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i have absolutely no experience with adoptions (or two year olds, for that matter) I do have food issues, though-- My inner child would very much be like your daughter.

It sounds like your daughter had gotten used to a steady stream of food, and also uses it for comfort. Me too. I constantly need to have some thing with me; even if I've just eaten or am going to eat. As in, wake up, have breakfast, grab something to eat in the car. Go to work, hit the break room (soda, water, ect). On the way home, either eat something in the car, or think about what to eat when I get home. I'll eat 3 times in the evening; once when I get home, dinner, and right before going to bed. Here's the thing-- until I got married i had nooo idea that other people didn't eat this way. My family eats this way. Most of my extended family eats this way. Food is out all the time. (No, we aren't all overweight). It's a free for all 24-7. My mom has a special place on her counter just for snacking, and my dad would cut fresh fruit to pick at all the time. The kitchen was never closed. Not everyone was eating 24-7, but the availability was there.

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? can she carry around a watered down juice bottle? Perhaps keep a tray of small healthy finger foods out all the time?

Again, I know I don't have any experience as an adoptive parent, so please if I"ve offended or overstepped, let me know and I will edit/remove my post.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
Okay, so here is my question: Allowing free access to food (which I guess I am coming to believe is the only thing that is the right thing to do since nothing else I've tried has helped) is difficult for me, but I am going to have to do it.

1. She came home VERY CHUBBY, so clearly she allowed herself to be overfed even then.

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.

3. How do I do this logistically. She is 19 mo. old and needs finger foods, and we have an active life. Do I really just hand her a mountain of food in the car/stroller/family room/wherever we are and allow her to eat until she says she wants to stop?

4. What if she doesn't stop? What if she eats until she throws up?

I'm frightened of this scenario, and it is what has been keeping me from doing it. I wish I could hire someone to feed her for me......

Thanks!

Anna
I would explore a little bit why giving her free access to food is so difficult for you-- do you mean emotionally or logistically?

1. I don't think a baby can 'allow' herself to be over fed; perhaps she wasn't being fed healthy food ect, but I don't think any of this is her *fault*.
2. I woudn't assume this. It sounds from your pp that you've essentially put her on a diet, over rode her own feeding cues, and made a battle out of this. Unless her health is in immediate danger, it sound like both you and your daughter are suffering emotionally from this. Let her eat as much non-junk as she wants.
3. Have portion out snacks available in your bag. I know they make little snack sized Ziploc, but that's not a green option. We actually do this with our 11 months old-- I carry a cute cooler tote filled with cut fruit or milk. When she asks; give her a baggie. If you feel that it's attention seeking and it's feasible, perhaps sit and talk with her while she eats. If she asks again in a few minutes give her another one.
4. I'd worry about this when it happens. If she seems to be understainding; I'd talk about how tummies get full, what it feels like, other things we can do besides eating. But I think removing the struggle around food would do a world of good for both of you first.
 

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Anna, what a wonderful update in your last post! I originally came back to this thread to edit my posts-- I'm sorry if I came off harsh. I hope that better days are in your future!
 

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Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
Yes, I am concerned she will get an unhealthy fat. I have to be honest. I fought with my weight my whole adult life, and I know what suffering it causes to try and break the habit of eating too much. I never wanted that for my kids.

This is a painful issue for me, and I still want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to try to help.

Thank you for sharing this. I too have had issues with weight my whole adult life-- (and quite a bit of my childhood). I honestly think that you need to focus on having a healthy relationship with your daughter, and focus her on having a healthy relationship with food. I would try very, very hard not to worry about her getting fat right now. Have you tried feeding her unlimited foods? Give it some time for a month. I'd also suggest seeking out therapy
s.
 

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Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
I guess this doesn't seem like a lot of food, does it? But she is still hungry after over a cup of oatmeal/peanut butter, and half an apple? That's what I don't get.
I guess, the part that gets me, is the only person who knows if she's hungry or not is her. I feel that you have this fear that if you just let her eat what she wants, she'll never stop. But you are so afraid of this, that you don't let her eat what she wants. Consider this-- If you knew, just knew, that at your next meal, you would not have enough food; that you would leave the table hungry; wouldnt it be difficult to pass up food when you saw it?

