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My 6 year old has stopped eating

Elma April 26, 2023 21:24

Does anyone have any experience of a sudden change in eating habits? My 6 year old has stopped eating any solid food for the last month. We think it is a sensory reaction to losing her tooth, but aren’t getting very far with getting any support. School are being slow. Post adoption services will see us next week.

Elma January 9, 2024 19:36

I posted on this subject in April last year. We are still having huge problems with my daughter’s eating. She has stopped eating solids again and is losing weight rapidly. If anyone knows of any professionals who work with adopted children with eating disorders I would love to have their details.

Simon January 14, 2024 17:08

This book by CoramBaaf is excellent:

"Parenting Matters: Parenting a child with eating and food issues" £10.95 (also available as an e-book).

Eating and food issues can be common in children – but for those who are looked after and adopted, these problems can last a lot longer or reoccur at later ages, affecting family life and meaning that children are less able to benefit from supportive care. For this group, everyday techniques to help children with eating issues may not be enough, as they do not address the underlying causes – these children’s difficult early experiences. This new title in the Parenting Matters series provides authoritative, clinical guidance for carers and adopters on why eating issues can occur and what can be done about them. In straightforward language, it explains how children’s difficult early experiences can affect their behaviour; the various possible causes; how to understand what the child is experiencing and why, and how using therapeutic techniques along with practical changes can help find a solution. In the second half of the book, two adoptive families who have been affected by this issue explore what it is like to live with an affected child, and what solutions they found. This book is part of CoramBAAF’s Parenting Matters series which explores many of the health conditions commonly diagnosed in looked after children.

Who is this book for?

A useful book for adopters, those thinking about adopting, foster carers, social work practitioners and all those involved in the care of looked after children. The combination of expert information and case study experience will help readers gain knowledge and understanding and make informed decisions.

What you will find in this book

The first half of the book examines the often complex underlying reasons for eating issues in fostered and adopted children, and how these may be connected to earlier experiences of abuse, neglect, loss and separation. It also considers how best to diagnose, manage and treat this issue. In the second half, personal narratives from two adoptive families explore how their child has been affected by eating issues, and the ways in which they have sought to manage and/or solve the child’s difficulties.

About the authors

Jay Vaughan MA is a State Registered Dramatherapist, a Certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist (DDP), a Theraplay Therapist and trainer, as well as a Somatic Experience Practitioner. Jay is Registered Manager and CEO of Family Futures, a voluntary adoption agency based in London. Jay has contributed to many articles and books and continues to consult and train on behalf of Family Futures, and carries out direct work with families and children.

Alan Burnell has been a local authority social worker and team manager of a fostering and adoption service. He was one of the initial counselling team at the Post Adoption Centre in London, where he eventually became director. In 1998, Alan was one of the founding members of Family Futures and for 20 years, until his retirement in 2019, he was Registered Manager of the agency. Alan helped to pioneer post-adoption services for children and their adoptive families and has been at the forefront of integrating neuro-scientific research and theory into family placement practice in the UK. In 2015, he received a lifetime achievement award for his work in adoption.

This is the link to the CoramBaff website i.e. where you can purchase the book:

Leo January 15, 2024 19:56

Both of my children have rejected food in the past; one child's was as a one-off reaction to something traumatic, lasted roughly two weeks and has never re-occurred.

The other has been on and off throughout placement and has shown in different forms as they have grown older. Initially it appeared to be part of a generalised regression in behaviours and was definitely caused by the stress of managing school life. It then seemed to morph a little more into a sensory thing - wouldn't eat anything that required chewing. We went back to blending food; they ate exactly what we ate, but blended. Slowly we progressed to soft foods which don't need much chewing - such as pasta. We then progressed slowly back to normal foods/chewing - but every time they were overloaded with stress/not coping with life, we had to move backwards again. although we never had to go right back to the 'weaning' stage again, but there were many times we seemed to live off pasta because they just couldn't manage chewing for a while.

As an older child, they have continued to react to stress through their food intake - generally with an appetite increase but also a few times with an almost complete lack of food intake. At those times we have had to completely remove the source of stress for the eating to stabilise. Not an easy option but was very necessary.

Do you think stress might be the underlying issue with your daughter or are sensory issues generally apparent?

The authors of the above recommended book run Family Futures, an adoption and trauma therapy centre based in London (although they work with children from all over the country). Family Futures offer an adopter helpline/free consultation (0207 354 4161) which may be worth using? In addition to food issues, they also have huge experience and expertise in helping children with sensory difficulties - you can access therapy packages through the ASF.

I hope you get some support with this soon.

Edited 15/01/2024
Elma January 15, 2024 20:36

Thank you to both of these answers. I will get this book and may contact this centre. We are struggling to get help from professionals as she keeps being batted about between people as no one seems to want to deal with attachment, sensory and food issues. My daughter sounds very similar to what you describe. She masks at school and I think the stress of this relates to what is going on with food. Since April she managed to chew crackers, biscuits and cheese again but these all got dropped over Christmas. We use baby food, yogurt and meal replacement shakes at present. We have another adopted child and I think the stress of their relationship is also a factor. Any other ideas or advice very gratefully received.

Leo January 15, 2024 20:51

If there is a tricky sibling relationship in play as well then I would definitely contact Family Futures; they really are the leading experts on trauma bonds and sibling relationships.

I will try to respond in more detail soon but must go for now.


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