One thing we have figured out is why Stasik cries when we take food away. He is stuck in a trust vs. mistrust crisis. This stage of psychosocial development is going to be very important for us to get through before he will truly thrive with us. Stasik still rocks when we set him on the ground or in a bumbo. We have also noticed that he will get on his hands and knees and place his forehead on the floor and rock back and forth while rubbing it on the ground. For those of you reading this that don't understand why, I will tell you. Children that are abandoned or feel lonely do this as a mechanism to comfort themselves. It is a trait most common with children of neglect; those that have been abandoned. It is a phenomenon seen with many children from orphanages or institutions like the ones in the Ukraine. It is very sad to watch and for many children this will go on well into their adult lives if their situation does not change. For children like Stasik, the only time they were picked up and held was when it was feeding time. Before and after, they are placed in a bed to lay by themselves for hours and hours at a time until it is time to eat again.
I believe that for Stasik, the anxiety is magnified by other factors. Add malnutrition to these emotional needs for comfort and security and you are looking at a little boy that has a enormous preoccupation with when feeding time ends and what that has meant for him. With his gastric issues, he has thrown up a lot of the food that should be giving him the nutrients he needs to be healthy. So in the past, the end of feeding time meant that he would not see food again for several hours, hungry or not. It also meant that for those hours he would lay there alone until feeding time came again. This is a behavioral and psychological response that will take some time to change, but we have already seen progress.
We feed Stasik about 6 times a day (3 bigger meals and 3 snacks) and because of that he is beginning to understand that food will come more frequently. After we feed him we hold him and keep him upright. This serves two purposes, one is to help keep him from vomiting and the other is to help him understand that the end of feeding does not mean he will be left alone. Whenever he begins to rock, we pick him up and comfort him; we tell him that he is safe now and he doesn't need to rock anymore. The frequency has decreased immensely and should, in time, disappear altogether.
We have changed Stasik's diet based on recommendations from multiple doctors and he has been able to keep food down for 2 straight days. His calorie intake has increased substantially and in 48 hours he has gained 8 oz. in weight. We go back to our doctor on Monday to evaluate all of these changes. So far so good!!