K.J. asks from Springfield, MO on July 22, 2009
Not Eatting I'm Beyond Stressed
Alright this isn't too odd but my reactions is more than a little unsettling to me. My 13 m/o won't eat unless he is starving...I mean jagged crying, hand to mouth, temper the works. He'll munch on fruit if I set it in front of him before hand but other than that he is getting most of his body weight from milk! I've cut back to 5 bottles a day because I can't stand to see my baby starve! I know its normal for kids to be pickey and when they wanna eat they will. Got it. My problem is I also have a daughter who my mother is raising (in the home in which I live) because I was 19 when I had her. I had stress problems...I yelled alot! I still do.
I know mostly it is due to environmental factors and how I was raised but its difficult having a child who won't eat. Already being stressed. I flip out. After like the 20th time I try to get food in his mouth and he has either A. Spit it out on me. B. Thrown it at me. Or C. Starts screaming at the top of his lungs. I start to yell!
I'm really worried because I had DFS involved with my daughter because I yelled (so they assumed I hit her, though they never found any marks on her) I've been through stress management, and am on Prozac for depression and anxiety. I can't handle losing my baby. I've bonded with him stronger than I ever could with my daughter and I don't want to have something like my temper ruin it.
HELP. How do I get my kid to eat? HELP. How do I stop yelling. (Taking a break isn't always avaliable, and deep breathing does not work) HELP. I can't stand parenting classes. Been there done that. HELP. I'm just fed up!
I know I sound like I've shot down anything you could offer as a tip but I need it...and yes I am aware I should not yell at a baby. Please, don't criticize. I know we are all parents and anger gets the best of all of us.
Thank you. Sorry for the long rant!
So What Happened?™
Wow, well I'm not too sure how this part works I would reply to everyone individualy but that would take me hours. So, I shall adress the main points here.
The thing that really gets me is he was eating more than I ate about a couple of months ago (on top of the bottles) and cleaning my plate afterward. He was an adventurous eater and loved steak! Yumm! But it all just stopped!
Exercise? I wish other than a walk around the block everyday there is no room!!!!
No I can't move at the time I'm looking for a job and I really don't want to leave because then I can't be a daily part of my daughters life (my mother and me have a very strained relationship)
I do not believe in God I used to but I've realized that there is another path...and more importantly they all intertwine. Everyone has 'GOD' it all depends on the form you put him/her/it in.
He won't even munch anymore...the doctors said hes healthy. And left it at that.
Stress. Woah. Thanks, I mean the ideas helped alot (well kinda I shaln't lie) I know there are better ways to manage my anger. And I shall start exercising them.
Depression- Yes I am bi-polar. And I also have Borderline Personality Disorder. I've considered talking to my doctor for awhile but I don't want to go into the office (I will hear something along the lines of 'CANCER' I don't want to hear!)
I LET HIM RULE THE ROOST! It is the biggest mistake I've made...ever since he was born. Most likely my guilt in the lack of raising my daughter.
I do not enjoy the DFS because I am an individual and they offer generalized information. And do not agree with alternatives to parenting styles. I was in programs involved with them and forced on me by them for over 2 years. No...not again.
Sleeping good, toss and turn alot but eh. Eating well...does coffee constitute as breakfast? And dinner as a meal? Yeah I know eat and I'll feel better.
I would like to keep hearing from all of you and will try when I have more than a few minutes to respond to everyone individually. Thank you once again.
*****NEWER WELL NEWER THAN DINNER TIME!*****
Fishstick who knew? Tatertots yeah...but fishsticks! Dinner worked...for once I sat down ate dinner with him WITHOUT saying a word. Just goes to show yes they will eat when hungry. And I need to stock up on fishsticks. Funny Chicken was his 'food' last month. This month its fishsticks. I really hope that he grows out of this picky/ not eating at all food stage.
