F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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I know others have gone before me and succeeded. How?

Please share your tips and tricks with me. Feeding a mostly resistant child six times a day is really taking its toll, and I know that I need to keep up my stamina. Should/could I train another family member (my little brother - early 20s) to provide occasional meal support? Have you outsourced any meals or snacks early on in refeeding? How did it go?
Working hard at meal support and WR for an anxious and food avoidant 6yo
Oh dear ... your query bring back the memories. Not good ones.

I kept trying to farm out some of the supervision, and it never went well. No one else could wrap their mind around the need to watch every bite consumed. To watch like a hawk.

It was actually much less stressful for me when I realized I just needed to be the one to watch every bite, every meal. And also much less stressful for her older sis, who had repeatedly experienced my wrath for failing to supervise to my specifications. Not a job for a sib, particularly a younger sib.

Pretty soon, DH could supervise breakfast, but only after a lot of false starts. No one else was attentive enough.
When she was a little further along, older sibs could supervise. At that point, eating wasn't too, too hard for her; she just needed the reassurance that yes, she really did need to eat each meal because friends/sibs were watching out for her. But again, this was only after her brain had healed enough that eating was no longer a major trauma for her.

You can do this. Hang in there - it does get better.


"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Oh I meant my little brother! Have edited to clarify.

Otherwise, though. I'm hearing you. And Oh Gee. [frown]
Working hard at meal support and WR for an anxious and food avoidant 6yo
Hmmm ... It is really hard for people to grasp the need to watch every bite go in, be chewed, and swallowed. Without negotiation or anything left on plate. If your brother understands that - really gets it - then it sounds like it's worth a try. Sometimes it's easier for Ed-kids to eat with "outsiders" because they are embarrassed to act out in front of them the way they do with a parent.

And, as you know, it's really important to take care of yourself and keep your strength up. It would be great if you could get some respite from supervising every meal.

Please do keep us posted.


"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Hi schnook, it's such a difficult job on your own , my h and I share it and my d often says she can try to get rid of food with dad so he is very aware and I constantly remind him of how easily she can do it. She will still ask her dad can she not eat food and pretend to me that she did so if you are asking your brother is he aware of how manipulative ed can be and she needs to eat everything and not to leave food unattended as she may try to get rid of it before meal times. My d ate lunch in a tiny office with a school Chaplin and managed to get rid of some of her meal. If you feel you can educate your brother about it and also staying with her for an hour after meal time it would be great for you to get a break. If I hadn't had to do this myself I could never be prepared for what ed makes them do so that they don't have to eat. Could you start with a snack to see how they get on.
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
Another sole parent here. No doubt it is really hard re-feeding on your own. For me the hardest part was keeping on working (there was no way I could afford to take more than a week or two off work at a time, and ideally that needed to be planned ahead), and managing the household whilst taking on the huge increase in time that D's illness wreaked. When things were going really badly she was in hospital (which I am sad to say was easier), when they were going better I had to find an extra six to eight hours a day for food supervision, because that is how long the meals took, let alone meal prep. 
My D has not seen her father since a baby, we have a small family and all of my friends work so there was little back up.  
That being said, I did get my mother to help out with some occasional meal supervision. Despite trying desperately to educate, it really is very hard to teach people how important that 100% supervision is. I tended to use that help for smaller meals, so that I could top up else where when I was on the job. I think by all means educate and look for some outside helpers, I remember Daniel Le Grange saying he thought FBT for sole parents required a significant other of some type to help out, in order to be effective. Just don't expect them to be as on the job as you are. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Single parent here as well.  My Ds have almost no contact with their father and he still does not know about the ED by D's request.  My older D is ASD, so no help with refeeding at all.  I have no family in the area so we were totally on our own, but with a fantastic medical team.

I took a year off work and we lived off of savings.  There was no way I could have juggled work and refeeding, especially not with 2 special needs kids.  My D needed consistent calm and patience.  Someone else supervising meals would have backfired.  Since going back to work in August, I needed to quickly arrange 2 weeks off again in December when things went south temporarily.  I am the one she needs here with her. 

I was worried about my stamina during re-feeding but you get through what you need to when it is urgent.  I think it is just as hard later, and there are a few posts about that.  However, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll get through it.

People ask me how I did it, like I'm super human or have a magic wand or something.  But you just do what needs to be done to save your child.

My biggest piece of advice to you is to remove everything non-essential from your life.  I did not see or talk to my friends (who all understood and gave me the space I needed), I forgot about work entirely, my grass grew long, my gardens went unweeded, my house was messy, I wasn't even reading for pleasure.  You need to give yourself permission to let everything else go and focus on what is important.  You can pick up the pieces of your life later.

If you can find opportunities for self-care, do them.  For a while I went to yoga, which was great.  A warm bath, a cup of tea, staring blankly at the television, staying in your pjs, a good book to read when you can find a minute.  I joined a parent support group when I could leave my D for a couple hours, and that helped.  And this forum, so you don't feel alone.

Having someone on standby to run to the grocery store when you can't leave your child is something I wish I had had.  

You can do this!

Sending you strength!

Colleen in Ontario

Single Mom to DD#1 (20), Autism Spectrum Disorder (diagnosed at 16 1/2), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder
and DD#2 (17), In solid recovery from Restrictive AN, Managing Social Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, ASD, finished with IP and FBT, successfully managing school and life

If, at the end of my days, I can say I saved the life of not only my child, but helped to save the life of someone else's child as well, then I have lived a good life.
Iaminspired wrote:
....Having someone on standby to run to the grocery store when you can't leave your child is something I wish I had had.  

Colleen is spot on to suggest you consider other ways your bro might be able to help - either in addition to or instead of actual meal support:

Shopping and cooking
Distracting during or after meals
Laundry and essential cleaning (the rest of the cleaning can wait)
Running errands

Don't be shy in asking for help from friends, relatives, members of your church, etc.

Although ED is not a "casserole illness," many will pitch in to help if you let them know what you need.

Keep swimming.



"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP