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Feeding issues…still…is there any hope for a real meal anytime soon?

Posted Oct 02 2009 3:04pm

Outside Hannah’s vocal cord weakness and laryngomalacia, our biggest issue for her is feeding-related issues.

I have to tell you.  Trying to feed Hannah by spoon each day, few times a day, is my biggest disappointment.  It is still an incredible fight to get her to eat by spoon, and she will still only eat stage 2 fruits by spoon.  We still feed the majority of her food through her Avent bottles, even pureed stage 3 foods.  She is now on whole milk and no formula.

HUGE accomplishment coming…

As for feeding by hand, she now will eat air-puffed foods.  Cheetos are her absolute favorite.   She will eat four or five of these at one sitting.  She actually will dig her two bottom teeth into it.  Thank goodness for Cheetos!  She also is eating the air-puffed Gerber-like air puffed foods like the wagon wheels, air tubes, and the little air-puffed stars.   She will also eat Vanilla wafers and gerber-like cookies! 

So, we are definitely making some strides.  We are dealing with two completely separate, yet both totally frustrating issues.  First one is that she will not be spoon-fed.  She also won’t eat it if we leave it on her plate, toys, or a spoon next to her.  Yet she will put EVERYTHING in her mouth that is not food, and she will chew like there is no tomorrow on those.  Yet, when she is willing to be spoon fed, we have to slip the spoon in her mouth, between her lips, at the right angle between her gums and teeth.  She does NOT open her mouth for it.  It will take 30 minutes for one stage-2 jar of food, IF we are lucky.

The other issue is that she doesn’t like chunks in her mouth.  We haven’t been able to get into real stage-3 type of foods yet because of this.  We are slowly making progress, as she will take thicker with micro-chunk stage-3 foods, like a blueberry-banana type that had tiny pieces of blueberries in them.  Anything else, she will either spit out or attempt to gag out any little chunks.

It is almost as if she doesn’t put “chewing” and “food” together.  She chews on toys.  She chews on non-breakable food (like beef jerky, carrots, etc).  But if it will be something that breaks off in her mouth.  No chewing.  That’s why the recent advancement of her eating Cheetos air-puffs and other air-puffed baby foods is such a big deal.  She doesn’t chew on them, but she does work them in her mouth and swallow them.

Anyway, why are these a problem, outside of the obvious?

Hannah now isn’t getting enough calories.  She has been around 20 lbs for almost 4 months now.  It isn’t that she isn’t eating, the problem is that what she is willing to eat is just not caloric enough.  In one day, she will eat about 7 to 8 jars of stage 2/3 foods plus about 18 oz or more of whole milk.  Plus a few air-puff sweets every now and then.  Five full meals a day.  She just doesn’t have the stomach space to add more.

She is just so active now, especially in her little walker.  She just zooms all over the house. 

I talked to Dr. Vartabedian about it, Hannah’s GI doc, and he recommended started to add Pediasure and Boost Essentials to her bottles in addition to the milk.  

Thankfully, we are meeting with a pediatric nutritionalist on Tuesday so we can come up with a real plan on feeding so that we can increase the calories, make sure she is getting the correct amount of protein, etc.  We have been just “winging it” for so long, and since she isn’t making as much progress as we had hoped by this point at 14 months, we have to work with what we are given.

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