HES EATTING NOW!!! i JUST SIT BACK AND LET HIM GO FOR IT, YOUR RIGHT HE DOES EAT WHEN HE'S HUNGRY! SUCCESS. LOTS OF LOVE MOMMAS!
J.T. answers from St. Louis on July 23, 2009
~~~~~ NO JUDGEMENT HERE! ~~~~~
I was 19 when I had my daughter (19 yrs. ago), I lived at home and I didn't get along w/my mother. I also suffered from depression (still do) but it was undiagnosed at the time. So I understand your frustration. First, you need to see a therapist along with a psychiatrist. Reason? The psychiatrist can write scripts & get info about your progress from both you and your therapist. Also, you need to talk to someone about what you are going through. Your meds aren't enough right now. I am going by what you are describing. While you might feel better than before, you aren't there yet. Remember, your mental health will determine your parenting.
Oh, I DO understand that you know yelling at her is wrong but that you can't control it. I really understand the lack of control part. I'm ADHD & understant the lack of impulse control. So, I am not judging you, I promise!
Ok, the eating problems. Your daughter is picking up on your frustration and is getting frustrated too. Being upset & angry only makes it harder for her to calm down to eat. If she wants a bottle...let her. She needs the nutrition. So, instead of paring down the # of bottles, increase the amount of bottles given. The more hungry she is, the harder it is to calm down enough to eat. So give her as many bottles as she wants & offer snacks of healthy food before or during a bottle. Make the desicion to not get angry re her eating. (I know, easier said than done.) Just decide that you can do it for one hour. Bite you tongue if you have to. Offer her bottle & whatever else she will eat for a while. If she doesn't eat, tell yourself "that's ok, we'll try later". Tyr to feed her away from the table for a while. She might associate the table with punnishment & not want to eat there. You will start to see improvement, I promise. If not, call her Dr. & explain EVERYTHING that is going on. Ask him for help with your daughter's eating. Also, DCFS may have some good parenting & anger management courses. Ask. They will be happy that you are trying to get help.
Remember, you are doing this for your daughter's health & well being. Her mental health is part of that.
*IMPORTANT If you get to the point where you just can't handle it and you are too upset to care for her, ADMIT it to yourself. It is what it is. You daughter is the most important thing right now. So if you are honest with yourself & realise you can't do it right now, call DCFS & be honest with them. Being a GREAT parent is making sure your daughter is in great care. If you can't give that care, making sure she gets it is a loving decision to make. Seriously, if you can't do it w/o yelling at her all the time, some time off from parenting could give you the time to get the help & medication you need to be a better parent later on. I am not saying you are at that point now, but think about that in case it does get to that point.
Also, you need to take care of YOU. You need to eat well, eat three meals w/snacks in between. Your blood sugar needs to be regulated to help with your moods. Get enough sleep! Try to go to bed the same time each night. Depression is worse when you don't get enough sleep. Get exercise! Again, it can help your depression. It won't make your depression go away, but it can help a little bit. Go for a quick stroll w/your daughter. Lay out your clothes (& your daughter's) including shoes the night before for your walk. Pack your diaper bag & put it in your stroller. Then the next morning, you have everything ready for your walk! Getting out of the house helps! It also is good for your daughter. If she is in a better mood, so are you!
You are AWESOME for asking for help. That shows you CARE! I am praying for you and hope you the best. Again, asking for help is not giving in. It is being a parent.
Please, please, please get the help you need and DESERVE. You deserve it, your daughter deserves it. You both are WORTH it!
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K.E. answers from St. Louis on July 23, 2009
Hi I wanted to say that I completely and totally understand!!!
I had my son when I just turned 20 and it is hard ....Its still hard (hubby is not very helpful but anyways)
I have found that having a destructive outlet helps
I bought a punching bag and hung it up outside the back door and every time my son or husband gets me to were I want to scream or hit I go out the back do and wail on that bag.
You can normally find them cheap at places like ebay.