I see how hard this is on you, and I wish I could help. Is there anyone else that spend quite a bit of time with you and your DD? What does your husband or mom feel about this?

I can tell you that this doesn't sound too 'off' from what my 11 month old seems to eat, if you count in what he eats at night. And he's on the small side-- 20 pounds.
 

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I understand that I am probably overstepping, but I can't get this thread out of my head.

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Originally Posted by pumpkingirl71 View Post
Anna,

Just wanted to point out that there has been a lot of forum crashing on this thread. ....

Please don't let well meaning people let you doubt yourself. It is more than likely that your daughter does have some disordered thinking about eating. Follow your gut, but always be open to new ways to help your daughter


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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
This is a really important point. Neglect often changes a child's brain chemistry. Sometimes in irreparable ways, often not. But using traditional thinking on an untraditional brain can be harmful. This mother has been trying to find an appropriate professional to help them out. So far, she hasn't been successful but she's still questioning and searching.

There's two different issues here. The amount of food that child's body needs and the amount of food that her mind needs in order to feel safe. Hopefully those amounts will be similar one day. But, they may not be right now. And it's not the family's fault.
I hear what you are saying, and also wish that this mom could find good, competent specialized professional support. However, in reading, it does seem like the mom herself also has issues with her daughters weight and letting her have free access to food ie (eat how much she wants.)

I think it can only do good to look at this issue from all sides. OP mentions in her OP that the child does not have attachment issues; but does seem to want to eat constantly. It could very well be that the child is legitimately hungry.

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My daughter has never thrown up after eating because I have never let her eat nonstop. I'm not sure if she would throw up or not.

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Yes, it seems like she is a bottomless pit, although occasionally she will say "all done", but never when there is still food on her plate.

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I am thinking about the bootcamp, but I think I'll need some valium first. Watching her eat endlessly is difficult for me because I am so afraid I am teaching her unhealthy eating habits.

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1. She came home VERY CHUBBY, so clearly she allowed herself to be overfed even then
.

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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.

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4. What if she doesn't stop? What if she eats until she throws up?

I'm frightened of this scenario, and it is what has been keeping me from doing it. I wish I could hire someone to feed her for me......

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To update those who asked, my daughter is kind of short for her age (30 inches) and 22.5 pounds. She has gained a pound in about a month from 18 months old to 19 months old. Doesn't this in itself indicate that she is getting enough food? I'm not sure.

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Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
Hi,
Here is something else I don't understand, and would love some feedback on: She has gained at least 2 pounds in the last 2 months. If she was still "needing" more, would she be gaining weight? I have heard from many people that their kds eat enormous amounts, but they are so active they really don't gain too quickly.

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Originally Posted by WC_hapamama View Post
I ran your DD's numbers through a growth chart percentile calculator, at at 19 months old, she's in the 16th percentile for weight and 4th for height.

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Yes, I am concerned she will get an unhealthy fat. I have to be honest. I fought with my weight my whole adult life, and I know what suffering it causes to try and break the habit of eating too much. I never wanted that for my kids.
The OP seems worried about every pound the child gains; at a time when her dd needs to gain the weight. The she seems terrified that her child will eat and eat and eat. She is terrified of letting her kid eat her fill. Yet the child's stat's don't seem to indicate that she's overweight. I Isn't it possible that there is more than one dynamic at play here?

Anna, I have so much sympathy for you, and I can here the desperation coming out through your posts. I myself (not an adoptive mom) have struggled with my own food issues since my son started eating solids.
I can see how very much you want the best for your lovely daughter. I truly pray for a resolution soon. I do want to point out that healthy food attitudes look different in for different people from the outside.
 

