were saying at first with her size.

When a person is larger, their metabolism is different than a smaller person, and they actually *need* more food. When you feed them an amount you would feed a smaller person, it doesn't meet their caloric needs, so their body starts eating away at fat. That's how people lose weight. This causes ketosis.

As a type I diabetic (that's the "juvenile kind"...not the kind associated with obesity, btw), I am intimately familiar with ketosis because my body does it when it doesn't have enough insulin to process the food I eat.

When ketosis is occurring, your body is in starvation mode. The way people lose weight is that they kick in this mechanism, which is really the body's protection against starvation. So in ketosis, you feel like you are starving. That's the body's primative warning that if you don't increase your calories, you could die. You can have consumed food, and you still feel hungry because your body is telling you that it still needs to eat away at itself to fulfill your caloric needs for your size.

I think I have read that the average toddler needs about 1300 calories a day (about 40 calories per inch of height?). Bigger toddlers need MORE if they are not going to enter ketosis. So the 900 calories recommended to you is probably a weight-loss amount. Significantly so. Which means you are keeping your child in ketosis (which by the way, can damage the body if sustained over a long period).

No wonder your child is hungry. No matter how chubby she is, her body is telling her she is starving
.

If I were you, I'd stop worrying about her weight. Give her a chance to come into a more natural relationship with food, to heal from all this, to become more active as she stops focusing on food, and then after being in that state for a year or so, if she is still overweight, *then* work with the nutritionists on a slow plan of weight loss.

Chubby isn't dangerous. It would only be if she was grossly overweight that you should start feeling more urgency. The kid hasn't even had a chance to eat normally.

Quote:
4. What if she doesn't stop? What if she eats until she throws up?
Then you know she will eat until she throws up, at least while in "healing" mode. You will have more information than you do now. That's a GOOD thing.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
If the issue really is a need for extra calories, then she's not going to be satisfied with chowing on carrots & broccoli all day.
Yes. Having thought about this some more, I would offer her mutiple types of food. Would I keep the emphasis on veggies? Yes, but I would still have *plenty* of proteins available, and some carbs such as fruit. Actually, offering her unlimited access to a variety would also give you information about what she is craving, which could be helpful.

And no, she will not gain weight by being offerred unlimited veggies. It isn't possible to eat enough veggies to do that. That's when she'd be throwing up.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,069 Posts
One other thing about ketosis. The body in ketosis needs more water. This would be a good explanation why she drinks every drop and asks for more.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,069 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
I think, OP, that I'm having trouble understanding why your pediatricians aren't looking at other options. I'm not so sure that her problem is psychological in nature, and I wonder if the fact that she's adopted is overriding anything else, i.e. what would they do if a non-adopted child were having these issues with food? I'm afraid you/they are missing a health component because you're looking for a psychological one and focusing on her relationship with food before adoption.
But now I am not so sure there is a problem at all, physical or otherwise.

Imagine this scenario, for example:

Child came home at 9 months a large baby. She thus needed bunch of exta calories to avoid ketosis (which causes the feeling of starvation). Her intake was surprising to mom, as mom's other kids were not so large and thus she'd never seen a kid who needed to consume so much. She was also worried about baby's weight. Eventually, the surprise and concern led her to a doctor, where the exploration of the baby's pre-adoption history came to be a big part of the narrative for mom.

The doctor, however, doesn't really think that way. The doctor thinks in a "calories in, calories out" formula. The concern was about the child's weight, so the doctor recommends a reduction in calories. This sends baby into ketosis. Ketosis causes baby to feel the need to eat not just in large quantities, but all the time. And drink too. Since mom has been instructed not to give baby more than 900 calories, mom does not allow baby to eat when she feels the need.

This causes some weight loss, which seems like a good sign on some level to everyone, but at the same time, baby is now extremely focused on food because her body is telling her she is starving. Baby can't stop thinking about food. It becomes her total focus and obsession, as a survival mechanism. This increases the mom's alarm, as baby now seems to be a "bottomless pit" and completely unaware of anything but food. Knowing something is really wrong, mom takes baby to the nutritionist. Mom describes to the nutritionist that baby is completely food obsessed. The "symptom" has changed from when mom went to the doctor originally, as now the baby is in ketosis. So this time, the conversation is different. The conversation is about a child's obsession. The child being overweight, in the nutritionist's mind, is attributed to the consumption level, not the other way around.

But there has been success in weight loss with the 900 calorie diet, and since the nutritionist is dealing with a child who is apparently overweight from overconsumption, the nutritionist thinks of the weight loss as a sign of things being on a healthier track. Once the child learns to eat less, it is supposed, weight will stabalize and the child will eat less in general. So the nutritionist continues to recommend a 900 calorie diet.

And sure enough, baby's weight becomes stabalized, or maybe even weight loss continues, but baby's body is telling her that she is still starving, so the "problem" of overfocusing on food just gets worse and worse. To the point in which mom, who has faithfully tried everything that has been recommended to her by the professionals, cries and leaves the park because her child isn't able to play due to starvation. But mom doesn't know it is starvation because her child is still chubby, and at least two professionals have FAILED to correctly identify the issue so all she has is a dead-end road.

Misdiagnosis can spin into misdiagnosis. Wouldn't be the first time, nor the last time, that it happens. That's why I am recommending baby be given a year to heal and for things to normalize before another wild goose chase ensues. I am crossing my fingers that I am right.

"Bootcamp" is bootcamp for mom, not babe. Mom has to normalize to something new, something that goes against what has been advised to her to date. That's just the begining, not the end of a long process.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,069 Posts
Jaya,

I went down a different road with this post, but I agree with you that testing for parasites is important. Thanks for informing the rest of us how important it is to find *good,* adequate testing.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top