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Skinny, tired 4.5yr old

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#1 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:57 PM

Not sure if this is the right section but I wasn't sure where else to put it.

My 4.5yr old DD is very skinny. She is also extremely fussy and eats like a bird. Most nights she won't even touch her dinner sad.gif She has no bum, I can see her spine, shoulder blades, ribs and hip bones. She also looks tired all the time, like she has dark circles under her eyes all the time no matter how much she sleeps, and often mentions a sore tummy. My mum mentioed the other day that she looks like she's lost a bit of weight. My other two rugrats who are 6.5yrs and 2.5yrs eat very well and are robust healthy little things!
She also has very dry course skin and suffers from ezcema flares. Mentally, she is quite an emotional kid and can be very 'active' (ie often can't sit still, gets very fidgety etc).

Can anyone relate? Anyone else have a child who is similar? I am seeing the GP next Tuesday but thought I was ask on here too.

Anni xx

#2 BabeBlossom

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:02 PM

I don't belong in here but saw this in We are discussing and had to respond. Have you considered food sensitivities, like Coeliacs for example? Speaking to your GP is a great first step, hope they are able to help her.

#3 MyButterflyGirls

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:18 PM

My first thought was also Coeliacs - there is a related skin condition that can look like ezcema. It would be worth at least asking your Dr if they think Coeliacs should be included in any testing.

Good luck - I hope you get some answers. sad.gif

Here is some info about Coeliac's Disease (taken from here: http://coeliac.org.a...e/symptoms.html):

The symptoms of coeliac disease vary considerably. Some people suffer severe symptoms, while others are symptom free. Further investigation for coeliac disease should occur if one or more high risk features are present. These include:

Iron Deficiency Anaemia and/or other Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies
Gastrointestinal Symptoms e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, steatorrhea
Autoimmune Disease (autoimmune conditions commonly occur together)
Weight Loss (although some people may gain weight)
A family history of coeliac disease
Other symptoms may also include

Fatigue, weakness and lethargy
Easy bruising of the skin
Recurrent mouth ulcers and/or swelling of mouth or tongue
Skin rashes such as dermatitis herpetiformis
Altered mental alertness and irritability
Bone and joint pains
Failure to thrive in children
Delayed growth or delayed puberty in children

#4 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:19 PM

I immediately thought of some kind of health issue too, coeliacs etc.

#5 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:21 PM

Thanks for the replies original.gif A wheat/dairy sensitivity did cross my mind but I felt silly jumping to conclusions. There is some history of food sensitivities in the family though so it wouldn't suprise me. All I know is that something is not right, I don't know of any other kids her age who look that skinny and tired sad.gif Also the fact that she is so different from my other two makes me wonder. I'm so keen to speak to the GP!

Anni xx

#6 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:24 PM

Just saw your reply MyButterflyGirls, thankyou SO much for that info!! She ticks quite a few of those symptoms. Interestingon the bruises, her legs are covered in them at the moment and I even said to her tonight when she was in the bath "Look at your bruises Heidi, what happened there?" and she didn't know. Poor chicken.

Anni xx

#7 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:28 PM

FluffyOscar, thats interesting! I am half Swedish, I wonder if there's a link with the Swedes too?

#8 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

Before you get ahead of yourself in terms of illnesses/allergies etc - it may be that she is just hungry?

Not all kids eat when they are hungry, because not all kids notice that what they are feeling is hunger. She 4.5. I would get her checked out, but I'd also be making her eat her dinner.

#9 jill1972

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:53 PM

Op, how much does she weigh?  I have a little one too about the same age.  We have eczema & meltdown issues over tiredness as well.


#10 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

RegularShow, I actually think she may have had a bit of a growth spurt recently, a couple of people have commented that she looks like she's "shot up". Thing thing is, she has always been really skinny. At her last visit with the CYH nurse when she was 3.5yrs old she was tall for her age but at the low end of normal for weight. I am very interested to see what she is now!

AntiBourgeoisie, I'm at my wits end with making her eat dinner sad.gif it is such a stressful part of the day now, she just pushes the food around her plate and either says she is full after one mouthful or says she doesn't like it (even if it's yummy and the other kids are scoffing it down!). I can't bribe her either, even the promise of dessert afterwards won't make her eat. I tell her that if she won't eat dinner then she goes to bed and she will choose (although not happy about it) to go to bed early instead of eat her dinner. I don't know what to do there.

