Children Eating Too Much
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Children Eating Too Much
My 15 month old daughter has an amazing appetite- she can put
away as much as a much older child. She is in the 90th % for
weight and 75th % for height so she is a big, sturdy girl. I
have no problem with her size- she eats everything we eat and
loves all of it (stopped eating baby food at 9 months)- she also
poops up to 5 times a day! Now that she's talking a little, she
can ask for specific favorite foods (e.g.: Cheese!) Is there a
time when we should begin to limit the amount she eats/drinks?
-tired of changing poopy diapers!
My now 4.5-year-old daughter sounds exactly like yours and I have
wondered on and off for the last few years about whether to restrict
her. I recommend the book ''Your Child's Weight: Helping Without
Harming'' by Ellyn Satter. Bottom line: do not limit how much she eats,
but you can control when she eats and what she is offered.
I believe that it is when a child stops eating baby food that that is
about the marking point for when it can be appropriete to limit food
(before then is just ridiculous!). It does sound like your daughter is
getting a bit too much; it might be time to start limiting portions.
Though you should be grateful she is eating, and will eat a variety of
foods (an absolute blessing, never forget), it isn't good for a small
child to eat so much food that their exercise and height cannot match up
with their food intake.
Simply give reasonable portions for her size (that would be an amount of
food the size of her fist for each type of food), and when it is gone
just say ''That's all. Supper is done now.'' Of course, if this feels
wrong for your child instinctively, it probably won't make or break her
life eating habits if you don't limit food intake, just so long as you
serve mostly highly nutritious foods Lawerence
Your baby sounds perfectly wonderful and healthy. And it sounds like you
have done a great job helping her develop a healthy relationship with
food. My 15-month-old sounds just like your baby. I think she eats half
her body weight each day, poops up a storm and easily outpaces her 3.5
yr old big sis at the table. So would you be shocked to hear she is only
in the 10th percentile?!
I have recommended Ellyn Satter's ''Child of Mine'' to many friends and
think you would get a lot from it too. Enjoy her great appetite, and if
you are really ready to ditch those poopy diapers you could always think
about geting a jump on potty training. Diaper Free Baby is a great
resource www.diaperfreebaby.org. I usually catch 1-2 poops a day in the
potty, which gives me hope that I won't be wiping butts all day for the
rest of eternity. Good luck!
I have the same question! how can my 12 month old baby eat a slice of
buttered toast, a yogurt and HALF A CANTALOUPE for breakfast?! Then eat
another slice of toast and a cheese stick 20 minutes later?! Then it's
He stopped eating pureed baby food at 7 months and has been eating
regular adult/restaurant food since 10 months. He's also completely off
the charts for height and weight (but leveling off), but no concern from
the pediatrician. So, i've just been putting up with the poop - at least
3 times, sometimes 5 times, sometimes more! He's hungry, he points to
food, he eats with relish - opening his mouth wide like a baby bird. I
guess he just needs it!
Looking forward to reading the responses.
I have a 10 year old daughter who loves to eat and never seems
to realize when she is full. She is 10-15 lbs overweight, and
seems to carry it all in her stomach.
My concern is that her continual overeatting will cause her to
become obese. She doesn't like to eat green vegetables, but
instead focuses on all the white foods (macoroni and cheese,
breads, potatoes, etc). I try to get her to make healthy
choices, and we don't keep ''junk'' food at home, but when she is
away from me she eats large quantities of sugar treats and
refined flour products. She is not an intrinsically active
child, although with my encouragement she plays soccer and
Lastly, her internal motor seems to always be running in
overdrive. She talks fast and constantly, and is a bit intense.
I am at my wits end and afraid that her overeatting is
spiralling out of control. Help!!
Hi. I realize I don't know you or your daughter, let alone your
history together, but I had to respond to your post. 10-15 pounds
isn't a huge amount of weight for a girl that age. She may be
going through that pudgy stage girls go through a little earlier
than you might have anticipated. Maybe you never had a pudgy
stage growing up. Each girl is different.
