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You Can Re-feed Your Child

You fed your child when she was little; you can feed her now. The shortest way to say how is “Just get her to eat one more bit than she wants to at each meal.”

That’s it. One bite, one step at a time. Small successes will lead to bigger ones.

You can do it mom and dad! If you need help let me know. That’s what I do – help parents to help their kids.


To learn more about eating disorders go to www.why-my-daughter.com to download my free e-book called Eating Disorder Basics for Parents.


Comments on: "You Can Re-feed Your Child" (2)

  1. Hello! I applaud you for getting this blog started. Helping a loved one through an eating disorder is hugely challenging, and having a source of advice available is a great thing.

    I am not a parent, nor am I a doctor or psycholologist; I’m a 24-year-old woman who’s been living with anorexia for 10 years and bulimia for 7. With that disclaimer, there’s something I would like to mention about this post. Re-feeding is crucial to recovery, yes, but having been routinely re-fed with no successful recovery, I would argue that therapy and understanding precede weight gain in importance (except in the case where life is at stake, in which refeeding would be done in the hospital rather than at home). When I was first diagnosed with anorexia at age 14, my parents focused on the feeding and weight gain, and made little effort to helping understand what had led to the development of the disorder. I was made to feel as though I’d done something wrong. Furthermore, with myself as with many others, anorexia was in part a way for me to assert control over sitations I perceived as overwhelming; by “forcing” me to drink supplements and take second helpings, I felt they were robbing me of the only coping mechanism I had. Compounded by the lack of understanding on my own or my parents’ parts, it’s not surprising that this led to excessive exercise, followed by developing bulimia. Since then, I’ve been on a path veering among extremes: going days without food, then diving into 10,000-calorie binge-purge sessions, and exercising 4 to 5 hours per day. Because my externally-driven recovery attempts were so poorly constructed, I’ve adopted the opinion that recovery may never happen for me.

    In short, it can be dangerous for parents to focus too heavily on refeeding and weight gain, no matter how instinctive this focus is. Both parent and child MUST get an understanding of the disease and a respective for each other if there’s to be any hope of long-term recovery.

    • Hi. Thanks for commenting. I totally understand what you are saying and I agree; there needs to be a balance between re-feeding and parental understanding/education/therapy. To me it seems like there are extremes in the ED field right now between re-feeding at home (family based treatment – FBT) and individual therapy which has been the standard over the years.

      My goal is to strive for balance; thus the first post about families asking why this happened and working on underlying issues and then this one on re-feeding. Any trained FBT therapist should know there is not a one size fits all treatment. Research is showing that for adolescents, done correctly, re-feeding at home can be more effective. Not necessarily effective with younger adults or with bulimia.

      Not trying to preach here, just clarifying and responding to your thoughts. It is so complicated and as you have you experienced, recovery is difficult no matter what approach is used. I hope this blog can be a venue for us to have these conversations and talk about all aspects of recovery.

      I am so concerned to read that recovery may never happen for you. I appreciate you sharing this part of your story and I will maintain hope in your behalf, if that is not too presumptuous. Anyway, yes parents need a balance of both of these. Thanks so much.

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