4Yr Old Wont Stop Throwing up His Food!!

Updated on November 19, 2007
T.M. asks from Cheyenne, WY
10 answers

Hi my name is T., and i have a 4 yr old boy who thinks eating is a game and it takes him like 2 1/2 hrs just to eat half of what is put in front of him.....the strange thing is that he says his stomach hurts and then makes himself throw up at almost every meal....he has been to the doctor and they said its nothing medical! any suggestions of how to get him to eat faster and stop making himself sick? i think he learned this behavior from a cousin.(can this be a learned behavior?) hes lost weight and me and the rest of his family are worried please someone help this is a seriuos situation......any suggestions will be helpful!
Than you

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answers from Sioux Falls on

My son learned to throw up his food too. What I did was I made him go to bed, no TV, no anything and made it as boring and unfun as possible, and that behavior went away pretty quickly. I told him, if he's not feeling well, this is how it goes. As for eating faster, all I can say is by the time he gets into to Kindergarten, he will either learn to eat faster, or go hungry. My son learned that quite quickly too. I hope that helps. Good Luck!

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answers from Lansing on

I'm sorry, this must be frustrating!! I recently read an article about food allergies, especially wheat or wheat gluten, he may be sensitive to this and trying to let you know. Also, its not that uncommon for some children to be natural vegetarians. Try giving him only organic foods too as he may be sensitive to preservatives or pesticides.
Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!
S. Ray



answers from Cedar Rapids on

First, if your son is loosing weight, call the doc again and if they won't do any testing or anything, find a new doc that will.

Second, here are some suggestions:

I know some people are going to gasp and cringe and even critize this response, but my son used to throw up when ever he felt like it. If he didn't want to eat something or if he didn't want to do something. He would MAKE himself throw up. (He was quite a bit older than 4 though) If he was doing it on purpose, he had to clean it up. It didn't take much of that to get him to stop doing it on purpose.

THEN....... he started throwing up again!! But NOT on purpose. He would eat supper and then either a few hours later or in the middle of the night he would throw up. It didn't happen after every meal, only supper and not all the time either, but after a few weeks/months of it happening I took him to the docs. the first time they checked him in the office and said he was fine and no reason for it. It kept happening and I called them AGAIN. He had to have an ultrasound of his gallbladder, liver and something else I think. Still nothing. We started watching him eat and it was because he wasn't chewing his food. We started making him slow down and chew his food and we haven't a problem since. He's now 12 and sometimes he will eat fast, but we warn him that if he doesn't slow down and chew his food, if he gets sick later we aren't going to help him.

I know your son takes a long time to eat, but maybe he isn't chewing his food very well. But I would call the docs again and if they still won't do any testing, find a different doc who will. I also wouldn't teach him to eat too quickly. I would say, give him his plate/food and if he isn't done eating when the rest of the family is done, there are two options (we do the 2nd at our house) #1 when everyone else is done eating clear the table, even his plate whether he is done or not and then nothing after that until the next meal. #2 (this is what we do) when the rest of the family is done, excuse yourself from the table, clear your plates and such, but leave him at the table by himself. We do this occasionally with my stepdaughter because she eats slow and (most of the time) talks WAY too much and doesn't eat at the table. The boys asked to be excused when they are done and we let them and when we are done we get up and if she has to finish her meal by herself, then she has to. That's her choice. Since we started doing that, she not always the last one at the table anymore. Sometimes, but that girl LOVES to talk!! LOL!!

I hope you find a solution!!



answers from Davenport on

I'm not sure if this is medical or behavioral. I think you need to follow your instincts. Get a second opinon if you need to. I would also keep a food journal. Record the date and time, what you feed him (list all the ingridents in the food), how much he eats, what and when he complains. This will help you see if there is a pattern. If it is a food allergy, you can spot it easier this way.



answers from Lansing on

If your Dr. says it isn't medical, I suggest you take him to a behavioral theapist.

I hope all works out for you.



answers from Milwaukee on

Make an appointment with a pediatric gastroligist. This specialist may run some tests to determine if your son may have an acid reflux problem, which can cause stomach aches or any other stomach problems. If his stomach is hurting, he may not want to eat. Also, some kids may be lactose intolerant (they have trouble digesting milk products) if this is the case, he will get stomach pains anytime he eats/drinks milk, cheese, ice cream, etc. In any case the specialist should be able to help you figure out what is going on.



answers from Green Bay on

Did you ever consider seeing a chiropractor? We have taken our daughter since she is born and have such wonderful results. I am a tru believer in them and it doesn't hurt to have another opinion. If you are interested in who let me know?



answers from Grand Rapids on

If you're sure he is healthy and nothing is wrong, STOP making an issue of what and how long he eats.
If he only eats half of what you give him, cut it back more, but be sure there are ONLY healthy things to snack(graze on)throughout the day that he may FREELY CHOOSE HIMSELF.
If he hasn't eaten what's on his plate at a meal in 20 minutes just remove it from the table. DON'T make a VERBAL issue of it for sure don't argue about it. Make sure he has only healthy grazing foods so he get's balance. Sounds like a POWER STRUGGLE or jealousy of the baby. The more you nag the more vomit you'll recieve. Without a reaction from you and others to eat, I'll lay money on it, it wil take care of itself. As a "good" mom it will be hard, but it will work if he truly is healthy. My grandson did the same thing when he cried if he didn't want to do or be where we put him. He'd make himself throw up to pay us back. When we ignored the problem and didn't fuss verbably he stopped. It's the old saying they'll take any attention weather it's positive or negative. Is he getting enough one on one attention? Are you giving him enough choices for his tempermant? Just some things to consider.



answers from Milwaukee on

Don't expect him to eat. Put it in front of him, make it clear that there's just this time (20 or 30 minutes) to eat dinner, or lunch, and if it's not eaten, he has to wait for the next meal. He'll not starve to death missing dinner a few times, and will learn. Then, when he starts whining and crying at 9 at night, saying he's starving, sit with him and be very sympathetic. Tell him you know he must be very hungry, but it's only 10 more hours to breakfast, and you know he'll make a better choice next time. Don't lecture him. It's his choice not to eat, and at 4 years old he's playing mind games with you. This is a control struggle. Don't give in. Just present food, clear it away, let him wait to the next meal. Be sympathetic, not angry, but do NOT give in and give him food. When you tell him you know he'll make better choices next time, that'll sink in. And please take a Parenting with Love and Logic course if you can find one in your area.



answers from Jackson on

It's possible that he is being overwhelmed by the amount of food put in front of him. Try only serving him one thing at a time.

Find a different Dr. If your child is complaining of stomach aches and vomiting, there may indeed be something wrong. You may need to go to a GI specialist.

See an allergist. We didn't know that our now 5yr old was allergic to Cinnamon (yeah weird right?) We fed him Cinnamon toast, Cinnamon Cereal, etc He kept complaining of a stomach ache...turns out Cinnamon causes ulcers in the GI Tract if you are allergic to it.

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