Selective Eating Disorder - Maple Shade,NJ

Updated on June 28, 2010
S.M. asks from Berlin, NJ
12 answers

My 4 year old daughter has not eaten on a regular basis for 7months. It started out as weaning herself from the many foods she once loved down to icecream. She would eat icecream every chance she could get. My husband and I thought it could be her tonsils, we went to an ENT, he recommended that we have them taken out. It has been about a week since we had them taken out and now she wont eat anything. I understand that her throat is probably sore and she is not ready for solids yet, but not even a lick of icecream!!! I ask her to eat and she is not interested. Offered ice pops, popsicles, yougert pudding you name it. she weights 32 pounds and loosing every day. Her body is that of an anorexic bones for legs and arms, her ribs stick out, her spine can be seen. She slumps herself around the house with no enegry. Called peditrician several times, seen by them several times they are not concerned.

Please help I know that I was trying to help her with her tonsils, but I am afraid that we have turned a corner that we can no longer go back. I am in need of help or suggestions....Please anyone out there with this issue or answers.

Oh and

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So What Happened?

HI everyone..just wanated to update you and thank you for all you care, concern and suggestions. I schduled an appt. for my daughter a Chop Feeding...could not get her scheduled until mid July...two weeks after her tonsil surgery my mother was over our house eating a tastykake...she showed my daughter how she eats it and she took very tiny has been three weeks now post surgery and she is finally eating a healthy diet..we still have to go day by day..but she has gained weight and is my happy daughter again!!! Many thanks!!

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answers from Honolulu on

It seems.... there was no need to take out her tonsils?

Now the Doctor has basically disengaged from helping you. But your daughter's physical condition is worsening... and she is all bones, as you said. I think it is negligent of the Doctor to say that they are not concerned. This has gone on for 7 months not eating well... and you say she is whittling away... getting emaciated it seems and now for the past week... not even ice cream. And she "slumps" around with no energy.
....which is probably because she is malnourished and dehydrated.

What did the ENT say or the Surgeon???? I would call them... besides the Pediatrician.

Make sure she is not dehydrated or she could end up in the hospital with IV's.

How about giving her smoothies? Will she drink anything?

I would, document everything... because if something is wrong with your daughter and she gets worse, you will have to elaborate everything to the Doctor and if need be, ask why her medical condition was not addressed?
I never heard of removing tonsils because a child does not eat regularly...

You need to take her to the ER.... now. NOW.

She CANNOT just go on like this, without eating or drinking.
What if others accuse you of 'negligence?" I know, its not. Thus, DOCUMENT what the Doctor(s) say and take her to the ER now.

all the best,

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answers from Killeen on

You need to go to a new pediatrician. There is definitely something wrong.
Will she drink? Get her some boost, pedisure, anything....

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answers from Las Vegas on

I would try another doc. Look for a nutritionist. You can also go thru early intervention in your state. It has a different name for kids over 3 but your ped or the local health dept should be able to get you the info. They have specialists who deal with eating problems. There is no charge to you and they'll come to your home or go to your child's school if that's what works for you. My son was in the program 18 months and our specialists would come at 7:00am because that's the time that worked for us. I'd really go to a different doctor. There could be something else going on. My son's eating problems started when he had major issues going on with his ears. He didn't do any of the things that you normally look for with ear infections so we had no clue. He ended up with hearing loss because we didn't know what was going on. There can be lots of reasons kids start refusing food. Usually an eating disorder doesn't show up that early but it's possible. I used to go to group meetings for people with eating disorders and a girl who was 8 came in so it is possible but still really unlikely. No matter what it is you need to keep investigating. There is a reason for it and the sooner you can get on top of it the better. I really wish I'd started getting pushy with our doc much sooner. My son is 3 now and still has pretty poor eating habits but he is at normal weight and he takes a multi every day. He was only eating 3 foods when we started in the EI program and now he's probably got 15 or 20 things he'll eat. He still goes days without eating sometimes. I don't make a big deal out of food and never make him eat anything he doesn't want. See another doc who is supportive and will further investigate your daughter's problem.

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answers from New York on

She has not eaten in a week? Has she had anything to drink? I am very concerned that she may be dehydrated! Is she urinating enough? I recommend that you take her to the ER so that she could get some fluid replacement. Slumping around the house with no energy, she sounds lethargic? these can be signs of dehydration. This sounds serious.

Take her to the ER NOW!!!

Change Pediatricians ASAP and make sure you document the events that have occured in the past weeks.

Let us know how she is doing

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I would take her to the ER so they can put her on a fluid drip. There is obviously something more going on here.

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answers from La Crosse on

Change Drs and get pushy with them!! They think since they have the degree they know more that parents do and well we all know that is not always the case! Right now your daughter needs you to fight for her and don't back down until they figure out what is wrong!!

