A mum has claimed her 'starving' son rifles through bins for food – because a rare genetic disorder means he never feels full.
Little Frankie Udall, from Essex, suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome, an incurable disease that leaves the four-year-old often screaming in hunger despite having just eaten.
His 21-year-old mum, Tayla, feels like she is continually 'starving her own child', despite knowing it is best for him in the long term.
The disorder leaves Frankie so hungry that he lashes out at his mum and two-year-old brother, Albie, through frustration and Tayla has even had to install a stairgate to prevent him accessing the kitchen alone.
"As a mum, when your child cries you want to feed them. This goes against your instinct,” Tayla said.
"Frankie will eat a meal then want to keep on eating. He'll wake up thinking he's starving, eat his breakfast then ask for more and I have to say no.”
Since starting school, Tayla believes the routine and eating when the other children eat has helped Frankie understand meal times and portions.
The little boy will have two snacks along with lunch during the school day but Tayla has his dinner on the table for exactly 4pm to avoid a 'complete meltdown'.
"I try to give him fruit to make him feel full up while helping him stay healthy,” Tayla said.
"After his dinner and pudding, he'll then ask for more food later in the evening. I have the challenge of trying not to make him feel like he's going without.
"He constantly forgets he had dinner and will eat a meal then ask for food half an hour later. When we say no, he'll start screaming.
"I have to let the boys eat dinner in separate rooms because Frankie will try to steal Albie's dinner.”
From when he was a baby, Tayla knew something wasn't right as Frankie was feeding a lot more than normal children.
As a first-time mum, Tayla admits she dismissed it and thought he was just a hungry baby, even when at the age of two he was eating 'like he hadn't eaten before'.
"Once he was going through a growth spurt and ate so much that his belly was bloated to the point I thought he'd be sick,” she said.
"I do give Frankie a little bit more than you would a normal five-year-old but it's hard.
“It's bad to overfeed him and no matter what I give him, he'll never fill up.
“We have to give him fruit and vegetables and home cooked dinners to help him maintain a healthy weight.
She claims one of her biggest fears is that Frankie will become obese and find himself unable to keep up with his friends while playing.
"I don't want Frankie to be overfed and unhealthy,” she said.
"He's a really active child. I don't want him to start eating the wrong things.
"I'm hoping that when he does get older, he'll have learnt how to handle his symptoms and know that overeating is bad for him.
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