I know from personal experience that eating the ''white'' foods you
mentioned does make me crazy (talking fast, chatter brain) and
that those ''white'' foods break down into sugar twice as fast as a
healthier version of that food. Sugar does make our brains go
I would encourage you to try to talk to your daughter about
whatever is on her mind. If you are overly concerned about your
daughter's eating, weight, your daughter is going to pick up on
that and internalize your concerns into a ''personal problem'' and
that can have a very negative effect on how your daughter sees
her self as a person as well as her body.
I have belonged to a 12 step program for people that are
recovering from eating disorders of all kinds for over 10 years.
Our members are primarily women and we come from all walks of
life. We may be anorexic, bulemic, or compulsive overeaters. Our
eating disorders almost always have a congenital compenent.
However, most people's stories include having a distorted view of
Now I'm speaking for myself. As the daughter of a mother who is a
compulsive overeater, anorexic and bulemic, I was 10-15 lbs.
heavier than I ''should'' have been at various points in my
adolescence. My mother's constant ''concern'' and ''interest'' in my
eating behaviors, weight, and body size had a very negative
effect on my self esteem as well as how I saw my body.
Please, please, please, take your concerns about your daughter's
weight to a therapist.
Gratefully recovering member of Oveaters Anonymous
Adrenarche, getting ready for menarche, can be a time when children develop
strong appetites. Key to building a healthy body, however, is good food choices.
You might use the 80/20 concept to ensure she gets the best possible foods 80% of
the time. This would mean being a better gate keeper and not a cafeteria. A really
good book to get to improve the feeding relationship with your child is HOW TO GET
YOUR KIDS TO EAT...BUT NOT TOO MUCH by Ellyn Satter. While I disagree with her
suggested dietary choices, I do think she nailed it with the division of responsibility
between parent and child: you choose the foods and meal times and she chooses
whether to eat and how much. By withholding food, experiments show children
gained weight. For the underweight child, force feeding caused continued weight
loss. So it isn't simply portion size. Having relaxed meals without argument, having
her participate in preparation, camoflaging vegetables in tasty sauces and soups,
visiting the farmer's markets, watching cooking shows, trying new recipes, having a
garden where she can freely graze, all can support her better relationship to food.
Now is the time to help her make good choices that will set her up for life. Rewards
will backfire, Satter warns, so simply offer enough variety and encourage a bite of a
new or green food each time one is served. It may take 7-20 attempts to get a new
food down, but eventually, if the palate is not corrupted by refined foods, she will
find some enjoyable.
Nori Hudson, NC
My sister had a similar problem with her child and ended up
taking her to counselor. That seemed to do the trick, as they
discovered (and this certainly isn't always the case) that the
child was eating from anxiety associated with problems in my
sistera and brother-in-law's marriage. Caitlin was talking a
mile a minute and very hyped for about a year. My sister took
her to a therapist in Rockridge named Rebecca Lueck. She is an
LCSW ad can be reached at 415 235-1071. My sister and daughter
still see her (both indidually). Alternatively, you could try
to cut out the tv. My sister was told that is correlated with
childhood weight problems. Good luck!
You have probably already considered this but how about having
her visit a nutritionist ? It would be someone other than you
letting your daughter know the importance of good nutrition and
proper portion sizes. It might also take some pressure off of
you having to remind your daughter about food and eating.
Please look into Ellyn Satter's books. She is both a dietitian and therapist and works
with helping children and parents sort thru all their feelings around eating and
feeding. Her advice is very concrete: do not restrict your child's eating; she will
only eat more. Do not allow grazing. Offer 3 meals and a set number of snacks,
and she gives ideas for balancing the foods that you offer.
Please please don't ignore this or hope it will get better. I
highly recommend Laurel Mellin's programs. I believe she has a
children's program also. www.thepathway.org. Their approach
is to give tools for emotional issues, to teach self-nurturing
and setting limits.
Please look at underlying causes like depression and anxiety.
It took me to mid-adulthood to figure this out. I sure wish
someone had been able to help me identify things earlier!!
this page was last updated: Nov 23, 2008
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