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Video: Feed The Little One - The Quality Of Life
“My child is not eating well” is one of the most common reasons for contacting a child psychologist. Children from about one year to twelve years old eat little or poorly. Then mothers either start to complain that they don't leave the stove at all, or they realize that the girl has brought herself to exhaustion and it's time to treat anorexia nervosa. At different ages, the concept of "eating poorly" means different things.
The first year and a half
A breastfed or bottle-fed baby powerfully gains weight, you can clearly see how every cell of his body is poured with milk and straightened. Or it doesn't straighten out, and then the mother falls into a hellish, unbearable anxiety, the sight of a thin baby launches ancient warning programs: “Danger! Our family is on the verge of extinction! " Why doesn't he breastfeed, spits up, sucks sluggishly? Why does he have green diarrhea? Is my milk bad? Is it poisonous? A young mother's anxiety aggravates the situation, it becomes even more difficult for the baby to suck, he cries more, he has colic or bloating. Miraculous drugs from advertising do not help, the whole family does not sleep. How can I help you?
As a rule, the visit of the fairy godmother helps: any older relative, friend or nanny who speaks slowly and fluently, condemns, rocking both mother and child. She brews "magic" tea, prepares some special porridge … An hour later you look - and the baby is asleep, and so is the mother, and the dinner is somehow boiled by itself, and learned lessons from the elders. Everyone exhaled, relaxed, the process improved. What did this woman do so magical for a mother-baby couple? First of all, I sent a message to the nursing woman: "You are not alone, there is someone to take care of you."
The current generation is the first to live in a nuclear family, without grandmothers. During all the previous thousands of years of human development, a young mother was never left alone with a baby, was always surrounded by other women of the family. This powerful support, called the women's circle, allows a newly born woman to connect with her baby without being distracted by external challenges. Well, learn from the example of the elders, of course.
“To think, you have to eat, - you can't go anywhere! Yes, but how many different thoughts can one and the same piece of bread give birth to! "
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
One and a half - three years
The "magic" age, the crisis of three years, the phase of negativism … In practice, this means that you are trying to accustom the child to the culture of your family, and the child is trying to do everything his own way. In addition, after a year and a half, children stop growing so wildly and, accordingly, do not need such a volume of nutrients. But do you remember how he dived into a plate of porridge with a running start, you still have this vigorous in your ears at six in the morning “Porridge! Meat! Mo'oko! Sachet! Give FAST! ". And then he sits down and pokes thoughtfully in the plate, catches something there with his little fingers for half an hour, leaves, then bites off half an apple right in the box, dirty, then you find him intently chewing dog food.
Mom becomes completely ill when the child happily perches on a chair, takes a spoon, sniffs the food and suddenly turns around, retires into the room with the dignified: "I don't eat this!" Panic! He is ill? Why does he not eat anything at home, and when he is visiting or in a cafe, he rushes about, if not to himself? He is studying. This world is completely new, never seen before, and the child, in his new little body, is also new, incomprehensible, does not know what he likes and what not, what kind of food is fun, and what makes him sleepy.
Parents mistake this normal exploratory behavior as protesting and undermining. They threaten, demand, manipulate. Although all that is needed in this situation is to leave some food available and go about your business. Perhaps in the evening he will get hungry and ask for something specific. Perhaps it will be the evening of the next day.
Normal eating behavior at this age is biting and tingling, constant snacking. We, pupils of Soviet kindergartens, out of habit think that at two years old it is normal to eat "first, second, third" for lunch, and with bread. Yes, there are children who can devour this almost liter of complex and varied food. But not all. Most can handle a cheese sandwich and half a cucumber in one go. But often, once every hour and a half. And this is inconvenient for nannies and educators, therefore - a full dinner and sleep.
Endure to the last
At the reception, the mother of a three-year-old boy complains of difficulties with digestion: constipation sometimes lasts six days, the baby cries, refuses to eat. Nothing helps, everyone has tried it. I ask about the early period, childbirth, how they fed. "Yes, everything was fine." I insist on the details (we know your "normal" ones), and the picture is just chilling blood: the hardest childbirth, uterine rupture, bleeding, barely saved. She breastfed for up to 14 months, although there were cracks, wild pain every time I applied the baby. “Why such sacrifices? Why didn't they switch to artificial nutrition? " - "Was it possible?" She asks in the voice of a good first-grader girl. "My mother said to me:" Be patient. " Here, this is the main thing: my mother said: "Be patient", and she endured, lost 15 kilograms, brought herself to nervous exhaustion. Imaginethat 10-12 times a day you are tortured with a red-hot poker. And your favorite person does it, the meaning of your life.