Do still yell sometimes ( Not at the top my lungs but kind of under my breath, still not good but I am also working on it.) I also started to extreme sports and Tae Kwon Do to give me a adrenalin rush and it gives me another way to take out my frustration. I hope this helps, I feel for you! Also to help get your son to eat get the cookbook called deceptively delicious…its by Jessica Seinfeld I kind of had to take to using it on both my husband and son neither one would ever eat anything I would stick in front of them so I resorted to this.
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D.S. answers from Kansas City on July 23, 2009
I have a 19-month-old with many of the same issues (plus I'm on Pristiq to help deal with depression/anxiety/losing control). We struggled with his refusal to eat, causing much tension in our house. The wasted time, food and money, plus a gigantic mess as he throws food, coupled with worry that he wasn't getting any nutrients was really getting to us. I know they say kids will eat, but it seemed he never did!
Yesterday we had an appointment with a nutritionist at Children's Mercy Hospital. She reviewed his food choices and schedule and made some modifications to help him be hungry and interested in food. One of the big ones is cutting back his milk. I agree with the poster that says 5 bottles a day is too much (unless they are small bottles). Today is the first morning we are not offering a wake-up drink. He has to be served breakfast first, then only 4 oz. of milk/soymilk, while still seated. No more strolling around with milk. Once he is out of his seat, only water is offered. She mentioned it's a lot easier to drink than eat (plus they get back to play faster) so of course he'd rather have things in a sippy cup all day.
The rest of his day allows just 12 more oz. of milk/soymilk, always offered in 4 oz. cups in the high chair after a snack or meal. I really hope this works! But she did say it would take a few weeks for him to get used to it and over the ease of drinking so much.
Also, all of his meals and snacks must be in the high chair. This sets the expectation that food is now and doesn't let him slowly top off all day with something. Once a meal is over, nothing else until the next meal/snack time.
As I write this, he is feeding his waffle, peach and apple to the dog. So much for eating breakfast! But in time, maybe some will make it into his mouth, too.
I encourage you to take advantage of the services at CMH (if you are in the KC area). Although we presented our insurance card and there is a co-pay, we weren't charged anything yet (but a bill could still come!). Our Parents as Teachers person was a help with more information as well.
I admire your desire to do the best for your kids and commitment to being a good mom to them even when times are tough. I hope you get some chances to relax and regroup. It's hard, I know. Mommy meltdowns used to happen frequently at my house! One thing that has really helped me is the advice from another mom: It's all just a phase. No matter what they are doing, it's a phase and it will pass! After all, that way they can annoy us with something else!
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R.M. answers from Topeka on July 23, 2009
K....you are fighting a battle that you are NOT going to win. You can't force your little one to eat if he doesnt want to....and you might end up making food an issue for the rest of his life.
I would start trying to cut down on the bottles...I think that 5 bottles for a child his age is too big a percentage of his calories coming from a bottle. Start introducing sippy cups...or straws...whatever intrigues him.
At meal time...offer him the food...if he doesnt eat it..he doesnt eat it. If he starts acting like he is hungry before the next meal just put some finger foods out for him and let him eat what he wants.
And I agree with what one of the other Mamas said....BEFORE you sit down to eat...remind yourself that there may be issues come up and tell yourself that you are going to remain calm...keep a smile on your face and handle it in a positive way!! ( I know I know, easier said than done!!!) But you are teaching your children by example...you don't want them to grow up with anger issues, so start controlling your anger now and when it gets to be too much...put him in a stroller and go for a brisk walk around the block or take him to the park to swing...something to get rid of your anger in a positive way!!! Hang in there..you can do it!!
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C.P. answers from Columbia on July 23, 2009
I'm sorry to hear that you are so stressed! It's hard being a single mom...I know all too well.
First: Your child will NOT starve to death. So breathe...if he doesn't eat this time, he'll eat next time.
Second: Schedule. Make sure he is in his highchair at meal and snack time.
