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My 6 year old wont eat any solid foods....
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My 6 year old wont eat any solid foods....

My six year old daughter has suddenly stopped eating solids. She says she feels like she has something "stuck" in her throat when she eats solid foods. If we try to have her eat what the rest of us are eating she gets extremely upset and refuses to eat anything at all! At first we thought it was a game to get out of eating but this has been going on long enough and im getting very worried about her. She has lost several pounds in the last week. I took her to the pediatrician 5 days ago and they said to give it some time, they put her on an antacid medication ( capsule of course which she wont swallow), they recommended that she see a therapist and they scheduled her an appointment with a G.I specailist but not until the end of the month! I guess my question is.... has anybody else ever expereinced this with their child, what should i be doing for her until she has her appointments. How should I handle meals....should i be encouraging her to eat what the family is or should i allow her to eat the soups and yogurts?? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am EXTREMELY worried about her!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm no doctor, but I would say at this point, since she IS losing weight, I would let her eat whatever she will - at least that will get SOME kind o fnutrition into her.

I'd also suggest that you call the GI specialist's office and explain to them that she refuses to eat anything solid and has lost a considerable amount of weight and ask if they can see her sooner - or at the very least, have your name put on a "cancellation list" in case they get any cancelled appointnents and maybe they can call you in sooner..

I'd also give the pediatrician a call and tell them that she is unable to swallow the stomach pill they gave and ask if it can be prescribed in a liquid form.

In addition ot the soups and yogurts you say she will eat, maybe try something like Pediasure, Boost or Ensure - they will give her additional protein and nutrients that maybe the soups and yogurts are lacking.  How about things like mashed potatoes (making sure they are really well mashed)?  Applesauce?  Jello?  Also perhaps taking whatever food it is that the rest of the family is eating and almost pureeing it - or at least chopping it up really fine will help - making it easier for her to swallow it.

Have they done ANY testing at all such as Xrays, CT scans, etc.?  to determine if there really is something stuck or an irritation?  If they haven't, I'd definitely push for some of that to be done - while a therapist may be helpful if it is determined that there is no logical medical reason for her not wanting to eat, I definitely feel they need to search for that type of cause first rather than simply jumping into a therapist.  I actually think jumping right to a therapist without determining if there is anotehr cause for it coudl actually do more harm than good - basically giving her the impression that nobody believes her and that maybe she's just doing this for attention.  You certainly don't want to end up making meal times even more stressful for her or you.  When/if you call teh GI's office asking if they can get her in sooner, perhaps ask if they might be able to order some testing to be done before her appointment so that when you DO get in to see the doc, they may already have some results rather than having to do more of the waiting game.

In addition to the feeling that something is stuck, does she ever complain of stomach pain or heartburn?  Does she seem to make a face or grimace sometimes when she's swallowing or after she's burped?  If it is an acid problem, raising the head of her bed may also help - you can purchase bed risers at pretty much any department store and you would only use two of them - raising the head of the bed only.  If she's experiencing GERD symptoms, this may help alleviate some of them, especially if they are happening at night (you don't necessarily have to have heartburn to have GERD, so even if she isn't complaining about these problems, it would be worth a try)

As I said, I'm no doctor, but I hope some of the suggestions I've given help and hope your daughter gets back to her old self again soon!
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Avatar_f_tn
I totally agree with the above post.  Let her eat what she wants until you can get her in to see the GI doctor who will be able to check out her throat.  There may be something going on and it's just easier for her to avoid the solid foods, so making sure she eats anything is very important at this point.  Rule out any physical problems before seeing a therapist.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you both for your advise! This has been tough on all of us but I think she is slowly getting better! Back on the 18th of December we had a family member pass away after a long battle with cancer. My daughter was very close to her and on new years eve my daughter told me that she can't swallow because she is afraid she is going to choke and die! She has been seeing the school counselor and had her first appointment with a therapist yesterday! The pediatricians and the therapist agree that this is anxiety and that this unfortunate event has basically pushed her over the edge! I have been giving her the pediasure drinks and although she has lost 5-6 lbs she has maintained her current weight over the last week! Over the weekend she ate several Ritz crackers and 1/2 of a whoopee pie which I know aren't very healthy choices but at this point its something and that's a start!  I am going to try raising the head of her bed because she does complain of " pukey burps" every now and then! Thank you again for your advice its greatly appreciated!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm glad to hear your daughter is getting better!  I'm sorry to hear about your family member - the stress of that and the fear your daughter has most certainly can at least add to the difficulties with swallowing.  It's great that she's seeing the counselors!

I'm also glad to hear that she has taken in a little bit of solid food over the weekend - you're right, it's a start!  Try not to get overly anxious about her increasing her food intake - let her take it as slowly as she needs to to feel comfortable both physically and emotionally.  So long as she's getting SOMETHING in, it' sdefinitely better than nothing - and the pediasure drinks will give her some good liquid nutrition until she is able to get back to eating normally again.  Her being able to maintain her weight over the past week is definitely a good sign.

Keep enouraging her like you have been and letting her know that you're available if she wants to talk about anything or has any fears.  It may take a while, but she'll be ok!

Please keep us posted on how she's doing!
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Avatar_m_tn
Our five year also suddenly stopped eating solid foods, happy and healthy otherwise.  Three doctors believed it was due to anxiety.  All he was comfortable eating was gogurt (yogurt in tubes).  The doctors said it was all in his head and he could live off yogurt for a month but to speak to a psychologist if nothing changes in a month.
We looked back at probable causes.  My wife told my son of a girl chocking to death on a hotdog a while back.  We also just got back to Disneyland and he went on some more intense rides by choice.  At the end of the trip we thought he just lost his appetite.  We soon realized he only wanted non-solid foods.  We said he could eat anything he wanted but he had no interest.  Pushing him made it worse.  This is when we started to worry.  We researched online and talk to doctors and concluded it was indeed all in his head.  He was still his happy self and had a huge appetite for yogurt all day especially when he was active.  
We let him just eat basically yogurt and ice cream for a 1.5 weeks.  He was starting school and we wanted to be as comfortable as possible.  We kept things positive.  We related his fear of eating solids to his former fear of swimming and how he progressively got over the fear and now loves to swim.  We also said how we can’t wait to look back at this time and laugh about how silly it was and how awesome it will be for him to eat all his favorite foods again.  We soon tried a reward system but he could not open his mouth even for a grain of rice or small piece of pasta.  On the second week we wanted to be more aggressive.  He was even more afraid to try solid food.  What finally worked was talking about the source of the problem.  He was afraid to die from chocking on food.  We then said, if you don’t eat solid foods, then you will die.  You have to eat this tiny piece of pasta to save yourself.  He ate it!  Then had another.  Later he had the melting yogurt treats our 1.5 year old eats.  The next day he tried more pasta and more baby solid food.  By the second day he had a healthy portion of pasta.  We are so happy.  Hope this helps other parents.  Hang in there!
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