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Eating disorders/ food issues- does it affect how you feed your kids?

(9 Posts)
diverchick Thu 03-Sep-09 15:11:51

Anyone with eating disorders past or present- how did you make sure it didnt affect your children's eating?

I've now got a 6mth old daughter and the preparation for weaning is underway and while Im excited about her moving forward and growing up, Im realy struggling to do the right thing regarding her foods. I feel as if I am going to struggle to get it right regarding her food choices. I think this is due to my history of food issues, which while they arent a massive problem right now, they are still lurking beneath the surface and I know my husband has concerns that I will let my own views cloud my judgement- guess Im posting as I think he is probably right.

Anyone else had this issue- how did you handle it?

ToffeeCrumble Thu 03-Sep-09 17:04:16

I don't have eating disorders, but i think as long as you bear in mind that small kids need the opposite to adults. ie We need low fat, high fibre and they need High fat and not too much fibre, but other than that the same, ie fruit and veg, protein etc then you should be fine.
Mine are a bit older but i tend to often have a lower fat version of what they have. Ie They will have a full fat cheese sauce, but i will use low fat creme fraiche

mathanxiety Thu 03-Sep-09 17:58:18

You will not go wrong by following general recommendations and asking your DH to help you if you feel your perspective is leading you astray. Maybe keep a diary of your feelings? I think eating disorders can have an adverse effect on how you approach feeding a child, but later on as the child (esp if it's a DD) grows, it's even more important to watch out if you catch yourself complimenting her on her appearance, not even necessarily how slim she looks, in fact, making any remark at all about how she looks. Also if you find yourself talking to her about anyone else's appearance, even compliments, stop yourself. I have an older family member whose main topic of conversation was the appearance of others, especially the size of other women's bums. This person never failed to compliment my appearance, and while you might think that was nice, the whole thing added up to a strange focus on appearance -- it was the only thing that seemed important to her. Too much exposure to someone like that is a bad, bad thing.

ToffeeCrumble Thu 03-Sep-09 23:39:48

That's interesting what you say about always focussing on appearance rather than what people can do mathanxiety. My mum was always quite a looker when younger and always compliments my daughters on their clothes and cuteness. I was more of an ugly duckling, but i find myself complimenting my girls on their appearance a lot. I think i need to stop that as it is not sending the right message. Sorry to go off on a tangent diverchick.

diverchick Fri 04-Sep-09 11:50:25

thanks both- good points especially about compliementing appearance. I'd only ever thought about it the other way, how I'd experienced it. I was never compliemented as a child, Dad was awol and my mother was too caught up in her own issues about the divorce and also other things. So no one ever told me I looked pretty, smart, lovely, etc. She'd not even ask me how my day at school was (though she was a good mother in most areas)

So much so I remember a well meaning male friend of my aunt saying to me I looked pretty, could be model (in a nice way, not pervy!) when I was bout 13. I was absolutely thrilled and remember that evening very clearly even now, 20 yrs on!!

I grew up with shite esteem issues which i guess are part of the foodthing. While I've never been fat, I've been very careful to ensure I wasnt. Probably connected though I've not really thought about it until now , y studied nutrution at uni and worked in the field for several years. Now, I actually think that I have got too much information really grin- ie i know so many good reasons why we shouldnt give sugar to kids, fast food, etc and I while I know moderation is key, I know I will struggle to provide such occassional foods.

Sorry am rambling now...

SuziDee Fri 04-Sep-09 13:06:10


I have struggled with eating disorders in the past and have 1 DS nearly two and am pregnant again. In some ways I am lucky I was forced to address my issues because my periods had stopped and I had to work very hard to get pregnant before DS arrived.

It sounds to me as though you still have unresolved issues that you need to deal with have you had any counselling or found a support with others?

I was worried about passing this on and it must be more worrying with a DD I found that I really enjoyed seeing DS eat and one of the keys for me was always eating something with him. I remember clearly my mother not eating with us or moving food away so that she didn't eat it.

I also agree about not commenting on appearances that is a very interesting point I cringe if I hear his grandad commenting on fat bellies and chubbiness etc.

You don't have to let your kids eat crap, DS has cake occasionally and I don't forbid anything we just don't have it in the house. I think it's possible to eat healthy fats and be healthy without being anal about cals.

Just the fact that you are addressing the issue now is good just having that awareness will help you! x

mathanxiety Fri 04-Sep-09 19:47:41

There are many other things you can compliment a child on, like politeness, helpfulness, how much effort they put into their drawings or homework (effort is a better thing to compliment than the results), or talk to them about, such as what book they're reading, what sport they like, music they listen to.. I found that the relentless focus on appearance, even though the comments were positive, had the effect of making me very self-conscious and body conscious as a child. At the same time, I never felt that my interests or efforts were noticed or supported that much. Funny to see the observation about the mum never eating with the children, or pushing food away... Clear childhood memory there for me too. I had to stop this particular family member from constantly complimenting my own DDs and making remarks about how she needed to lose five pounds out loud in front of them. She has gained and lost those same five pounds for 40 years. I actually think having a child to feed can help a person with an eating disorder, because you have a chance to refocus on doing the right things and you see for yourself the result of your child having a normal relationship with food. A friend with bulimia told me that she felt good about her body for the first time ever when she saw the lovely healthy baby she had produced. She was the one who told me about keeping a diary of her thoughts and feelings while responsible for feeding her baby.

HeartOfCrystal Tue 08-Sep-09 00:30:50

Hi i have a history of eating disorders, so i can kind of understand how you feel. i found that because i was always frantic about knowing every calorie/ nutritional value of pretty much every thing i ate, that i could quite easily plan out my ds meals ensuring he got everything he needed (and treats for after dinner). I also found that my insecurities regarding my own weight have never clouded my judgement with my sons i know he is a totally normal weight. I was consumed by my ed for months before i found out i was pg with dc2 ( 14weeks) i mean seriously on a nasty path. As soon as i found out i was expecting BOOM something snapped i was overwhelmed by guilt that i may of harmed the baby, i have been open and honest with the doctor about it, and even told my mum ( who already had an idea but couldn't handle asking the questions) Your Dh knows your past so that will help if you ever feel like your not doing the best you can ask his opinion (although he'll offer it if he has concerns). I know its hard but am sure your doing a great job with your baby girl or you wouldn't be worrying in the first place. Try to relax about the weening phase its not as scary as it seems. I had the same fear when it came to it with ds and there has been no need to worry at all. Hope this helps xxx

puppie Tue 08-Sep-09 14:11:42

I agree with getting a plan from your HV (provided she is not one of the nutty ones) and forcing yourself to stick safely to age appropriate healthy eating guidelines for your LO. I suffered from an eating disorder for many years and I am afraid that I may be projecting my eating issues on DS in the OPPOSITE way to compensate because I do not want to restrict his food intake the way I did mine for so many years. So what I am saying as watch out for the danger of overcompensating and causing different eating problems.

I agree with the appearance thing too, my mum was also attractive when young and gave me a hard time while growing up if I wasnt wearing enough blusher, foundation, the right clothes, had not blow dried my hair nicely etc! She told me at the age of 17 that I was losing my looks (when everyone else told me opposite). Its only as I have grown older that I have realised what damage this did me and I vow to be very very careful with my DC's self esteem. Good luck and I'm sure you'll do the right thing by her smile

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