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Rumination Disorder in Infants And Children - How To Manage It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Kalrav Mistry 90% (106 ratings)
MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Jodhpur  •  8 years experience
Rumination Disorder in Infants And Children - How To Manage It?

While it is normal to ruminate and most people spend some time ruminating every other day, rumination disorder is quite different and is seen as a mental condition. But what really happens when a person has rumination disorder?

With rumination disorder, sometimes known as mercycism, a person can be expected to bring up food that has been swallowed so that it can be re-chewed and then swallowed again. While this is generally the case with most people who have it, there can be some cases of rumination disorder in which the person spits out the food that has been eaten already.

But what exactly causes it? Experts have not been able to point out a single or a set of causes leading to this condition. However, it is commonly seen in babies and it is perceived that if a baby is not given the sort of attention that is required, it is his/her way of soothing himself or herself.

Since rumination disorder is usually tied to a lack of affection for a baby, it can be said that allowing someone other than the parents to feed him or her can have a good effect. If the person who is experiencing rumination disorder happens to be an adult, then whenever there is a feeling of a need to engage in rumination, a small amount of chewing gum can be provided so as to suppress this need.


When it comes to health and wellness ‘prevention is better than cure’. However, in this case, there is no one thing which can be done in order to successfully prevent rumination disorder from affecting somebody. This is probably due to the fact that there are no explicit causes known. Having said that, if a parent shares a bond that is strong with the baby, it can go a long way in possibly reducing the chance of the baby being affected by rumination disorder and also, stave off other issues which occur when a child does not get enough attention.

However, do note that it is not true that a baby who is ruminating would continue to do so for the rest of his or her life. What is scary about rumination disorder is the fact that a person who engages in it is threatened by dehydration and malnutrition, and this is exactly why an effort should be made to get it treated as soon as possible. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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