Why Won’t My Child Eat?

I’m starting with an exasperated sigh. For the fourth night in a row the dinner table has become a battle ground; Charlie on one side and me & my husband on the other and I fear we are on the losing side.

I don’t quite know where to start or what to say but mealtimes with my six year old have become frustrating, frightening and left me wondering what the hell I can do.

Charlie has always been a somewhat fussy eater. Although over the last few months I’ve really noticed they started to get better and seen a great improvement in his eating, but over the last few weeks this is rapidly declined and become a nightmare. He has started gagging, coughing, screaming and claiming is going to be sick when is eating his meal at teatime. He becomes hysterical and cannot be calmed down at all. He seems to be gagging and retching at the smallest tiniest bits of food days previously eaten with no problems whatsoever. I’m at a complete and utter loss what to do we have tried everything; with tried letting him choose what he wants to eat, we have tried tough love by telling him he’s got to eat everything on his plate and we have a even told him that he doesn’t have to eat anything he doesn’t want to eat but all of this just seems to fall on deaf ears. When he becomes involved in one of these episodes and is Coughing like mad and we are telling him to take the food out and spit it out but he just becomes incoherent and just starts screaming and won’t listen to anything you’re saying. I’m really don’t know what to do as when he’s snacking and eating breakfast he’s absolutely fine. But it all comes to a head for the evening meal and we are all sat round the table together the girls look on absolutely bewildered as he becomes hysterical for no apparent reason.

Is anybody else experienced anything like this? I am thinking the only option we really have is to go and take into the doctors to see if they can get any further insight and hope that it’s nothing more serious than him just not wanting to eat what I’ve cooked.

Please can anyone offer any advice?
B xx

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12 Comments

  1. 29th January 2015 / 6:35 pm

    Oh dear, you poor things all of you. Sounds really stressful and I’m following with interest as I can see Wonderboy going this way when he’s older. He just isn’t interested in food at all and never has been – wasn’t interested in milk as a baby and has never been interested in solid food either. Hasn’t changed in 3 years and I’m thinking it might just be the way he’s built. He’s surviving on very little just now as he keeps saying he’s full after a few mouthfuls but I’m putting this down to being full of the cold and I think his tummy is full of gunk!

    Hope someone has some good advice for you xx

  2. 29th January 2015 / 6:36 pm

    I wish I had some advice for you Beth. O is not a great eater, he’s really fussy and won’t try anything new. He’d happily live on crisps and ginger nuts if we let him. It really worries me too!
    Hope someone can give you some better advice, but it may be worth a trip to the docs, if only to put your mind at ease. Good luck lovely xx

  3. 29th January 2015 / 7:39 pm

    How awful for you all, especially Charlie. I would take him to the Docs but try not to make a big deal of it to him. Just explain that the doctor might be able to help. Hopefully you’ll be able to get some proper advice or referred to a dietician or something that could help. I really hope it improves xx

  4. 30th January 2015 / 9:43 am

    So sorry lovely. I think going to the dr might be a good idea. My nephew makes himself sick at meals and it’s quite upsetting for him but they have no idea why he does it. I’m sure it isn’t a reflection on your food.

    Does he eat other places like school at all that might have changed his habits? x

  5. 30th January 2015 / 10:01 am

    This sounds very stressful. When he is calmer and relaxed at other times of the day, have you asked him why he feels like this? My daughter is an incredibly fussy eater and while not so extreme as your son, we have had some almighty battles. I talk to her about it when we’re as far removed from the situation as possible so there’s no tension at all. Also, do you know how he gets on at school? It might be worth asking, if you haven’t already?
    Maybe he finds sitting down together at the table too much-sometimes things affect them and to u they appear ‘small’ but are huge for the children and can affect them a lot.
    I’m not sure this is any use, but good luck.

  6. 30th January 2015 / 10:18 am

    Oh dear….It’s horrible isn’t it.
    When my eldest was about the same age we went through the same…She would get herself in such a state and gag too. I went to the doctors and they referred us to an eating specialist who came out one tea time to observe Becky eating. She of course ate everything perfectly. They said there was nothing they could do and it was just a phase. They said take her out to eat, eat at other peoples houses, instead of sitting at the table sit on the floor (a change of scene might work) and if she didn’t want to eat we shouldn’t make an issue out of it. We were to give her a set time to eat her food. If she didn’t it was taken away….That only happened a few times and like the eating specialist said missing a few meals won’t kill her (She was always given supper later on though) She eventually grew out of it and now she eats nearly everything put in front of her straight away…
    Good luck x

