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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

3 year old DS not eating - it's been a week now. Any medics around?

(15 Posts)
Signoritawhocansway Wed 27-Jul-16 16:54:30

I'm after some advice or friendly reassurance from anybody medical/nutrition/dietician or a parent with fussy eaters.

My son is 3 next week. Since last Thursday he has been ill with high temperatures over 39 degrees (which resolve with Calpol), and after a trip to OOH and then to GP has been diagnosed with tonsillitis (again) and is now on Antibiotics (since Monday).

My issue is that he won't eat. Not even soft food. Not even sweet soft food as bribery. He hasn't eaten properly since Thursday, and on the days that he is eating, this involves for example: half a hash brown, half of one Weetabix (breakfast times), about 6 small spoons of custard, same amount of spaghetti in tomato sauce (at lunchtimes), a handful (his hand - so tiny) of pom bears. The thing he has eaten most of is watermelon - he would normally trough a quarter of a melon in one go, and he's managing just a couple of small triangles now.

He IS drinking - we manage to get a cup of milk down him before his bedtime and nap (with nesquick milkshake powder to add vitamins etc) and he will drink a small amount of water through the day - but even this amount has gone down over the last couple of days, and he would usually down a beakerfull (200ml) with no problem.

I am reluctant to take him to GP again - I had to call 111 last night as he had an episode of losing colour (a bit like a de-sat when he was a tiny baby in NICU) and first I got asked whether I was sure my thermometer was accurate (his temp was 39.2) and then told I shouldn't expect the abx to work overnight - I wasn't, I was calling about his colour change, which was a new symptom.

I'm happy that he is on meds for tonsillitis, and that his wee has been checked and is clear. It's pretty obvious his reluctance to eat is due to sore mouth/throat (he's also had a large mouth ulcer, which hasn't helped). But he is so skinny anyway that this 'not eating for a week' is making me very anxious and no health people seem bothered about it because he's still drinking. He's very pale and quite lethargic - as you would be with no nutrition.

What can I do? (Back story - he was a 27 week preemie with no ongoing issue, but has always been on lower centiles for weight and struggles to gain weight - he's 12kg)

BuddyC4t Wed 27-Jul-16 16:57:51

We had this with my son when he had tonsillitis. We used to give him the weetabix drinks. He wouldn't eat for a week then lived on the drinks for a week. Dr said anything you can get into them is a bonus. We progressed into spaghetti hoops and then he was OK after a few weeks.

idontlikealdi Wed 27-Jul-16 17:07:27

I have 31 week ex preemies so totally understand where you are coming from. They were so tiny and always lost weight when ill, I remember one time all they ate was yogurt for about three weeks.

I think the not eating in itself is understandable as part of the tonsillitis - could you get some pedisure into him? You can get it in boots now.

IwillrunIwillfly Wed 27-Jul-16 17:11:54

It sounds like you're doing a good job getting some food in, even if it's just little bits! As long as he's drinking then don't worry about food, that'll come when he's ready. I know it can be frustrating when everyone keeps telling you that though! If he's not eating much then sugary drinks are good to give him energy and milks great too cos it's got some calories! Is he getting pain killers to help his throat if it's sore? Will he drink things like smoothies and milkshakes to get some more energy in him? Hope he's better soon.

Signoritawhocansway Wed 27-Jul-16 17:48:44

idontlikealdi - what is pedisure? Is it like an infant 'build up'?

iwillruniwillfly - he wasn't given any painkillers, but last time he had it we were given Difflam spray and I've used that again today on him; just not sure it's making a difference. And poor kid is getting quite averse to medicine!

CMOTDibbler Wed 27-Jul-16 17:56:40

Will he have an ice lolly? Very soothing to a poor sore mouth, and when my neighbour had tonsillitis and couldn't eat or drink anything it was lollies that worked

FenellaFerranti Wed 27-Jul-16 17:59:21

You can try full fat milk with cream powder (like milk powder) in it, also making super smoothies with fruit and veg blended with ice cream went down well when DS was ill and struggling to eat.

intravenouscoffee Wed 27-Jul-16 18:04:13

If you're struggling to get anything done him you could try a syringe. Worked really well with DS when he had tonsillitis - 5mls from a syringe every 3-4 minutes adds up quite quickly. And it doesn't feel like much in their mouths so I could usually persuade DS even when he was really sore.

If you can get calpol and ibuprofen into him in regular doses that should help too. And keep going with the difflam if you can. Tonsillitis is miserable flowers

CwtchMeQuick Wed 27-Jul-16 18:05:11

Could you try him with smoothies? When I have tonsillitis I struggle to drink water and find thicker liquids easier to manage. I wouldn't worry too much if you're getting something into him. Try yoghurts and ice cream. Also keep up with pain killers as tonsillitis can be horribly painful

BusStopBetty Wed 27-Jul-16 18:15:43

Keep his pain relief topped up and try things like ice lollies.

You could also try drinks with lots of calories - like those complan type shakes. Or things like smoothies or milkshakes?

FruitCider Wed 27-Jul-16 18:16:13

To be honest I would worry more about the lack of fluids. Humans can live for a long time without eating, but not without drinking. Being dehydrated will also keep their temp raised.

I would stop giving milk etc as it's actually digested as a food and not a drink, and focus on offering squash/water. Oh and regular calpol! Go and see a doctor tomorrow if no better.

summertimeandtheweatheris Wed 27-Jul-16 19:00:58

Don't worry too much about the food, the fluids are the most important. Think about the amount over a week & as long as he is eating something & drinking enough, he will be ok. Milkshakes, yoghurts, basically anything he fancies. That pedisure is a good suggestion or complan or just a milkshake.
My son gets regular infections, throat or chest about once a month & not eating is the first sign, this lasts through the worst of it and for a few days after.

We were advised when he has not eaten for a while to use milkshakes to keep him energised or orange juice, ice lollies etc. At the hospital during the last tonsillitis they basically said give him anything - jam sandwiches, Ribena anything!
When your little one is well, you can build him up again, it may be worth popping him on your home scales just for your own piece of mind & then in a few weeks just check it again to make sure he is not losing weight.

summertimeandtheweatheris Wed 27-Jul-16 19:02:36

To add, if he still has 39 temp then I would go back to GP, it could have been a virus as well as the tonsillitis or may need a different antibiotic.

Signoritawhocansway Wed 27-Jul-16 19:43:39

Oh thanks everyone for your reassurance. I think we've turned a corner today, as his temp hasn't been high today and he actually ate some dinner (mashed potato and mashed veg with butter).

Problem is with smoothies and the like is that he is a reluctant trier of new things at the best of times - and I have been having smoothies for managing my pregnancy sickness, but he won't go near them.

We add the milkshake powder to all of his milk drinks, so that's good.

summertime - he finally tipped 12kg in April. When they weighed him at the hospital yesterday, he was just 12kg still - so static weight gain over three months. Do you (or anybody) think that's a cause for concern?

summertimeandtheweatheris Wed 27-Jul-16 19:53:39

Glad he has turned a corner & hope he continues to get better. In regards to the weight, is he under a consultant normally? Do you have a good GP?

I can only relate to my experience, but my eldest stop growing for a year, weight was static & height stopped, he is under GOS for other things, but they used the weight/height as an indicator of health & sign there could be other things going on & always took it seriously.

Number 2 who gets infections all the time has been the same weight for nearly a year, he has been refereed to an endocrine as not gaining & slow growth was a cause for concern to the GP. She has sent us for a nutritionist appointment as well as running some tests to check for anything specific.

When he is better, I would go & see the GP about the weight & if you have a consultant, mention it next time.

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