At 10, Josh is very thin. He weighs about 57 pounds -- which is a big deal for him. On average, most boys his age have 15-20 pounds on him.
Josh just doesn't like/want to eat. I shouldn't be surprised. It's been like this from the very beginning. After nine days in the hospital, Josh came home on a feeding tube because he wouldn't eat enough from the bottle.
In his toddler years, we quickly saw the lack of an appetite. And since then, nothing's really changed.
Meals are a stressful time in our house as our son still hovers in the 5-10 percentile for weight. We've done everything from yell and scream to beg and cry. Nothing really gets him to eat. I think we've finally come to the realization that his appetite is just not the same as others his age. And it scares us.
I worry that we yell too much -- even though it's out of fear. I worry that we'll give him some sort of eating disorder since we are constantly harping on about food and getting on him about "eating more." I worry that we'll get to a point where he'll need to be admitted to a hospital for fluids. We get scared that he'll get sick because he won't be able to fight off infection.
Like most other things in life, his appetite has good days and bad days. On the bad days, we are lucky to get him to eat the equivalent of four chicken nuggets or half a turkey sandwich. On good days, he'll eat an entire bowl of pasta. We've even tried the protein shake route with poor results.
I am hoping our latest trick works: smaller meals and snacks more often. We think that maybe he just has a tinier stomach and can't hold down much food. Doing this will constantly get food and nutrition into his body. Fingers crossed. :)
We are hopeful that with age -- and even puberty -- his desire and need to eat will grow. Unfortunately, many CHD kids are like this, as we've discovered. But frankly, it just sucks. It sucks that the kid who needs the food the most wants it the least.
About Josh's Mom
By day, Stephanie is in marketing; by night and all other times in between, she's a mom and wife, and highly passionate voice for CHD fundraising and research.