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My 2.5-year-old daughter hardly eats anything since last year. She did a lot better about 4/5 months ago. She won't eat fruit or vegetables or anything sweet.

Due to getting my mum's genes, she is tall and has chubby cheeks, so doctors and health visitors think she's healthy. She is not at all. She complains about her joints hurting, she wakes up at least 3 times at night, and I have no choice but to give her milk.

I am 7 and a half months pregnant and am really getting concerned because she should be eating like her age group does. I've tried vitamin drops and syrups, but they don't work. She won't even touch her favourite foods. She'll say they're yummy, but won't eat them. She can't have milk all the time only.

Now she is suffering from very bad constipation, and I hate to see her in pain. Please anyone who can help me, I would appreciate it a lot.

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    What kind of milk does she get? Cow's milk, breastmilk, formula? What did the doctor say about her joints hurting and her constipation? – Little Ms Whoops Feb 4 '15 at 10:30
  • does she have any cavities? how engaging are her meals? my kids who hate food as well seem to need food time to be fun time as well. Like play doh and food time. Drives me nuts but I reached my own methods after trying just about everything else I could think of. Doctors just suggested stupid things like calorie packing, which does nothing if they refuse to eat it. They suggested occupational therapy, which was a joke because they just suggest doing everything I was doing anyhow. It's always been nearly impossible for me but they will eat if I play with them while they eat. Bad habits? maybe – Kai Qing Feb 4 '15 at 20:37
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This definitely sounds like a problem you may need to approach the doctors with. If she's truly not eating sufficiently for a long period of time, you need to find out why; there are some conditions that manifest as an unwillingness to eat. She may also be allergic to something common which is causing digestive upset. On the other hand, she may just be growing; it's very complicated to judge this sort of thing without data.

The way to approach your doctor is to keep a food/health journal for your daughter. Write down everything she eats, and is offered. Get a scale and actually weigh the food if needed to accurately describe exactly what she is eating. Entries like:

  • 2/5/2015. Woke @ 3am, 5am, 6am; stayed awake after 6am. Complained about legs hurting.
    • Breakfast (7am) : 1 scrambled egg, orange juice. She ate about 1/4 of the egg and drank one sip of the juice.
    • Snack (10am): 1 fruit bar, water. She drank half of the glass of water, and ate about half of the bar.
    • Lunch (12pm): About 75g ham, a slice of bread, a slice of Cheddar cheese, milk. She drank most of the milk, but didn't eat any ham or bread. She did eat half of the cheese slice.
    • Snack (2pm): One apple, water. She drank 1/2 the glass of water and ate one slice of apple (1/8 slices of a medium apple).
    • Dinner (5pm): One lamb chop, mashed potatoes, green beans, and water. She drank the whole glass of water and ate most of the lamb chop, two bites of mashed potatoes, and three or four green beans.
    • Dessert (6pm): A small bowl of blueberries (30g). She ate two or three blueberries.
    • Her mood for the day was quiet; she played outside some but did not want to play with others. Two emotional outbursts but neither serious. She went to bed without very much fussing.

That would be a reasonable journal for the day. Keep that for two weeks or so, making sure to have every single meal fully documented, and notes on how her mood was, how she slept, how her bone pain felt (where it hurt, how often she complained, etc). Then take that to the doctor, and use the journal to show him/her exactly why you are concerned about your child. It's very common for parents to come to the doctor with "My kids won't eat", but often they eat fine: so you need to get enough information for the doctor to completely understand why your concern is a legitimate concern, and to be able to judge what the right action is.

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    +1 for the journal. It could also lead them to realize she is eating more than they thought she was. – Karl Bielefeldt Feb 4 '15 at 16:30
  • Exactly - it clarifies things for both the parent and the doctor. – Joe Feb 4 '15 at 16:46

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