Ask for help

It is very helpful to consult the hospital nutritionist to obtain more information and ideas on how to add more protein and calories to your childs diet.

I had two quite different experiences with hospital nutritionists. At the children's hospital, I couldn't get the doctors concerned about my daughter's dramatic weight loss. She was so weak she couldn't stand, and her muscles seemed to be wasting away. I finally asked the receptionist to please send in a nutritionist. A very young woman came in and talked to me about the major food groups. I felt my cheeks begin to flush, and my eyes glistened as I said, "I know what she is supposed to eat; I need to know how I can make her want to eat." I must have sounded a bit crazy, because she just handed me a booklet and backed out the door.

The next week when my daughter began her radiation, the radiation nurse took one look at her and called the nutritionist right down. This nutritionist was very warm and caring. She helped me to understand that I needed to think fat, protein, and calories, and she gave me lots of practical suggestions on how to boost calories. I think that she probably saved my daughter from tube feedings.

Another resource is the American Institute for Cancer Research Nutrition Hot Line, (800) 843-8114, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. A registered nutritionist will answer your questions about your childs nutrition.

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