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Are my son's belly aches real?
Q: My 5-year-old son has always been a fussy eater, but now he refuses anything except a tiny bit of fruit. He's always complaining of a "bad belly."

I don't know whether it's because he's hungry. I worry if I keep on going on about it I'm making more of an issue, but it's so hard! I'm about to have another child and didn't know if this was my son's way of getting attention.
A: My first recommendation is that you speak with his pediatrician as soon as possible, Claire. The doctor will be able to determine whether your son has a gastrointestinal disorder, which could cause his “bad belly." He may also be anxious about the birth of his new sibling.

Another question we always ask is if he looks like he's losing weight. It has been my experience that some children who won't eat a traditional meal are actually snacking throughout the day unbeknownst to Mom. A 5-year-old is certainly able to get into the refrigerator and cupboards on his own. To ease your concerns, and to make sure he's not actually sick, please call the doctor.

Susan M. Leisner RD, IBCLC, RLC Nutritionist & Lactation Consultant