#11 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:02 PM

It upsets me to see this skinny little bony child with tired eyes refusing to eat dinner. When she DOES eat her dinner on the rase occasion I feel like popping a bottle of bubbly laugh.gif

#12 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:18 PM

QUOTE (Regular Show @ 16/01/2013, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I respectfully disagree. Children are better than us at knowing when they are hungry and how much they actually need - as long as they have access to food when they are hungry.

I dont think dinner is overly important either as long as she is having a good breakfast and eating healthy snacks throughout the day.


Until about 18 months. And then they are just as likely to overeat as adults. And some kids under eat.

I have one of them. He is highly active and just doesn't think about food. His behaviour suffers and he get exhausted, but even if the food is in front of him, he won't eat it. Like sleep, the hungrier he gets, the less likely he is to eat. Even if the food offered is chocolate cake. Yes, I have the kid who will be hungry but turn down junk food.

He got to a point where he was below the 5th percentile for weight - severely underweight by CDC standards. The GP said "feed him, by any means necessary, some kids just don't eat even though they need it, and the more they don't eat, the less they notice hunger and the less they eat".

So we did. OP, we 'solved' the problem by feeding him ourselves. Yes, he's old enough to pick up the food and put it into his mouth. Which he does at kinder. But not at home. I'd rather have a well fed kid than fight that fight (mine to would go to bed over feed himself). So we just feed him. All he has to do is sit there and open his mouth. We eat as a family, and one of us feeds him. He is not fussy, he will eat anything. Just as long as we put it in his mouth. Fine. I can do that.

WIthin a week of stopping the fights and just feeding him, he was a different child. The dark circles disappeared. His boundless energy came back. He slept better. He played better. He behaved better. And he started feeding himself more often (though not always). He is still skinny, but his BMI is on the 15% percentile, which is consistent with how he was as a toddler - tall and skinny.

This may or may not work with your daughter. But I would try seeing if plain old food, by any means necessary, helps before you embark on invasive and costly medical investigations, or fiddly elimination diets. I would stop giving her the choice to go to bed. If she is underweight, tired and has dark circles under her eyes, she probably needs more food, and help consuming it.

#13 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:36 PM

Oh wow, it is SO funny you should mention that. DH and I have had some debates, because DD will be more interested in eating if I feed her. DH thinks at 4.5 she is well and truely capable of feeding herself (she is, she can do it) but for some very strange reason, if I shove it in her mouth she's more likley to eat it. Do you know why this is? There have been times where out of frustration I have just fed her, while DH rolls his eyes.

#14 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

My sister was like that. As was my mother.

My mother had a BMI of 16 when she got married. She was told to put on weight so she could conceive! She didn't have an eating disorder, she had actually never noticed that she was 'too skinny'. She just never thought to eat, and even now, if left to her own devices, she just wouldn't eat. My dad has to sit down to meals and make her sit down with him.

My sister found a love of (and talent for) cooking and now eats just to try the amazing new things she's always making. She also outgrew being fed when she was around 7 or 8. Yes she was old. But the only people who know are her immediate family, and she now a well adjusted, healthy adult.

My husband and I had the same fight but the other way around. He was happy to keep feeding our son, I thought he was old enough to feed himself. We argued about it for ages. Finally, the weight loss made it a moot point. I am a pretty strict parent insofar as meal times are concerned. The kids get what I make and nothing else. But I couldn't let my son lose weight. So now I feed him. I've realised that even with strict parenting philosophies, there has to be some room to move, especially when there is a greater health issue at stake (which for us, there was). And at the end of the day, he eats anything at all I make, including new foods he has never seen or tasted, with no complaint.... as long as someone else puts it in his mouth. In balance, we're probably doing ok.

So I can't answer your question as to 'why' this is. I just texted my sister to ask if she can remember what was going on. She can't. But she remembers not ever feeling 'hungry' like she does now, but that food made her feel better.

As the parent who has rolled their eyes while my husband fed our son, I can totally see where you husband is coming from. But I've been converted to the 'but what does it matter' camp. Kids are expected to toe the line about so many things, this is such a minor concession to make.

Edited by AntiBourgeoisie, 16 January 2013 - 10:46 PM.

#15 TeaTimeTreat

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

You need to be tracking her height and weight percentiles OP, my boy is below 1st percentile for height and weight and we are seeing a paediatric endocrinologist next week, when you go to the GP you can also ask for a refferal to the paediatric dieticians clinic at your local children's hospital, they can work with you to find ways to get calories into her whilst you can in the process of figuring out the cause of her issues.

On the bruising, DS bruises very easily and his paed advised that it is because he has so little subcutaneous fat, also he had dark circles when he was anaemic.