When my DS #2 was a couple months old I asked the dr about his eyes crossing and they told me nothing was wrong... took him in a few times for it and kept getting the same thing... one time I took him to the only Dr open for an ear infection and they asked me about his eyes. Long story short they directed me in the right direction and after seeing a specialist at Mayo they told me if I would have gotten him in sooner there could have been a chance to save his eye sight... now he is completly blind in his one eye at 9 yrs old. I will never know now if things could have been different but at the same time I feel really guilty about not fighting harder for him when I knew something was wrong and it changed his life permently.

So please change Drs and fight for her!! Do NOT back down until you get to the bottom of this for her sake!!

Good luck to all of you!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Hi, try a child psychologist. Also, try another dr- either another Ped or family dr. I had to take my three month old baby to my old family dr because the supposedly very good and young pediatrician wasn't really cutting it. (To pt it mildly.he missed a life threatening milk protein allergy in newborn!!! Evethough there was a family history of it!) From my experience family opracticianers look more holistically at the situation. Also ask her why she's not eating, anything hurt after eating? Try a GI dr. And allergist. Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

Please take her to the ER, she needs nutrition asap! don't wait, her surgey must have caused her so much discomfort that she may have trouble swallowing food, drinks etc. Please take her to the pediatrician but first take her to the ER since this weekend is a long weekend. also try to give her chicken soup so she can get some fluids in her.
Keep us posted, this sounds very serious.



answers from Philadelphia on

My husband recently had his tonsils out and it was at least a week - actually closer to 10 days or so - before he ate anything besides some sips of water or some other liquid.
However, given everything you described, I would get her seen by someone and MAKE them hear you. Follow your instincts. You know your daughter best.
Best of luck,



answers from Houston on


I am the original poster to this link. I totally understand your frustrations. My son is now 9 and we still struggle a lot! We have looked into several things. He went to a psychologist for awhile. I think maybe my son was too young for that at the time, but her advise was very helpful to my husband and I in how to deal with the eating issues. We also had him evaluated to see if maybe he was Autistic, which he isn't. We finally fired our pediatrician and found a new one that really listens and has gone above and beyond to find us help. Currently my son sees and Occupational Therapist once a week. He has sensory issues with the sight of food and some textures, and also with touching some foods (which we didn't realize until he started therapy) He has been in OT for about 3 months now. It is an extremely slow process but I do see progress. My son is so excited to be overcoming this. He really hates being like this and is trying so hard. Like I said, it's a very slow process but it seems to be working. Maybe you could get your daughter evaluated by and Occupational therapist. Good luck. I really do know how frustrating this is and what a lonely place it is because so many people just don't undertand it.



answers from Allentown on

Well, if it truly was her tonsils that were causing her to not eat, then taking them out was the right thing to do. And you can't expect to have her eating normally after just a week. Many people go up to two weeks before eating after tonsillectomy. But, and a big but, they NEED to be drinking fluid! If she is drinking and peeing enough then there really is not a lot a Dr. can do to hurry the healing process and after another week she should begin to eat but expect it to be slow going since she had such a limited diet before, maybe just ice cream and ice pops. It couldn't hurt to get some help from a feeding specialist or early intervention. If this is truly all from a real problem with tonsils it sounds like it could all be normal as long as she is drinking enough and not getting dehydrated. If she is not drinking you need to take her back to the Dr. or better yet the ER. If you truly feel this is not a problem related to tonsils then you should take her to a different Dr. asap, so they can figure out what is truly going on. At 4 years old, an eating disorder is not the cause of not eating. There is some physical problem, unless a child is witnessing a parent or sibling with an eating disorder and mimicking the behavior which can happen. But if there is no one with an eating disorder, then there is something going on with her. If it truly is the tonsils, give it time and get some additional help if you think it will make you all feel better, but if you truly believe this was not from tonsils, please get her checked out by someone else. Children just don't stop eating for no reason. So there is some reason she did this, and if it was not tonsils there is another reason. And just an FYI, 32 lbs is not really excessively low for a 4 yo, my 5 yo weighs around 34 lbs and she is well within normal, and my 2 yo weighs almost 32 lbs and he is always in the 90 some percentile he is just big and my 5 yo is just on the smaller side. So this could be why the Dr. is not so concerned, but if you are concerned, and the Dr. doesn't do anything, you can change Dr.s or get help from EI or a speech and feeding specialist. I hope she feels better soon!



answers from Erie on

I am wondering what SHE says about not eating - does she say it hurts or does she say she is not hungry?
I would definitely get a new Dr. ASAP and if she is not drinking/ urinating, get her to the hospital as others have already said!

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