  7. 30th January 2015 / 1:07 pm

    Oh no, this sounds so upsetting for all of you. I think going to the Drs may well help. It’s funny he eats at other times, though, isn’t it? have you tried giving him his dinner just in front of the TV or something, not around the table? Maybe it’s in his head now that that’s when he’ll struggle? I do hope you can find something to help soon xx Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  8. 30th January 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Hi hun,
    I feel your pain, we are going through eating issues with our three year old, but I did read some excellent advice, probably on another blog, so I will share what has been helping us, but you do what you think best.
    This is what we do:
    1. We give him food that we think he will like, but with a little bit of our dinner, on the side, in the hopes that he will eventually try it.
    2. We don’t pressure or comment on his eating at all.
    3. If he is finished, let him get down from the table, but we leave dinner there for him to come back to if he wishes, sometimes we move it on the coffee table, and he often eats small bits later on.
    4. We also offer a healthy dessert with every meal, whether he eats his dinner or not, as dessert should not be seen as a prize for eating the “boring or the bad dinner”. By offering a healthy dessert you have another opportunity of getting nutrients into them.

    My son also eats very well at breakfast and lunch, and both are healthy so I have been telling myself that 2 out of 3 meals isn’t bad, so if he only has a mouthful at dinner time, he has still eaten a lot of food throughout the day.

    Hope that helps hun,
    Kat x

  9. 30th January 2015 / 5:42 pm

    Oh goodness me that’s just so awful,I think you should definitely take him to the doctors and see what advice/help they can offer you! I really hope you get it sorted soon hon and that it’s nothing to serious!xx

  10. 1st February 2015 / 9:21 am

    My son is a fuzzy eater too. I would sometimes cry with my son as I am so worried that he is not getting enough nutrients from being a fuzzy eater. I even attended a session for fuzzy eaters with him and its a great help but my son stayed the same. What I learned from that program is that children will eat when they are hungry and they dont need a lot to fill their tummies. It helped a bit to know that but I still worry. My son is in school now still fuzzy about food. Hopefully one day both our problems would be sorted. #wotw

  11. 1st February 2015 / 8:26 pm

    Oh no lovely, how stressful for all of you. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice but it sounds like Kim Carberry and Katrina Chambers have been through something similar. I think it would be wise to try what they have first and if that doesn’t work then maybe go to the doctors but I would make that a last resort because making a bg think of it may make it worse. Good luck x

  12. Emma Gallagher
    21st February 2015 / 8:07 pm

    I have been going thru this the last 3 years. I have a 5 year old boy who weighed 9.9lb when he was born and ate everything! When he was 2 he then got a sickness bug and after getting worse and worse was admitted to hospital with dehydration they put a syringe in his mouth every 10 mins and gave him a tiny amount of liquid this went on for a few days until he was recovered. The upshot was he then wouldnt eat anything he used to eat, understandably he was scared and only ate yoghurt and soft foods. We got referred to a food clinic who were brilliant and some progress was made. Then almost a year to the day from the bug (he was now aged 3) he woke up one night with croup, he was struggling to breath I rang an ambulance and straight to hospital he went they administered a steroid which again involved putting a tube in his mouth, he recovered from the croup but we were back to square one again with the eating. He is now Age 5 and really only eats diary, fruit, cereal, cheese sandwiches. At a push he will eat Spag Bol and more recently he tried to eat a sausage this was a huge break thru. When I went to the food clinic I told them about the famous fish finger stand off of 2013 where we both sat at a table for 5 hours straight! The food clinic asked me why I would put myself thru that and I replied because Im his Mum and its my job to get him to eat something more! They told me not to try that again as it was pointless and just caused more stress although I do regular try for 1-2 hours sometimes even 3 to get him to try something new. One comment I received regularly from family/friends was “well if you starve a child they will eat eventually” I disagree with this mainly because like everything we tried this tactic too but my son ended up refusing to eat both lunch and dinner and when told there was nothing else available was starving but happy to wait around til Breakfast the next morning, this went on for 3 days with him only eating breakfast in the end the food clinic advised me this was not the way forward as his stomach was infact shrinking!! They advised me to let him eat what he liked and try and build on that with similar things ie if he ate cheddar, try and get him to eat another type of cheese or a different flavour yoghurt. I found this worked well and I also found that challenging him worked too so You can’t eat one spoon of peas can you? No I don’t believe it. I wish you all the luck in the world, its soul destroying to have a child refuse to eat.