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Is it possible for a 5 yr old to have an eating disorder???

If my step daughter had the choice to not eat she wouldn't. After eating only a couple of bites she begins to whine or cry and tell us she's done, bored, her stomach hurts or she has to go to the bathroom. She has been known to chew one piece of food for 20 min and if you urge her to swallow she almost starts to panic as if she's afraid to do so. If I thought she was just a picky eater I wouldn't be so concerned, however, she is below the 5th percentile in weight and unfortunately her biomom (in another state) does not feel the need to be concerned. Every time she is with her biomom she is not made to eat and ends up losing weight she can't afford to lose. I'm stumped. I don't think it's just a phase because she has been like this since my husband and I first moved in together when she was 2.

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Asked by MomOfTheWillful at 3:11 AM on Jan. 3, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 5 (89 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • I would take her to the doctor,something is going on with her that could make her sick or kill her from not eating!!!

    Answer by dancer at 3:17 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • This little girls problem is sending up all kinds of red flags!!! Take her to someone,please!!!

    Answer by dancer at 3:19 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Maybe her bimom is telling her that she is fat.

    Answer by Misteh at 3:20 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Well kids can be picky eaters, my son is. I have heard of your kids being concerned about their figures at a young age. Maybe try threatening her with some that she really likes doing. Like if she does not eat, she can not play with her favorite toy or watch her fsvorite tv show???

    Answer by Mrs.Kika at 3:20 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Take her to the doctor,before it is too late!!! Kids r not supposed to be acting like that towards food.

    Answer by dancer at 3:25 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Please do not misunderstand.....I take my daughter to the Pediatrician before every visit to her biomom and every time she comes home from her biomom. While she is in our care we have her eating food higher in calories and protein to help support growth and brain development. I add powdered milk to a glass of whole milk for her, I load on the mayo, I make her chocolate peanut butter shakes with 1070 calories. We walk 1 mile to the park, I let my kids play for a couple of hrs before we make the 1 mile walk back home. While in our care my daughter eats whether she likes it or not and her weight is maintained at a healthy level. However, with as many moms as I have met I have never known one that shares the same issue and I was struck with the thought that could it be possible for a child to have an eating disorder?

    Comment by MomOfTheWillful (original poster) at 3:37 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I think you might need to have her evaluated by a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. It might be worth seeing how that goes. While you're smart to get her to eat, it can also compound the issue, and she could end up purging later. I'd seriously consider a psych evaluation, because the earlier you can tackle this, the better. Good luck, mama, you're doing the best you can! =)

    Answer by musicpisces at 3:42 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I would say child counsellor as well. I know many children they are killing their parents with their eating (or non-eating) habits. Maybe your SD can see and learn this non eating behaviour from the bio-mum. Is she like being slim, no eating because we can get fat, only eat like a bird because old and fat people are ugly? If she can hear this from her, of course she will be terrified from eating. If the bio mum has n eating disorder she can (by purpose or accidentally) pass it on for her daughter. Or this can be from an allergy. Maybe she has a food intolerance or allergy and eating does hurts her. Try an allergy test and a children counsellor. If you get the results back you can start from there. Good luck mummy:) You are doing fine:)


    Answer by adriennfaklya at 9:26 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I think the allergy test is also a great idea. If she really is feeling ill from certain foods, they may discover a cause.

    Answer by MammaG at 10:02 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Definitely possible:

    "The foundation has seen a quadrupling in the number of calls about eating disorders over the past five years, with many about children aged 8-13. The youngest was a five-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with anorexia. The child had been teased in preschool and was about to start kindergarten."

    I'd say if the child is old enough to feel shame, then he's old enough to have an eating disorder.

    Answer by makelineerror at 10:05 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

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