13 Pavements

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Liv has Pica.

I'm not sure if this should be a mountain or a molehill.  Either way, it's really stressing me out.

Her "food" of choice?  Rubber bands and hair.

I know.

I almost can't stomach the hair thing.  No, really.  It's been a smallish issue since she was around 5 months old.  It concerned me enough that I brought it up to her GI specialist and he did tests to check her for bezoars (Yes, like the Harry Potter bezoars- for real.  But kind of not.  Did I just majorly dork out there?  I so did.) .  After she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma it became considerably worse.  She has actually started pulling it out of her own head.  I'm trying really hard not to react too strongly when she does this and shame her into certain behaviors. I know that will make it worse.  But how exactly do I effectively help my toddler not eat hair?

It's seriously upsetting.  I feel like maybe I'm over-reacting...but then maybe I'm not.  I have no idea.  No one I know, aside from a few pregnant friends, have had to deal with this.  Pregnant women are slightly more reasonable to deal with than toddlers when it comes to food ingestion so really, it's not so much a help.

A few suggestions have been made, including gel-ing and oiling her hair at night making it harder to grab and pull out.  But all that happened was this:

Her pediatrician is going to try a few more things and I'm going to bring it up with her oncologist next week.  But, geez.  Really?  I don't even know what to do about it.

Help.  Anyone?


  1. Maybe try putting mittens with velcro (like the heavy duty snow ones) on while she sleeps?

  2. When my Liv sucked her fingers, we put mittens on her every night and used zip-ties that we had to cut off every morning. It was ruthless, but it worked. I have a friend with a hair-pulling-out condition and she just shaves her head and wears a wig when she goes out. That may be the least comforting thing you've ever heard.... I'll ask her for her thoughts.

  3. Remember how Dani used to eat the mortar between the bricks on our house? It caused a lot of dental problems. Her doctors all told us there was a mineral she was lacking that cause her unusual hunger. Every time she would tell me, "I'm going out front to set on the porch". I always said back "Don't eat the house" and she would laugh.

  4. Britt and Leah- Definitely trying the gloves thing. Genius idea.

    Laurie! I totally forgot about that! That gave me a good laugh.

  5. From everything I've heard/read about pica it's caused by a nutritional deficiency. Like pregnant women wanting dirt = low iron. It's really the body's way of surviving and finding a way to get what it needs. The body truly is amazing.

    On the same ticket, I didn't know that hair had any nutritional value. My vote: bring sweet Olivia over to see Uncle Jon (and her auntie and cousin) and have Jon do some testing. If it's a nutritional deficiency (and not just a weird obsession) then feeding the body what it's craving should remove the need to eat hair.
    I wouldn't be surprised if the deficiency has something to do with loosing her eye.

    Most important, trust Olivia's body and listen to her cues. Again, the body is TRULY amazing!

    Love you!

  6. She IS majorly iron deficient. Although it's not the typical kind of iron that causes anemia, it's ferritin iron. It's being treated with a pretty heavy supplement right now. It could all be related, but I agree, I think the eye cancer contributed.

  7. oh man.. Jamen likes to suck on our fire place rocks. ODD but when i started giving him redmond clay for consipation issues. He stopped sucking on the fireplace.

  8. I had a friend who's daughter was doing the same thing, but when awake. Her occupational therapist put her on a "sensory diet" where they gave her cooked spaghetti noodles and string, etc to play with and feel a lot and she stopped. She is autistic, so it may be a totally different all

  9. What about a swimming cap for sleeping? Snug fit might discourage some of that. I would also second the 'sensory diet' and maybe try varieties of noodles. Maybe even get some yard to play with and see if that helps, of course she may try to eat that too. :) This too shall pass....