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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
I hear what you are saying and agree with a lot of it. But I'm going to assume that this mother knows the child well enough to know that there's something wrong here. That it's not just a matter of giving the child more to eat. And there could be a hundred things going on. Attachment issues are just a small piece of what can happen to a child who spends her first months in institutional care. And according to this child's measurements, she is tiny but apparently doesn't look that way in real life. My STBAD was about the same size at 19 months but she LOOKED tiny. Except for her round toddler tummy. Something is apparently different with THIS child.
I agree with you, that the mom does know that something is wrong. and I am very impressed and glad that she is reaching out for help. I can see how some bad advice from one pediatrician could set up a really bad cycle in her home.

Anna, what other support do you have IRL? do your partner or close friends have any suggestions?
 

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Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
I went to a "feeding team" of specialists at our local Children's Hospital. They were mostly unhelpful because they really only dealt with children who had problems eating enough or eating certain things. They had never encountered this problem and they don't have any experience with adoption either.
But the one pediatrician I saw there said that it looked "normal". I have had three other children, and none of them looked like this after a meal. Another DD (bio) was pretty chubby until she hit about 3 years old, but never like this, with the HUGE stomach. She was just all over toddler chubby.

She does have an umbilical hernia, and weak abdominal muscles. Since her stomach expands so much even with just water, I am wondering if it is just that her muscles are weak. I don't know if I should see a GI specialist or someone else about this. Her current pediatrician has really been no help.

I think if I didn't see her stomach getting so huge after a meal I would probably not been as concerned about how much she was eating, right from the beginning. I had never experienced this and thought it was an indication that she was eating too much. Especially since she seemed to be eating huge amounts and never stopped at any point.

In retrospect, alot of things combined to either cause her current issues or exacerbate them. The issue now is how to fix the issue.

Also, we are going to be in Disney for 10 days in a few weeks. If anyone has any ideas for high protein/fat snacks that are easy to travel with, I would appreciate it. I am not sure how smart it is right now to take this trip, but I can't cancel it on my other kids. Traveling with a food obsessed child is not something I really want to take on, but we're going to do it anyway. My main concern is that she will want to snack constantly in the stroller but I don't know what to give her that I can easily carry with us.

Thanks,

Anna
I just wanted to reach out and give you big hug. I'm so glad that you are getting help, and it really looks like you are turning over every stone.

I know how difficult it must be to see so many posts with advice.

First off... I just wanted to say that different body types can react differently to being full-- for example, my son's belly get's hard and round after eating-- even a four ounce bottle. He can still put away food like nobody's business. Also, I think thinner kids show changes in their belly more; my 90 pound friends complain about pants being tight after eating, but I never had that issue.

Secondly... I have some ideas about healthy high protein snacks. These are all veggie, so other's might have different ideas. High protien/fat is easier to come by in animal products, so that will probably open up your options. Also a post in nutrition and eating for suggestions on snacks would probably get a lot of responses.

Being a vegetarian, I've had good luck in explaining to the theme park people that we needed to bring in our own food due to dietary restrictions, but ymmv.

You could have a small cooler with the following:

*hard boiled eggs
*nuts, if you do nuts
*string cheese
*rice and lentils-- i know this sound odd, but it's our go-to sack lunch food for DS. We steam the rice and lentils (and spices and a bit of butter), and pack them in little Tupperware containers.
*premade sunbutter/peanut butter sandwiches
*milk, formula
*carrot sticks
*peas
*soy beans

We also do a lot of cut fruit for our son's snacks (it summer and all the yummy's are in season.) low(er) call option for those are watermelon, apple (high fiber), oranges.

If you can change your hotel to one with a kitchenette; it would really open up the food options for your DD (and your whole family.) If not, use every amenity they have-- request access to a microwave, and ask for things to be placed in the fridge in the kitchen. Hit the grocery store once you first get their, and load up on essentials for your daughter.

I've traveled a lot for work, and it's amazing what you can do with a mini fridge and helpful hotel staff.It's not the same, but we don't allow our son to eat processed food/food prepared outside at all, so we are constantly packing and bringing food *everywhere*. It's annoying at first, but it really becomes second nature. We just recently did a 6 day trip to new york/new jersey and it wasn't as bad as you might think.

