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gifted infants? myth or fact. Advice anyone

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am new here, and would like some advice and some thoughts.

I have a 3 month old baby who began to nurse funny at 5 weeks and then began to refuse altogether. He would only nurse when asleep. I went to doctors, lactation consultants, nurse practitioners, etc... all would say there is nothing wrong with him he will come around. Well for 38 days and still counting the boy will only nurse when he is asleep, meaning at night as he never sleeps during the day and never has even as a newborn. All baby books never made sense: babies cannot stay awake for long periods of time, here I had a 3 day old baby who is up daily for 10-11 hours in a row, not fussing not crying, just alert and interacting. Anyway, last week the feeding did not go well at all he did not nurse, so was dehydrated in 2 days. We went to the hospital and were admitted. We remained there for 7 days under observation, then they discharge us with the diagnosis: the baby is profoundly gifted, eating and sleeping are a waste of time for him, you have to figure it out, keep trying and good luck, bring him back if he gets dehydrated or continues to lose weight.

 

Now I know he is advanced based on developmental milestones, but is it not too early to make such a call? And if he is gifted, and eating will remain a struggle does anyone have any suggestions for me?

 

Sorry for the long thread but if it helps here is what he can do so far:

3 weeks social smiles, responds, initiates

5 weeks makes a razzing sound

6 weeks squeals in delight

7 weeks reaches for objects

8 weeks saying agooh and apa - turns towards sounds, follows conversations

9 weeks brings hands together

10 weeks laughs out loud

11 weeks mouthing objects babbling non-stop around the clock, pulls legs up by the pants so he can reach his toes, rolling over

12 weeks turns board book pages

13 weeks, pulls self to sitting from semi reclining, he cannot maintain it though

 

 

Thank you

post #2 of 98

I can't imagine a hospital giving a medical diagnosis for refusing to eat as "profoundly gifted", and I doubt that the doctors you saw would be qualified to make such a diagnosis.

 

Was this a children's hospital?

post #3 of 98

Absolutely ridiculous.

 

post #4 of 98

Dehydration means the kid is profoundly gifted? Oh my.

post #5 of 98

Please seek another opinion.  It's negligent on their part to release you with no practical plans to get nutrition into your child.

post #6 of 98

I believe babies can be gifted since I was one. I sat independently (for short periods) at 6 weeks, talked at 3 months, used complex sentences before 1, etc. I also almost never slept as an infant (my poor mother! I hope the one I am carrying is not like me!) and was quietly alert and interacting for hours a day.

 

With that being said, I ate. I was nursed on demand and I ate fine. I did refuse rice cereal at 4 months, so my mom didn't offer anything else till 6 months, and I then refused purees and went straight to very overcooked homemade food. But I never refused to nurse, and was never dehydrated. So the two don't have to be related, and its not an answer to say baby is profoundly gifted. I am sure you knew that though.

 

I hope you get answers that are actually helpful.

post #7 of 98

That was incredibly irresponsible of them. I can't believe they didn't send you home with better resources for an infant who is dehydrated and loosing weight. Doesn't that constitute "failure to thrive?" That's a big red flag in our area. As to giftedness, maybe, maybe not. "Knowing" really isn't going to help you. 

 

I'd start experimenting with him... maybe try expressing milk into a bottle or sippy cup and try that way. Even spoon feeding him milk might be a benefit if he's refusing the breast. I would continue to try traditional nursing (not sure how you are handling it all day without nursing ouch!) Make sure your nursing session are in quiet distraction free areas. Continue to offer at regular intervals and if he doesn't take it, use it as quiet, cuddle time. Keep looking for help and second opinions.

 

post #8 of 98
Thread Starter 

The thing is he gets over the dehydration as eventually he does fall asleep and he does nurse but only when sleeping. I know the two don't have to be related but evidently they see the refusal to eat in older children. No medical reason was found. No they did not give me plans to feed. I had been doing what I have been doing for a whole month, offer to nurse, if he refuses, try again, never letting it exceed four hours then offer cup, or syringe or spoon feed, etc... he refuses the bottle as well. yup this was a team of pediatricians. he is not failing to thrive as his weight is fine he is in the 85th percentile. but he no longer is gaining well, and on days where he refuses anything and everything he will lose 20-30 g. Other than the not eating he is perfectly happy, he plays vigorously and he never cries so to the peds "he is not sick, keep trying to feed him, and take it day by day". So yeah, i am waiting for another specialist to see us as the feedings continue to be a battle.

