National Eating Disorders Association

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New to the group. Looking for answers.

I am a mother of a 7 year old boy and 9 year old girl. My baby girl used to eat anything and everything until she was about 7 months old. Two things happened: She choked on food and not being able to get the food free I ended up sticking my finger down her throat to dig it out. (dumb thing to do I know. I just panicked). The other thing that happened is we had to move in with my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. She is way off her growth chart. She gets very panicky when I try to get her to try something new. It tends to be the smell or look of something that usually turns her off to try to eat. I recently came across an article on ARFD. It seems I might finally have a name to what she is going through. For years I have been accused of not feeding her properly. She is just being picky. If she is hungry she will eat it, etc. My niece who is now 21 years old has been told that her body is fighting against itself and she needs to eat or she will eventually die. I am afraid my baby girl is headed in this direction. I have taken to eating clinics, she has been seen by professionals, her doctor is taking all kinds of blood tests, xrays, etc. to get to the bottom of her issue with no results. She is currently on a medication that makes her hungry so at least she will eat more just not the variety that she needs. I feel like I am slowly losing the battle.


So young. How is your support structure at home. Family based therapy seems to work well, but it is very draining and you need someone to back you up.

Hi worriedmom,

Welcome to the forums! Eating disorders (or perhaps feeding disorders, in this case--ARFID) are often difficult to treat, and when they're present in young children that adds additional challenges. It sounds like you're doing the best you can by taking her to professionals and seeking treatment. That is not an easy thing to do so I hope you'll take a moment to appreciate how strong you are for working through this. It's clear from your post that you're a caring parent who wants to do the best thing possible in a challenging situation. You mentioned you've seen professionals in eating clinics; have they looked at feeding disorders and eating disorders specifically in your daughter's case? They can be hard to diagnose in children. If you want to see what additional treatment options and resources are available near you, you can call or chat online with the NEDA Helpline:

Please keep us updated on how things are going. We care about you and your family! Please know that there is hope. If you need a reminder that recovery is possible, you can check out NEDA's Stories of Hope:

Maudsley Family Based Therapy

I have read a lot about this therapy, and it seems to be getting a lot of results. It is very challenging for the family, but I do agree that family often has the best chance to break though and get results.

GlennW Edited

Hello GlennW.
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