Dear ATDT community,
I haven't started any topics for awhile but I thought that it might be helpful for parents and families if we each described how we were able to get our children to start eating again. Whether inpatient, at home, any good tips for refeeding that you might have, could be very welcome on this thread. How to get our kids to eat is of course the million dollar question here and one which needs to be initiated before remission and recovery can happen.
So I'll go first:
My d. was refed in a residential program (the first time) after a long period (9 months) where the illness was too strong for me to be able to figure out how to increase her intake and she became more and more ill. After she came home I ate every meal I could with her and increased calories when necessary using cream, butter, oil, etc. And she still managed to lose some weight that summer although not as much as when she had gone into treatment, so I got to weight restore her all over again. It then took me 5 months to get 7lbs on her and that was a huge struggle. I did keep her out of the kitchen when I was preparing meals and ate the same amount of food as she did. I tried to make meals as stress free as possible. Playing music in the background, not talking about anything stressful. Sitting there patiently for as long as I needed to for her to eat. Laddering approaches worked well to reintroduce foods, go to social events where there was food served, and eating in restaurants. Getting her used to eating with others, at first eating before we went and later bringing our own food but gradually becoming able to eat socially again. We also laddered reintroducing eating at restaurants by first looking at menus and ordering some take out from them to eat at home, then eventually going there in person and eating. I didn't rip the bandaid off about fear foods but laddered instead. Another thing I did when she came home was that I continued what they had done while she was in treatment: times of meals as well as choosing a menu for the week. Since she was a young adult they had given her menus to choose from that all had enough calories and they ordered their meals on the weekend. So I did the same thing. We sat down on Sundays and planned out the weeks meals. Then I did the shopping and posted the list of meals on the front of the fridge for the week. I also kept a recipe binder of successful meals she had completed and served many of those over and over again. I did reintroduce new meals as we went forward.
I'll also add that she had a lot of therapy during this time and was also put on an SSRI after weight restoration the first time. And that it was not a straight line to recovery or remission. For a long time it seemed like one step forward, two steps backward.
Anyone else want to describe a little about what they tried and any practical strategies which helped them to become better at meal support?