post #9 of 98

Honestly, I agree with getting another opinion. I think that doctor was a quack. At least as far as that diagnosis. Too gifted to eat? Really?

post #10 of 98

oh, you are GOOD!  This is impressive.  Too gifted to eat.  brilliant.

post #11 of 98

It's impossible to assess intellectual functioning in an infant (nor is that kind of assessment something that doctors do), and giftedness is not associated with feeding problems.  That sounds like a heck of a nursing strike.

 

Who did you see during the week you were in hospital?  Did they bring in a lactation consultant, an OT or anyone else to assess his sucking and swallowing?  What kind of observation was the baby under?  Did they just keep a feeding log or did anyone attempt to do any kind of behavioral analysis?  Seven days is a really long hospitalization to end without diagnosis and treatment.  I feel silly asking this because you were in the hospital for 7 days and surely someone thought of it, but how's his tongue thrust?  Is there any chance he has thrush or some other infection that might be making nursing painful?  Not that I'm really dying to know, but how are his diapers looking?  There could be some hints there.  Have you tried the classic "get in bed and go skin-to-skin with baby for a long stretch" thing to get him nursing?  

 

I'd love to know what the hospital billing code is for "profoundly gifted - doesn't eat."  And while that's just about my curiosity, "starving gifted baby" is not a medical diagnosis and it might be useful and instructive to know what they billed your insurance company for to justify such an extended hospital stay.  I hope you keep demanding answers - food and sleep are vital to infant development as well as being basic survival needs for, you know, all human beings.  

post #12 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novicemama View Post

The thing is he gets over the dehydration as eventually he does fall asleep and he does nurse but only when sleeping. I know the two don't have to be related but evidently they see the refusal to eat in older children. No medical reason was found. No they did not give me plans to feed. I had been doing what I have been doing for a whole month, offer to nurse, if he refuses, try again, never letting it exceed four hours then offer cup, or syringe or spoon feed, etc... he refuses the bottle as well. yup this was a team of pediatricians. he is not failing to thrive as his weight is fine he is in the 85th percentile. but he no longer is gaining well, and on days where he refuses anything and everything he will lose 20-30 g. Other than the not eating he is perfectly happy, he plays vigorously and he never cries so to the peds "he is not sick, keep trying to feed him, and take it day by day". So yeah, i am waiting for another specialist to see us as the feedings continue to be a battle.



I agree with another post to go see an occupational therapist. They can have different insights than pediatricians including different sorts of oral and sensory issues that would not seem to be a problem from a medical stand point.

 

"They see the refusal to eat in older children"... are they saying they see a pattern of older gifted children refusing to eat? I wouldn't put much stock in their diagnosis.

post #13 of 98

lol.

post #14 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novicemama View Post

on days where he refuses anything and everything he will lose 20-30 g. Other than the not eating he is perfectly happy, he plays vigorously 


I'm sorry, but a 20-30 g drop in weight one day to the next is not dehydration, nor is it failure to gain. That's a couple of tablespoons of water, less than 0.5% of body weight. I'm not surprised they weren't particularly concerned. Is it possible that they saw a healthy, thriving baby with weight fluctuations well within the limits of normal, who happens to be exceptionally alert, showing advanced intellectual ability, and who feeds adequately but not when or how his mother expects ... and they were just trying to reassure you about all that? 

 

Miranda

 

post #15 of 98

I remember reading a somewhat similar story on another gifted board: a mother said all her (later identified) children (I think she had four) refused to nurse at some point (I think it was a little later in their lives though, but under a year) because they couldn't look round while doing so. As soon as she started giving them a bottle and they could keep looking and interacting all was fine again. Sorry for not being able to be more specific, it was a while ago but it stuck in my mind, because it sounded like such an unusual story. And while I agree I wouldn't trust a hospital that made that kind of diagnosis at 13 weeks (I reiterate what other posters have said: have other reasons for refusal to nurse and failure to thrive been positively ruled out?) I'm with moominmama: if other reasons have been ruled out (what did they do all week?) and if he is gaining more or less on a curve maybe it is now up to you to figure out how to feed your clearly unusual but delightful baby. After all, other kids sleep for 11 hours through the night at that age and then only nurse every three hours during the day. I think as long as you get about five proper feeds into him you should be okay. How long you will be okay with feeding through the night is another question. I hope you co-sleep and you have been taught how to nurse lying on your side and dozing off while doing so. And have you tried nursing him in the darkened bedroom?