If you need any help at all planning logistics, lmk.
 

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Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
In retrospect, alot of things combined to either cause her current issues or exacerbate them. The issue now is how to fix the issue.
I just wanted to say that I've read your previous posts/threads, and I totally agree that *something* is off besides just the food. But I think the first step is to make sure she's getting enough and then work from there.
 

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Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post
I am hoping to respond again,but we are going away for a few days and wanted to let you all know I won't be back for a while. I am taking the printout I made of all the responses because it has been so inspiring and helpful to hear everyone's opinions.
I will let everyone know how our vacation goes when we get back, but in the meantime I will tell you that my daughter has been VERY HAPPY this last week. Since I have increased her intake, she is MUCH HAPPIER, although she still has a long way to go because she still exhibits no control around food. But for now, I am thrilled that at least she is happy and more active.

I wanted to post the information I found out from my adoption agency, but it will have to wait until I get back.

Thank you all again,

Anna

have fun on your trip! It's so wonderful to hear that she is doing better with the increased intake. I hope that the success continues. I think that pp is right, she'll only learn control if allowed access to food. It is wonderful hear about your dd doing so much better.
 

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oh mama... I don't have any ideas just yet , but I couldn't read and not reply. i wonder why thing were so well over the vacation?

And shame shame on your doctor for not running the right tests. I would call and complain, and as for a refund.
 

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Oh anna, I hope that you do get answers somewhere.

I just want to say I don't think the percentile's are supposed to be used as a measure of underweight/overweight, since they just plot your child in what the average height is for a population.

Shouldn't they be looking at BMI or some equivilent to measure whether she is overweight or not?
 

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I'm so glad you finally got some answers!! I wish I had ideas for your lo; but we are veg. I just wanted to mention that there are tons of types of lentils-- different types are cooked and taste different in South Asian food. My son also eats egg whites, which should be high in protein.
 

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Anna, I just wanted to throw in my hat with pp who are saying that you are doing the absolute best for your child. I have been critical of you in the past, but it is so clear to me that you are a caring mother who desperately wants her child to live a full life. I think you just have to remember giving your child unlimited access to food is a therapy and it *will* pay off!

And I just wanted to say it is so difficult to have to choose one childs needs over another-- heartbreaking in fact-- but sometimes it just has to be done. Those posters asking why the entire family can't go gf should remember that there are other children who also have food related needs. It's a lot to expect from small children.
 

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Anna,

I'm sorry that this seems like it's not working... i just wanted to send out huge hugs. Is it possible (and I *know* what a pain in the butt this is), but to have it so she doesn't have to ask you for the food. I have a 19 month old now, and to do this would make me nutso since he would make such an colossal mess.

I just suggest this because it might give you a break from having to be so focused on how much she was eating.

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Originally Posted by ram3113 View Post

Thanks, pumpkingirl71. I'm getting tired of responding to the people who act like I'm not feeding her anything but rice puffs and wondering why she is still hungry.

Anna
 

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Originally Posted by MoonWillow View Post

Please release yourself from this guilt. I don't belong in the Adoptive forum so pardon my intrusion. I know there are many aspects to this that must be out of my realm of experience but coming from someone who hasn't had a real break in 7 years, I want one and I don't feel bad about it. It's not healthy to go and go and go with no reprieve, especially when you have had to be so intensely focused on the situation at hand. It doesn't benefit our families either when we let ourselves get to the burn out point. I often wish the MDC community was less widespread, so that we could provide each other with more tangible support.

You are obviously doing an amazing job. I think she will be ok while you take just even a little time for yourself to recharge.

hug2.gif
This is so true. I am a new sahm, and feeling the same feelings of guilt-- at around 5 every day, I don't even want to *look* at my kids anymore, much less care for them, and it also makes me very sad. I think you are working so hard, Anna!

You might consider looking at finding your tribe to see if there are some like-minded mom's that you can reach out to.
 
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