Toddler Alex Tesoriero was born 11 weeks premature and developed a physical aversion to anything near his face or mouth. The condition has prevented him from ever tasting food.
"Trying to get Alex to eat is the worst part of my day and everyone ends up in tears," said mother Lisa Tesoriero, according to Fox News.
"Alex has chronic lung disease and remained on oxygen for the first 12 months of his life, so he has always had tubes stuck to his face. When we try to feed him he either won't open his mouth or he'll just freak out," she added.
Tesoriero does not even like when his parents kiss him.
"Just coming near his face is distressing for him and it's 100 per cent due to all the treatment that he has had," Lisa Tesoriero said.
The toddler is fed through a tube directly into his stomach every two or four hours a day. His parents tried giving the 19-month-old solid food for the last year but made no progress. He spent the first five months of his life in the hospital where doctors had to resuscitate him three times.
The toddler has endured 10 blood transfusions, an operation to repair an inguinal hernia, and suffered a collapsed lung and fractured wrist, Fox News reported.
He also has other ongoing health issues caused by the physical aversion, such as chronic lung disease and being behind developmentally.
"Because it's a psychological problem and there is nothing physically wrong, each specialist sends us to the next specialist, who tells us to give it time," Lisa Tesoriero said, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
The Tesoriero family feels isolated by their son's condition and hope their story provides support to other families in a similar situation.
"There are a lot of babies born premature, but there are not a lot of kids being tube fed for this psychological reason and support is very hard to find," Lisa Tesoriero said.