Thursday, October 8, 2009

A really boring post about feeding...

...but I can't stop thinking about it.

Lately this whole feeding thing has been stressing me out. Everyone says, "Trust your instincts", but to be quite honest, I just don't know...

I just don't know what I am doing.

I wonder, over and over and over again, : Will Dylan learn to eat solid foods when he is ready or is this something that he needs to be taught how to do? How much do I push it? Especially now that he has begun to lose weight, do I really want to make feeding a bigger issue by pressuring him into eating solids? But, that being said, it has been recommended to me by his pediatrician as well as our EI team, that Dylan start eating solid food - real food- food that is high in fat and calories, food that will stay down as opposed to being spit up so that he stops losing weight. Problem is - he's not into real food. At all.

I admit that in the past, I had been taking the super-laid back approach (which may not have been the smartest idea, considering where we are at at the moment...). I would offer him things (crackers, eggs, macaroni), sure, but when he'd turned away or act uninterested, I would stop. Ok, fine. So, I'm kinda sorta still doing that. His therapist on the other hand is a bit more, shall we say, 'aggressive' with the solids. Which is probably a good thing, yet every time she places a rather large piece of food into his mouth, I want to yell, "NOO! STOP!"? It just doesn't feel...right. It doesn't feel natural. Especially when he spits it out and it gets pushed back it.

I am told that the reason he spits the food out each and every time, is because of his tongue thrust. I am told that it is not because he doesn't like the food, but rather he needs to be "taught how to move his tongue laterally.". So, why am I not convinced?

I have gotten so many wonderful suggestions as to what I should be feeding him. Suggestions on how to fatten him up. Toast with peanut butter, scrambled eggs with butter and cheese, avocado, beans, pasta. Problem is - he won't eat the stuff. Whether it's the tongue thrust or whatever, nothing of that sort makes it's way down.

I know it supposedly doesn't matter, but he is still toothless. Might it be that he is just not ready for real food? Is this one of those things that I should back off of and let him lead the way? Or do I need to stop slacking and start teaching him how to move that tongue so we are not packing up baby food for him as he goes off to first grade? Kidding!

Thoughts? Thanks!!


Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

A couple things...experiment with the temperature. I found that Joaquin likes things either very hot or very cold....nothing in between. Also, make it flavorful. Add cinnamon, or other nice spices to food. I would start with very pureed foods so it's easier for him and then you can bump it up. Pureed pineapple in things really sweetens things up and makes it yummy so try adding that to things like pureed garbanzo beans or oatmeal/rice cereal. I also add coconut oil to most of his breakfast items to get more fat into his diet. Have you tried the maroon spoons from Talk Tools? Then try feeding from the sides of the mouth which helps bypass the tongue and go more to the cheeks? Just some things that come to mind that have worked for us or that I learned from Sara Rosenfeld Johnson's talks.

Leigh Anne said...

laurie, i've heard of the tongue thrust thing thing i've heard helps is to let him watch you move around a piece of food in your's really gross & goes against what our parents taught us (chew w/ your mouth closed, lol), but that advice comes from an OT. He'll learn to move food from front to back, to swallow, etc.

I'm a pretty laid back parent - do things in their own time kinda mom, and i don't think you need to "force" him, but helping him learn about it maybe at one meal a day to start would help. I wish I had better suggestions, and I'm sorry the cutie bug is losing weight...for calories, hector & jennifer above had some great ideas. syd loves hummus...(the mention of garbonzo beans made me think of that, lol).


Tausha said...

I wish I had advice for you on this. Sam is a pretty good eater but I have noticed that he would rather have his food warm versus cold. He wouldn't eat this pineapple and pear baby food until I warmed it up and then he scarfed it down. Some days he loves Bananas and some days he doesn't. I think they are all picky eaters. I'll keep you in my prayers that things get easier.

Dina said...

A speech therapist told me to add flavor a well. So I dipped Ozzie's grilled cheese in some mustard and he ate it all. So, all I can suggest is reach for the condiments!

Tim and Kelli said...

I have been wondering the same thing and we are setting up a feeding assessment soon. Some things I just don't know. Everything cam nautal with Brooke and there wasn't much to think about.
We go through baby food sooo fast. The last few days I have tried with some sucess using our magic bullet to puree whatever we are eating for dinner and giving it to her. The first try was maybe a little too thick and she gagged the moment I put it in her mouth. I just kept adding milk until it was the texture/consistency I wanted. Going to try and eventaully do this with most meals so she doesn't just get all baby food and slowly getting it thicker. Not sure if that helps or not.
Good luck. I'm sure he won't have baby food jars in his lunch bag on the first day of school :)

Alisa said...

Have you read anything by Joan Medlen Guthrie? She is a nutritionist with an older son with Ds. She has a book on nutrition for people with Ds, published by Woodbine House (20% off in October!) and an article here:
that is about moving from "milk to solids". Her thoughts and info about food textures might be helpful to you. Good luck!

Sharon said...

It is hard to know what's right - that's for sure.

I think Jennifer's suggestions of giving hot or cold and flavored foods is great. Supposedly it gives more "input" which kids with low tone can need. Who knew??

Mindy said...

Liam had a hard time moving to solid food as well. He still sometimes struggles with chewing his food.

I recommend the books Top 100 Baby Purees and Superfoods for Babies and Children both by Annabel Karmel. There are a lot of good recipes in there that can be pureed to the consistency that is needed. There's also flavor in the recipes.

