Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving in to Feeding Therapy

We had our first feeding therapy appointment on Monday.

I've decided to play nice and follow directions, do it their way for a while if you will.

Yes, I'm the one that usually shuns directions, determined to "do it myself" while my husband pulls out the directions first when opening a put-it-together-yourself item.

I guess feeding Annabelle was the same way. I've fed 3 children... I should be able to teach my 4th daughter how to eat, right? No therapist need tell me how to mother my child! (I rarely read self-help books either... you're all probably going, so THAT'S her problem....)

But after months of shoving food down my child, having her eat baby food for two weeks then refuse it for a month, and barely getting water down her with a sippy cup, I've decided that I need to back down and take the experts advice on this one, at least for a while. Give it a chance to work.

So we are playing nice with Annabelle's mouth now. Only happy, positive, and good thoughts going on in the high chair. NO more screaming Annabelle while Momma shovels food into her, insisting that she'll get used to after a while.

The therapist said that I'm not allowed to sneak food in either, disguising food she doesn't like with food she likes. She has to "trust" me.

Whoops. I guess the whole putting the binky to her mouth to get her to open it, then dumping food in there instead wasn't a swell idea. Although in my defense, it worked for a while!

Problem is, we only have feeding therapy every other week. And playing nice is NOT easy for this Momma. I'm a wee bit of a "do what I say, because I'm the Mom" kind of Mom. Playing with our food on purpose, smearing it in our hair, on our clothes, and on the high chair, all things that happen when feeding a baby, but not things you ENCOURAGE.

But nope, with Annabelle, this is what we're SUPPOSED to do.

See? I'm getting irritated about it just typing this.

I think they need therapy for feeding therapy for Moms.

16 comments:

Jessica Nelson said...

Hoo boy, I feel you. I rarely read self-help books too.
I hope Annabelle starts playing with her food more and liking it. :-)

Lis said...

Oh my! I feel your pain, sort of. I worked with twins with developmental delays who had feeding issues. They were about 2 age wise but I had to patiently allow them to pour out their food, smear it all over everything and each other, and eventually eat a few bites off their fingers! I'm not sure if feeding therapy was involved, just a mom following the peds orders.It was crazy! But...they did eat a little more each day...Of course later they took to eating dirt and rocks but that's a whole nuther issue! I don't play by the rules either, if I did I'd probably not be here now so.....all I can offer is love n prayers ~

Kristi said...

Prayers! I know this can be difficult. My oldest, Kayli, has a high functioning autism with feeding issues. It takes a while, and is not always fun, but progress does occur! Celebrate the little victories and take lots of pictures of her playing with the food!

Ralene said...

I know my mom can relate, she had to do the same thing with me. It can be frustrating for sure, esp when you have to go against your natural mothering instincts. Stay calm, pray, seek out a therapy group for moms seeking feeding therapy. :P

Jessica Sanford said...

Don't feel bad!!! Children with feeding tubes pretty much all need some kind of feeding therapy, though sometimes a speech therapist does it. The longer the tube in, the harder the oral feeding. Get help to feed orally, and vent to friends/family/ and if needed a counselor because yes, its very frustrating to have to work hard at something that is "supposed" to be easy, and hang in there!!! It will be worth it all in the end when that tube is no longer needed!!!!

Christine said...

I've been there. Charlie was out and out refusing to eat. When it was time to try again, we had OT there with us. In the end, Charlie wanted to sit at a table, not in the high chair. He didn't like purees and only wanted food that had FLAVOR (curries or pasta sauce etc) no purees or bland foods for him. His daycare provider had gone the "You'll eat it and like it" route. It didn't work for him any more than it did for Annabelle.

My fingers are crossed that you find the right combination for her! Good luck!

Cindy said...