 

You say he refuses the bottle, but it wasn't quite clear from your post whether he refuses the syringe, the cup and the spoon as well or maybe only some of the time? Does he refuse tea and water, too? While 13 weeks old is young for solids, that's what I would try next -  after all he is reaching for things, trying to sit up, babbling early too... maybe try a little pureed banana or pear, pureed carrots, rice cereal, mild apple juice, whatever you'd normally have tried out at 6 or 7 months or so. He might be interested in the novelty, and at a pinch, you can show him picture books while spoonfeeding (no I do not think one should teach a child reading books at the table but I have an unusual underweight eater too, and sometimes you just do whatever works to get food into them).  If he can swallow purees well, rice waffles to munch on next, though I am not sure about the choking risk at such a young age. Maybe some more knowledgeable mama can weigh in on that.

 

Good luck! I hope you can find a workable solution.

 

edited to add that I kinda get the "too gifted to eat" thing in older children: for years now, it has been very hard to feed DS because, among other reasons (too hyper to sit still long enough) he will refuse to put another bite in his mouth because he reallyreally needs to finish discussing right now whether it makes sense to use negative numbers in respect to counting candy or how many zeros to a nonillion or whatever - we have screaming fights about it: "I do not want to hear another word from you until you have put that bite in your mouth like RIGHT NOW!". It is just a totally different situation to slap that "diagnosis" on a three-months-old though.

post #16 of 98

Hi,

I don't know if your baby not eating means they are gifted or not, at this stage that's not the important thing. Getting them to feed is. 

I know the baby food age has changed to 6 months, it used to be 4 months. When I have my daughter it was on the change over from 4-6 months. My daughter was very hungry and I had to put her on baby rice at 3 1/2 months. you have to make it very thin... maybe talk to your health visitor about that as an option. I wouldn't do it without talking to someone first. Not to the person who you saw at the hospital though, I don't think just sending you home was very professional at all.

I hope your baby starts to feed better soon. x

post #17 of 98
Thread Starter 

So here is the thing: he doesn't take the bottle but will play with it. The syringe, spoon and cup he will accept as he can look around, it takes forever and he thinks we are playing. It is exactly as tigerle said; he won't eat during the day because he cannot look around, so yes i do go in a dark room, and as i have no other children my house is perfectly quiet and i will rock and rock until he is drifting off to lala land and then nurse, sometimes it does not work and we do only night time feedings. So if there is not absolute peace he does not nurse. The diagnosis was made by 5 of them, they came to this consensus. They feel that once he can concentrate enough on doing both eating and taking in the surrounding things will improve. I did see all the other professionals mentioned: he has no thrush, no tongue or lip tie, no swallowing issues, no reflux, no neck pain preventing him from nursing. I did not like the diagnosis either, it has been a month I am going from one doctor to another to get some answers in addition to lactation consultants and all of them say, "well obviously you are getting something into him, he is doing really well", what they are not getting is that the only reason he is doing well is because i am very persistent on getting something into him, i keep trying any means necessary because i am not going to wait till he is ill to get answers. He obviously is not eating like I expect him to, recently he has been having one good feed at 0630 then goes drinkless till 1900 and then he sleeps and wakes up every 2 hours from midnight on to nurse. He didn't do this as a newborn but now he is waking up every 2 hours. We are cosleeping because if not, i am sleepwalking. We nurse well lying down which means i do not disturb him too much and he nurses happily, but if he does rouse fully he starts babbling and won;t nurse. We tried all the skin-to-skin, warm bath, cuddles stuff and still do so it is great but he won;t nurse unless he is sleeping, it is dark and silent. As for figuring out how to feed my "unusual but delightful baby" that is basically what they are saying. I am considering spolids, i have been sitting him ina  high chair at the table since we got ischarged and giving him expressed milk on a spoon during our meals just to get him prepared for the feeding business. (he does refuse tea nad water as well, i tried all that thinking maybe the boy just doesn't like milk) I feel i am repeating myself, obviously the reason i am asking for feedback here is because i am not reassured by the "diagnosis they slapped".

post #18 of 98

Too gifted to eat. Huh. Frankly, if the child is refusing to eat to the point where he's becoming severely dehydrated, I highly doubt he has both the physical and mental energy to do anything on that list in the first post. And there is no way any reputable hospital in this country would treat a child like that and discharge a sick child with that "diagnosis". 

