the food fight

Josephine cannot be described as a picky eater. She is not an eater at all. About six months ago I decided not to make food a battleground, and only gave her food I knew she'd eat. But about two weeks ago her narrow window of 'acceptable' foods shrank to an impossible few. I cannot even list what she'll eat now, its too unpredictable. The last few mornings I've had to beg, plead and threaten her to eat something, anything. Finally this morning I dangled all her binkies over the trash and told her I'd throw them away if she didn't eat something for breakfast.

People, she doesn't eat candy. Its easy for outsiders to see or hear this and brush it off, say something like "Well if she's hungry, she'll eat." SHE WON'T. I'm telling you, this kid doesn't eat, and its stressing me out to an unhealthy degree.

I really thought about it today, and the reason it affects me so deeply is because of the NICU experience. I have this feeling that if she doesn't eat she may die in the hospital. Because it took the kid 6 weeks to decide that taking any form of food in her mouth was something she could do.

If she'd been born even twenty years ago, she'd have died.
So what do I do? I think binkies may have to go away for good, but they are my only leverage at all to get the kid to eat (even Lucky Charms! Coco Puffs! Suckers!). She is hungry, but she just cries through it because for whatever reason, all food tastes terrible to her.

I hate trying to feed her in front of other people, because I get comments like, "Just give it to her, she'll eat it." I've started responding rather rudely, saying "Do YOU want to pick it up off the floor? Scrape it from the walls? Wipe it out from the inside of your bra?"

I'm so sick of this battle with her. She goes to bed hungry and there's nothing I can do about it. The doctor has no advice for me.


  1. Oh wow. This is hard, hard territory, Shelley. And it's always hard when people offer opinions in public when they have no idea what the larger picture is.

    i don't have any advice, although if it makes you feel better I once threatened to throw all of Dylan's Ninja turtles out of the second story window of our house. We were standing in front of the YWCA when I did that.

  2. Eep, that sounds really stressful. I have a sister-in-law with two boys in that same boat and I know it causes her serious anxiety about it. I hope it's something Josephine eventually grows out of, even just a little bit! Food is GOOD.

  3. I'm trying to remember who it was, but someone I know (?!?) has a kid that wouldn't eat.

    Ah, my sister! Her little one is about a year old. Tiny, petite, lousy eater. Turns out she was constipated. Started giving her miralax ( per drs insructions) and she eats like a champ now.

    Not necessarily what's up with jo, but it's something to look at...

    If she has food allergies that make her miserable, that could cause lousy eating, too.

  4. A real tough one, for sure. i live with a couple of people who are very skeptical of most foods. Will she drink? Maybe you can get more calories/nutrients in her that way. It's hard for me to get anything into Jack in the morning before school, but he will drink an instant breakfast.

  5. Might be worth trying another pediatrician or a specialist for another opinion. I know refusing to eat is a common behavior for kids with spectrum disorders. My friend Tracy's son will only eat English muffins with peanut butter. That's it. No other food, ever. And she's tried and tried and tried.

  6. She ate today at lunch! HUZZAH!

  7. I was - am - a VERY fussy, picky eater. Most things tasted too strong, too bitter, etc. A few years ago a friend of mine (a nurse) told me that she is the same way - and that some people are "super-tasters". For them, the way some foods taste is exaggerated. I am much much better now, and I don't believe my health was ever in serious danger. I would be a bit frantic, too, if this were my kiddo!
    I like Margy's suggestion - you can cram a lot of nutrients in to drinks, if she will take them. Heck, Laura sometimes lives on chocolate Boost. I'm going to think about this...