It is no wonder that the boy's digestion is disturbed: it is difficult to assimilate the tearing pain, clenched fists and lips bitten to blood, I do not want to digest it all. Well, the commandment "endure to the last" also "rhymes" well with constipation. So the first and most common cause of digestive disorders in infancy is the repressed and trapped emotions of the mother. Including postpartum depression.
At this time, the power battlefield moves to kindergarten. And very many children do not eat there at all. Wrong time, too many distractions, smells wrong, can't keep up with the rest. And it's also good if the kindergarten is advanced, the children are not forced to finish every crumb, they don’t splash mashed potatoes with a cutlet right into the soup … But mothers worry that the child goes around hungry all day. In fact, if he has access to bread and compote during the day, if he eats at least a few spoons from a portion, he will make it to the evening, and then he will come off for dinner. Not scary.
But it turned out that there really are children in the world who can bring themselves to hypoglycemic fainting over a plate of food! All my life I knew for sure that there are no hungry children near the refrigerator! And then they brought Aksinya. A fragile curly girl with huge eyes in fluffy eyelashes. Mom is a real top manager of a mega-corporation: fit, in a business suit, with a large black briefcase. But there is fright and guilt in her eyes: Aksinya does not eat. Since birth. For the first six months, I did not gain almost a single gram, I could barely manage to maintain the original weight. There was not enough milk, from replacing it vomited and carried, she did not take complementary foods. At the same time, she did not cry, but looked attentively with her wonderful eyes, and tears were quietly rolling down her cheek. Two pieces.
Then mom starts to sob herself, apologizes, turns away, takes a convulsive breath and continues. This is how we live: from a spoon, with persuasions, promises, dances and cartoons. Yes, we read your articles, tried leaving her alone with a plate, not feeding until the next meal, it doesn't help. She walks away politely and then faints. She doesn't feel hungry! Our grandmother is noisy, fighting, so she can feed her. Fatty, sweet, salty. She's eating it. He can also pull off the packaging of Doshirak and quietly grind it dry, without boiling water …
Then there was a long therapy with Aksinya's mother, they dealt with her guilt, the inability to compete with her mother, lies in relations with her husband. Ksenka, meanwhile, grew up, got stronger, went to school - and completely transformed! Where did it come from, instead of a quiet man and a dying angel, a sharp, sarcastic, very ambitious girl with a normal appetite appeared.
When I met her five years later, I asked: “What was that? Why did you refuse to eat? " She stared at me for a while, apparently wondering whether to open up, then sighed and said: “Everything was tasteless. I wanted something sharp and strong, sharp, and my mother fed me fresh and healthy. And while I refused, she was there, worried about me, persuaded, read books, and so she was all on business trips and trips. I was homesick."
If you think about this recognition from the point of view of psychoanalysis, we can assume that with a warm and open grandmother, the girl was simple and calm. In addition, apparently, she had some kind of congenital insufficiency in the transport of bile, so stimulants were needed - bitter, spicy seasonings. And my mother, who appeared and disappeared, tried very hard to be "correct", never raised her voice and was tormented by guilt, caused Aksinya anxiety and anger at the same time. Which at the bodily level looked like a refusal to eat.
"Customs" gives the go-ahead
I was shocked when I discovered that in an English kindergarten, children are either not fed centrally at all, or they are given some kind of nonsense like cookies, tiny cheese and an apple. But the children come home hungry, "gone", at seven o'clock they have supper and at eight they already fall to bed of their own free will. At eight in the evening! Do you hear, mothers who at 23.00 are still trying to negotiate with the "customs"?
Take it easy
You see, all this is difficult … Refusal to eat is a failure of the most basic programs, not a whim, not self-indulgence. If the child does not have the opportunity to constantly bite and, nevertheless, is still clearly malnourished, this is a reason to consult a psychologist. The main word is "malnourished", that is, does not gain weight and height for at least six months. And if it seems to you that he does not eat well, and at the same time you renew his wardrobe every season - everything is in order, exhale.
Breakfast with a gadget
Today, you can often find a scheme of painless "feeding" of a child who is keen on a tablet (it’s supposedly easier to convince him to refresh himself: “He doesn’t eat without an iPad, phone, cartoons …”). Not surprisingly, if at some point eating turns into a war zone (threats and blackmail, manipulation from both sides, tactical tricks and guerrilla combat strategies), then the tablet is really a salvation for parents. But not for a child who simply does not know what could be different. Invite your child into the world of flavors, introduce him to the art of eating. This trip can be a pleasant discovery for all family members. For example, in a family I know, it was customary to arrange thematic trips to the cuisines of the world. Parents have found their own way of developing taste for food in children. Sharing family meals is not only satisfying the basic need for food, it is also an important historical ritual that allows everyone to gather at the same table and feel like a family.
consultant psychologist, member of the professional psychotherapeutic league