 


Edited by kitchensqueen - 11/21/11 at 10:48am
post #19 of 98

 

Quote:
I did not like the diagnosis either, it has been a month I am going from one doctor to another to get some answers in addition to lactation consultants and all of them say, "well obviously you are getting something into him, he is doing really well", what they are not getting is that the only reason he is doing well is because i am very persistent on getting something into him,

 

I understand that this is hard on you, but the doctors have a point.  You ARE able to get enough food into him using home treatment.  He IS doing really well.  So that is, actually, good enough from a medical standpoint.  It would be great if it was easier, but few babies are easy.  It's not like you're going to stop being persistent and let him starve. 

 

You might consider that you're working really hard to feed him while he's not hungry.  I imagine that you're not going over 12 hours without even putting him to the breast.  So he's getting a little smackerel of something a few times during the day and then tanking up at night.  Basically, he's reverse cycling.  He's young for night-weaning, but you might try asking your partner to deal with most of his night-time needs so you can limit night feedings to 2-3 instead of your current 4-5 to help him turn his clock around so he eats during the day. 

post #20 of 98

novice, you are not repeating yourself, but have added a lot of useful information and I feel I am getting a much clearer picture.

So here's what I would do:

Forget about the "too gifted to eat" diagnosis. It is unprofessional, unhelpful and exposes you to snarky comments from others. You've got an opinion that's a lot more helpful which is "too distractible to eat" which actually makes a lot of sense to me.

Moreover, you have been running around from specialist to specialist who all assure you that your child is doing well. However, it is YOU who are going round the bend with worry, sleep deprivation and the feeling that you are spending every waking PLUS every sleeping hour feeding your baby. So work on that. Believe them that your child is doing well with what you are currently doing, cancel all the specialist visits, check him for signs of dehydration daily, put him on the baby scales every other day, schedule a visit with a midwife or your regular ped every other week or whatever you and they are comfortable with, and if everything comes up consistently alright, stop worrying about your baby and worry about how  YOU are able to keep up doing what you're doing until things change. It is your first baby and everything feels like forever but believe me, when you feel you can't take it any more, things change all of a sudden and you will find different ways of coping with things. Just allowing yourself to be free from worry might release energy you did not feel you had.

Then: If you are sleep deprived, find someone, anyone (a teenager can do this) to push your baby round the neighbourhood in a stroller for two hours so you can take a nap. Get your DH or grandma to take over some of the spoon feedings during the day. Make the spoon feedings fun for yourself: put him in the highchair (yes, a baby this young should not be in a high chair but desperate situations call for desperate measures) make a cup of coffee for yourself (he is not sleeping or nursing during the day nayways, right? So have coffee!) and have a cookie while you feed. Repeat to yourself, like a mantra: he is not starving. he is thriving.

Or if it occasionally works to feed him in a darkened room, just make it a habit to lie down every late morning and every afternoon with him, try to get him to doze off and to nurse. If it works that day, great. If it doesn't. no worries. Repeat: he is not starving. he is thriving. Try again in the afternoon.

I feel for you, I really do: apart from an oldest who is often too distracted to eat, I have two that are too distracted to sleep, no matter how tired they are, unless you basically sit on them for 45 minutes (they get that from me, I usually take even longer). That's two naptimes for DD and one or two bedtimes for DD and DS (depending on whether DH is home). Sometimes I feel like I am spending hours of my life every day lying immobile in a darkened room waiting for my kids to fall asleep). It's torture sometimes. I feel guiltily glad that I had to start DD in half day daycare because I start working part time next month because it means that one nap at least is taken care of - I do not know how they do it, but they assure me she sleeps).

maybe Miranda can reassure you a bit more: I am sure no one has more experience about how to roll with the unusual than she has! smile.gif

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