Hi Krista.......I've been following your blog for a really long time, and have been praying for your family. This is the first time I've left a comment. I just wanted to tell you how happy I am for you that you're getting help with Annabelle's feeding therapy. I used to teach multi-handicapped preschoolers. Some of the kids had feeding tubes. We worked a lot on feeding skills. Kids who have had feeding tubes have a hard time tolerating eating by mouth. They don't have the concept that when you're hungry, you put food in your mouth.........they associate that concept with their tube feeding. They have also never had all the different textures in their mouths, so having food in their mouths is not always a pleasant sensory experience for them. It's hard to be patient and work through all of it, but your therapist is right.....it is a trust issue. We sometimes tried feeding whipped cream, instead of a normal babyfood.......it has little or no texture, and very little taste. And, we paired the oral feeding with their tube feeding. That caused the feeling of fullness to come simultaneously with their oral feeding. Don't worry, you will eventually get there.........it just takes time. I'll be praying for you.

Tammi T. said...

Krista,
I can empathize with you. We went through some of the same things with Daniel. It went against all my motherly instincts to apply what the therapists told us; however, we made progress -slowly but surely - and today he no longer has his tube.

Hang in there and know there are a lot of people praying for you, including my family.

Krista Phillips said...

THANK YOU everyone for your thoughts on the matter.

Cindy... I never thought about feeding her by mouth DURING her tube feeds. I usually time it so we do highchair/eat time, then feed time right after, so she's at least hungry when she's eating by mouth.

Might try to start her tube feeds WHEN I'm feeding her and see how that goes!

Missy Olive said...

We have always thought that parents of children with feeding issues would benefit from therapy. Feeding therapy is stressful!

Jenny said...

Maybe you should look for another kind of feeding therapist? I had no success with the play with your food model for my daughter either.

I found this website http://www.childrenandbabiesnoteating.com/ to be helpful. I ended up finding a more proactive therapist and my daughter is much happier eating now.

Krista Phillips said...

Jenny! Holy cow, Los Altos sounds AMAZING! Not so sure about living in CA for 4-6 weeks though... not to mention the expense, the idea of it sounds amazing!

Actually, I think our speech therapist at the hospital mentioned something about it too, she didn't mention the name, but it sounds really similar to what she described.

Unfortunately, we are going to the only feeding therapist that is under our insurance, and can't afford to pay on our own for someone different. *sigh* But... I'm going to give this one time first, to see how it works.

Rachelle said...

I'm with you on the whole feeding therapy thing. Logan has been in feeding therapy for 14 months now. He's 22 months old. I never dreamed that I would encourage him to play with his food. Encourage him to have a special toy that he plays with in the high chair while 'eating'. Driving his truck through his mashed potatoes and then through his hair...UGH! However, now on this side of it I can say that for Logan it is working. All those things that I would have never done with my other two kids. Like drinking 7 up in his tipy cup. If he'll eat chocolate then chocolate it is. It started off slow and him eating very little. A good meal would be 1/32 of a piece of toast. Not an understatement there nor a typo. Now, a good meal is 1/2 piece of pizza. It's long and slow sometimes but so worth it. Hang in there.

Veronica said...

It is a very slow process for our kiddos with eating issues. John is 14m and we are working very hard on getting him to tolerate solids. He is very sensitive to them in his mouth. I highly recommend requesting more frequent therapy. We do twice a week with OT and ST working together. The weeks that we only can go once, I see him start backsliding right away! I think every other week is not frequent enough.. just my two cents! Hoping she has a break through. :)

The mom of 4 monkeys! said...

Boy do I understand this! I have four children. The first three naturally ate, no issues or problems. Then baby number 4 came along. I mean, come on, I've done this three times! Feeding is natural and normal! But, not with Ben. It wasn't natural and it wasn't normal. It was hard and frustrating and worrisome, and discouraging. It was so many feelings that no one can understand unless their child can't eat "normally". We had to have feeding therapy for Ben. Our therapist was AMAZING and I am so greatful to her! The last day of his therapy was so bittersweet. After a year of very hard and frustrating work Ben was being discharged. We just loved our therapist and couldn't imagine not seeing her every week but we were beyond happy that our son could eat and sustain himself!
So, basically, I just wanted to say..... I get it....

The mom of 4 monkeys! said...

I also just noticed that you are going to the "only feeding therapist" your insurace will cover. Have you looked into early intervention? That is who came out and did Ben's feeding therapy. They did bill the insurance but if the insurance had not paid we would not have had to cover it either. You may want to look into that avenue.