I am not saying it is not coeliacs, I am just saying it is best not to jump to conclusions until you have had some investigations done.

You have my sympathy, I know how hard it is to have a child that won't eat.

Edited by sparkler, 16 January 2013 - 10:46 PM.

#16 MrsShine

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:48 PM

P.S I am of eastern European heritage also and was always covered in bruises when I was a kid and also very skinny - but I actually are a lot! My mother was convinced I had leukaemia and took me to the GP but I Didnt. It wasnt until a few years back that I was diagnosed with Von Willebrands disease which is thin blood that doesn't clot properly, a bit like a mild form of haemophilia. I also have issues with dairy and wheat but not completely lactose intolerant (my main issue is cows Milne but some cheese & yoghurt ok) and bloat/feel very ill if I eat too much gluten.

Definitely get her tested, it was crap not finding out all this stuff till I was an adult - all the best!

#17 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

Thankyou so much everyone for all the fantastic replies and help and advice, I truely appreciate it. I have always had some kind of issue with DD, wether it be her physical health or mental health and EB has always been a great place for me to air these concerns. I know, deep down in my gut, to the core of my soul, that something is not 100% right with her. Friends and family have also picked up on it so I suppose it's good to know it's not just all in my head. Thanks again ladies, your replies have been so helpful!

Anni xx

#18 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:26 PM

JillSo Sorry! I just saw your post! I am not sure how much she weighs, I am going to weigh her in the morning. When I hold my 2.5yr old little boy, it doesn't feel much difference in holding my DD.

I think, when I saw her tonight, when she was laying on the floor in just her undies and it seemed as though every bone in her body was protruding....thats when I really though tto myself "naaa...this isn't normal"

#19 wca

Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:28 PM

'but what does it matter' camp.

Exactly. This is how I feel. My husband, not so much.

#20 threetimesblessed

Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:41 PM

I have a 4.5 year old DS who sounds very similar to your DD, except for the very active, fidgety part.

He suffers from GORD and has been on medication since he was 13 days old. Late last year he had a very bad flare up and we did numerous blood tests, ultrasounds and xrays. These showed an iron deficiency and negative for coeliacs. We are awaiting an appointment with a paed gastro.

Does your DD only refuse dinner? Does she complain of stomach pains? My DS has a very limited food intake and a group of what he deems 'safe' foods which he can eat that don't cause discomfort.

He falls asleep daily any time after 1pm and can be very emotional. He also has asthma and eczema.

The RISA website has a checklist if you think your DD may be suffering from reflux.

#21 winkywonkeydonkey

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:44 AM

Good Luck at the GP.

my son had similar symptoms and his was milk protein intolerance. as soon as we trialled dairy free, he started gaining Kg's and was eating more and dark circles went. Not saying your dd has the same but it doesnt hurt to look into food intolerances.

The fact that your dd complains of a sore stomach , it could very much be a food intolerance. hope you get it all sorted soon.

Edited by winkywonkeydonkey, 17 January 2013 - 07:50 AM.

#22 imamumto3

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:52 AM

im seeing the paed today for 7yo ds who sounds similar to your DD, im very interested to see what they say.  I hope you get some answers soon.

#23 kell-pea

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:57 AM

Just wanted to let you know my 4.5yr old is all bones , she eats very well during the day but not great at night-worse towards end of week.  She will eat well if we help her or finger food.
Also brusies with a look! Had her tested and she is fine but tall, i didnt think she was much taller than other kids but she is so her growth spurts really effect her.
Goodluck at doctors

#24 MyButterflyGirls

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:59 AM

Good luck at the Dr wca and imamumto3- I hope he's able to shed some light for you! Sounds like it could be any number of things.

QUOTE (wca @ 16/01/2013, 10:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
FluffyOscar, thats interesting! I am half Swedish, I wonder if there's a link with the Swedes too?

Just to answer this question: Coeliac's is called the 'Celtic Disease' as it's more prevalent in people from a Celtic background (Irish) and therefore more common in all of Northern Europe - including Scandinavia. I am Coeliac and Danish. original.gif

#25 giggleandhoot

Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:14 AM

Good luck at the Dr's. My DD2 is like that..we cut gluten and wheat out..we were tested for Celiac but inconclusive as she was off it anyway - her behaviour also improved when off it..she was always crying and cranky child. She rarely eats dinner, she's lactose intolerant - but now refuses even the lactose free milk!
She still is super skinny and tall for her age - and i dread when she's sick as there's no meat on her bones for back up for not eating.

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