I found, like some other commenters, that Liam likes his food highly flavored. He looooves spicy food. Chili, tacos, eggs with Red Hot and salsa. Try experimenting with flavors, textures, and temperatures.

I'm one that doesn't push things. A little bit at a time goes a long way here.

Wendy P said...

Another vote for for more flavor here, too. Kira has always loved really spicy foods and umami-type foods. So, salsa, hummus, broth rich soups/stews, sauteed mushrooms with garlic, etc.

I wish I had some advice on the process part of things. We started Kira on solids so early (4 months) that I wonder if we lucked into avoiding some issues.

Katie said...

The speech therapist that I've worked with who specializes in pediatric feeding has always told me (and parents) to make it fun and an experience - like playing with cheerios in a little bit of milk or noodle O's in a little broth. Have you tried the Baby Safe feeder (the mesh bag that's like a pacifier)? They are great for sticking any kind of food in and letting him taste and feel and practice chewing, but does not risk choking. I always used them with my kids and rinsed and threw them in the dishwasher - they stain, but they get clean. Let me know if you have questions Laurie.

Rachel Smith said...

I know that we have used special spoons with Aubrey from the beginning and I also let her chew on a toothbrush to get used to texture and stuff.

Our nutritionist says that sweet potatoes and baby oatmeal are the highest calorie foods. Maybe try putting some oatmeal in the stage 2s to thicken it and give it more calories. It won't give it much of a different taste, so he may eat it since it is familiar and you can work on thickening it that way.

The other thing we are doing with Aubrey now is sweet potato fries. Not much gets in, but she is self feeding and it works on the tongue I guess. But that might work two problems as once.

You might ask your pediatrician about adding formula to the whole milk to add calories. We added it to breast milk to help Aubrey before surgery.

Good luck! Keep us posted. Nothing boring about it. It helps you to talk about it I hope and maybe you will get some answers or help.

ds.mama said...

Oh, I have to put in my two cents too :-) Don't back off on feeding... the longer you wait, the more used to NOT eating real food he gets. Summer likes everything warmed up though she will eat things that are plain tasting as well as spiced up.

The biggest thing I do for her is have her chew on her vibrating star teether on and off before mealtimes and I do a couple minutes with the Z-vibe right before I feed her... running it over her gums, tapping the center of her tongue, rolling it up and down her bottom and top lip... all to get her mouth "awake".

Before long I realized that puree was too thin and chunks were too much to manage so I tried hummus and also yogurt thickened with baby cereal. Those seemed to work well and now she eats everything.

Off topic... you are right... I think Summer and Dylan are only days apart. She just popped some teeth... Molars!!! Can you believe that? No front teeth... just both top and one bottom molar. So keep an eye out... you never know where that first tooth will arrive :-)

The Lehnick Family said...

Laurie, I want to thank you for this post...We have regressed a little in the eating department with solids...Brayden has become extremely picky!!! One thing he is LOVING right now is made by Little Horizon in the yogurt section and they make it with a fruit and vegetable serving for the day...he loves the Strawberry/carrot combo and banana/ Sweet potatoe...but seriously has been not even wanting to sit in his high all these tips may help you but ME also! I think every kid just takes some time...I will pass any advice I come across on to you...feel free to post anything on FB for me as well...

Sasha said...

I really don't have too much advice to give you as Wysdom is younger than Dylan and is just starting out with baby foods. I am feeding him by spoon and we do use a syringe though too inbetweens spoon feeds. This gets past the tongue and into his mouth where he just simply swallows it. Guess what..I thought we had a tongue thrust issue too as everything would be pushed out onto his lips and chin. However he proved me wront. When he wants to he can open and swallow the food like a pro. When he doesn't want to he pushes it out. So I am learning!! What happens if you feed him right beside his big sister. Does he do better then? I feel your pain with feeding. I had a feeding break down a while back...because it can be stressful!! Hang in there. My therapist created little slips that I use after each feed to rate how Wysdom does. I put them in a jar and at our meetings we look at them to see how he is doing overall. I thought this would be a big waste of time HOWEVER it has turned out to be the BEST thing as it takes the stress off feeding. You just rate each feed and shove the paper in the jar. It allows you to move on and not hold any judgement or feeling about it. This worked for me as I was getting frustrated and Wysdom probably was picking it up. Just thought I would share in hopes of helping. From one mama with feeding issues to another:)lol

Angela said...

I have no advice, only sympathy. Benjamin is a great eater, but Andrew has ALWAYS been a horrible eater. Not just picky but really slow. And he has texture issues. It literally started when he was five days old (one of the longest days of my life) when our breastfeeding nightmare began, and it ended...oh, wait. He's 3 1/2 and we're still struggling with it. In fact, the doctor had me bring him into the office today to see her so she could look at his tonsils (to see if their size might be hindering him from eating normally). She scheduled him for a swallow study to see what exactly is going on when he eats.
So the tongue thrust and the DS might only exacerbate the fact that Dylan just isn't a good eater.
It is FRUSTRATING and hard. And I'm so sorry. I, too, have been taking the easy way out with Andrew b/c, well, it's easier. But it's still draining when I have to tell my preschooler to chew and swallow about 30 times a day. And I still feed him with a spoon sometimes just so he'll eat.

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