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Toddler With a Fear of Eating Has Never Tasted Food

 
 
 
 
 
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19-month-old Alex Tesoriero is pictured with his parents Lisa and John at their home in North Balgowlah, on Sydney's northern beaches.

He was born 11 weeks premature, weighing just 437 grams, and the tubes that kept him alive have left him with a physical aversion to anything going near his mouth or face. He’s the boy who simply won’t eat.

Ironically, he is fed through a tube directly into his stomach and although Alex’s parents and doctors have tried desperately to give him solid food for the last 12 months, they have made no progress.

The toddler doesn’t even like being kissed by his parents.

“Trying to get Alex to eat is the worst part of my day and everyone ends up in tears,” said mother Lisa, 31, of North Balgowlah.

“Just coming near his face is distressing for him and it’s 100 per cent due to all the treatment that he has had.

“Alex has chronic lung disease and remained on oxygen for the first 12 months of his life, so he has always had tubes stuck to his face. When we try to feed him he either won’t open his mouth or he’ll just freak out.”

19-month-old Alex Tesoriero is pictured with his parents Lisa and John at their home in North Balgowlah, on Sydney's northern beaches.

Alex spent the first five months of his life in hospital, where he was resuscitated three times, had 10 blood transfusions, and suffered a collapsed lung and fractured wrist. He has also had an operation to repair an inguinal hernia.

Aside from his psychological aversion to eating, Alex has other ongoing health issues as a result of his premature birth; he is behind developmentally and just started to crawl, and has chronic lung disease which will affect him for life.

“Because it’s a psychological problem and there is nothing physically wrong, each specialist sends us to the next specialist, who tells us to give it time,” Ms Tesoriero said.

“But it’s been 12 months and he’s getting smarter now. The more we force him to eat, the more aversive he is getting. He has never known hunger because he’s been fed through a tube every two or four hours.”

Ms Tesoriero and her husband John, 41, describe their situation as isolating and shared their story with The Sunday Telegraph in the hope of finding other families having a similar experience.

“There are a lot of babies born premature, but there are not a lot of kids being tube fed for this psychological reason and support is very hard to find,” Ms Tesoriero said.

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  • Yochana

    The article says the toddler has neve rknown hunger because he’s been fed through a tube every two or four hours. Perhaps that is the problem AND the answer to the problem. Maybe if they back off on the feeding tube long enough to let him feel hunger, he will be more interested in eating something.

  • Hello Lisa, John and Alex
    My twingirls were born in week 23+5. They had a long and difficult time at hospital. They had similar problems and treetments like ductus-operation, ventilator, CPAP, blood-transfusions and more.

    They will soon have their fourth birthday :)

    Nelia doesn´t eat but often taste the food. She gets all her food in a PEG through her stomach wall. She got it very early just some months old as the doctors could see that there wouldn´t be any big change.

    This is a common problems for premature children! Some just have a little dicomfort eating and learns to eat good within a year. Some children learns to eat many years later. I an aware of that it will take time and I don´t feel any rush. The PEG is a fantastic tool :)

    I would love to hear from you. It is nice to talk to somebody with the same issues.

    Yochana, it isnt´as easy as just stop giving the food. I know what you mean and I have discussed it with experts. The child will just get weeker and weeker. I have seen my child starving with no effort to eat as she has been very sick from common virus. I have though seen her wanting to drink more while beeing dehydrated.

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