This is one of those PWS behaviors that nobody likes to talk about. Bringing food up into their mouths after it's already been swallowed is not only socially unacceptable but also damaging to the lining of the esophagus. This behavior typically starts at a young age and unfortunately is not a behavior that decreases as the child gets older.
In some cases it is a medical issue, gastric reflux, GERD, or excess stomach acid caused by stress can be the problem and in those cases, acid reducers have positive effects. I have also heard of parents having good results with the addition of vitamin A. In other cases the behavior is just that, an unwanted behavior that can cause social isolation in school, embarrassment in front of family members as well as tooth decay. Here's what we have seen that has worked:
- Exercise after a meal. We usually suggest the preferred activity to come after the less preferred activity but in this case hold the exercise until after they eat. Or do both if you can get away with it. Keep the exercise mild, nothing strenuous Moving around after a meal helps your body digest faster and therefore makes it harder to ruminate.
- Sour spray. You will find this is the candy aisle, a no calorie spray with a very strong sour taste that lasts a long time. Because most kids enjoy the flavor they are less apt to ruminate because they want to keep the taste in their mouths. By the time the taste is gone, it's too late to bring any food up.
I hope this helps and remember, never feel alone when dealing with these behaviors. The more we talk the better we'll be.
Manager of PWS Services