Have you ever wondered — why on earth is my child hungry all of the time? He has to be full! Well, it could be interoception!
Be sure to learn more about Sensory Processing Disorder and my parenting tips on how to support your child with sensory challenges.
Interoception: Why Does My Child Always Feel Hungry?
My child is always hungry.
And when I say always hungry, I mean it.
From the moment he wakes up until the moment he’s ready to go to sleep, food is often the topic of discussion.
Vman is now eight years old. And for years, I’ve wondered if his incessant appetite is tied to his Sensory Processing Disorder.
Vman was born screaming.
He didn’t stop when they wrapped him up.
He didn’t stop when they handed him to my husband.
He didn’t stop for the next hour.
“I think this child is hungry,” said the nurse. Because I had had an emergency C-section, I was in no condition to breast feed at that moment.
The nurse handed my husband a bottle and Vman downed it like drunken sailor.
The nurses were astounded.
For many reasons (of which I won’t go into here), I ended up bottle feeding Vman after eight weeks.
He could empty a bottle in just minutes.
I often equated it to a college student doing a beer bong.
He quickly gained weight and “booperized” as we called it.
He metamorphosed into a completely round child.
Our pediatrician was concerned at just how booperized he had become and had us monitoring how much formula he drank.
He would have consumed a full bottle every hour if I had offered it to him.
As Vman continued to grow, so did his appetite.
He finished every smashed pea and pureed peach I put in front of him.
As we discovered and learned about Vman’s Sensory Processing Disorder, I always questioned his appetite and wondered if this wasn’t all connected.
It seemed to me that he should be completely full, but his body was telling him that he was hungry.
The more I learn, the more it looks like might we have an internal sense that isn’t working properly in Vman.
We Have 8 Senses
There are eight senses.
Yep, *8*. Mind blown, right?
You have taste, touch, hear, see and smell.
But I’ve always wondered if there was an internal sense.
As the medical community catches up, it turns out there is: interoception.
My Son and Interoception
For the most part, Vman has been a healthy weight.
Despite being in the 25 percentile for height, he has always been around the 75 percentile for weight.
But because it’s consistent for his eight years, we know that he’s not gaining weight and hasn’t since he was an infant.
Today we have the fridge stocked to the brim with healthy options like grapes, cantaloupe and apples.
He can grab them at any time.
But I do worry for him as he gets older and has the freedom to overeat and choose whatever junk food is at hand.
If his body isn’t clicking in to the fact that he’s actually full, how do I teach him to eat within his body’s true needs?
Rather than focusing on the weight, I’ve worked hard on teaching my boys to make healthy decisions and to understand that every food has a certain amount of calories to help us make our bodies work.
Some calories are empty and don’t give you the energy you need.
Others are packed with power but sometimes have more calories than our body can use. It’s all about choices.
At least I understand better that when he says he’s hungry, his body is truly telling him that.
He’s not eating just to eat.
The good news is he is learning the ways to work with his body when his body doesn’t send him the right signals.
Even though he doesn’t always know if he’s truly hungry or not, I often see him grabbing a carrot from the fridge rather than the pretzels nearby.
Now that’s a win!
For further reading about Sensory Processing Disorder:
The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing DifferencesRaising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing IssuesUnderstanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals: A Practical Daily Use Handbook for Parents and TeachersThe Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT INTEROCEPTION BEFORE? DO YOU THINK YOUR SENSORY KID IS AFFECTED?