Third: Be there...but not for his gratification. Don't try to control the whole situation. Don't coax him to eat or get mad if he doesn't. Let him pick. Put a variety of foods in front of him...finger foods, applesauce in a bowl with a spoon (let him try to use it), veggies, things you know he likes...and even things you think he won't (he might surprise you!). Even if he tosses it all on the floor and flips out, just let it go. He is looking for your reaction. Don't give it to him. Pull up a chair at the table and model proper eating behavior right in front of him. When he throws a fit or refuses to eat, don't react...just keep eating. Let him sit in the chair until you are finished. Comments about how tasty the food is or general conversation about baby stuff will completely throw him off his game.
Finally: Start the transition from bottle to a cup. It sounds like he is getting all he needs from his bottle...so he really has no motivation to eat anything else. Even though this might not be enough nutrients, he is full of milk (drink a glass of milk 5 times a day and see if you are hungry!). Other than maybe a nap bottle and before bedtime bottle, I'd put all other drinks in a cup. Put that on his tray during his meal and snack times only. Water only during non-meal times. If you are giving him juice or milk whenever he asks for it, and then expecting him to eat at mealtime you are setting him up not to be hungry.
I know it's so hard to keep your cool when he is not behaving as you like...but remember: Yelling will not get the results you want. Consider what you are teaching him about handing conflict and stress each time you yell at him. Is this how you want him to treat you when he is bigger? Or his peers? Or...one day...his own children?
Try to think of innovative ways to deal with this situation by getting to the bottom of his behavior. What is causing it? What is the psychology behind it? Is he getting a payoff (your attention? foods or treats that he would not normally get, but gets because he refuses to eat what you give him?)? Consider these things. Sit down with your mom or a friend and brainstorm it out if you have to. Make a list of causes and how you can fix the problem.
Everything our kids do is the effect of something they have been exposed to. If he's throwing a fit...well, mom...it sounds like he's had a role model teaching him to do that... :o)
Find the cause, change it...and you will stop the effects.
You seem like a smart, well-spoken young lady. I'm certain you can handle this.
Good luck. All the Mamas are here for you if you need more support.
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C.M. answers from St. Louis on July 23, 2009
My first suggestion would be to get your son off the bottle. Give him only a sippie cup 1x a day (replacing one bottle of milk). Slowly increase the sippie cups and decrease the bottles.
Second, I would offer him food when it's meal time / snack time but if he's not eating, there is not much you can do about it. Maybe he's full (are you giving him a bottle first?) If so, don't offer it until after you've offered food. But then again, he may be teething, so eating may be painful.
As far as yelling, we all do it. Even though we shouldn't (I mean they are kids/babies and aren't doing this to make us mad, right?)....but it's normal. I know you said taking a breather/time out isn't awlays possibile, but it is. Go to the bathroom for 1 minute. Breath deep and remember how much you love him!!
You are doing fine!! Keep up the good work.
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T.M. answers from St. Louis on July 23, 2009
K.. They have mood stablizers out that could go along with your prozac that your doctor could give you. They could help you tremendously. Ask your doctor about them. You will be able to help your child better by having more patience once you help yourself first! I wish you much luck!
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A.C. answers from Topeka on July 23, 2009
Hang in there Mama. I have a couple of suggestions. The first is address your stess. I tried Prozac years ago and it made me worse. If you are feeling that much stress and irritation then it means the Prozac is not the right solution. I am not a doctor but I would reccomend trying Wellbutrin paired with Celexa. This combination keeps me feeling peaceful and serene. It doesn't make you sleepy or anything it just evens everything out.
The other thing is that I think your little one wants to feed himself. Mine did the same thing. Try finger foods and also some kid spoons and dippers. Show him how to use the dippers in yogurt and he will catch on very quickly. He can also dip celery in peanut butter or apple slices and carrots in ranch dressing. He will be messy but much happier. Just keep a big box of wet wipes in the kitchen and try to let go a little. You are going to be fine, but take action right away and see your doctor to change your meds before you lose control.
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