Sensory and eating issues - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-14-2004, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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dd (21 months) has been seeing an oral therapist/speech pathologist for 3 months. During the first few weeks she went from eating nothing other than nursing to trying a few bites of different foods. Then we were at a standstill until about 2 weeks ago.
Just over a week ago she had a swallow study that revealed no abnormalities. Her SP thinks her major issue now is sensory. So he suggested putting different foods and textures on the back of her hands to help her get used to different things.
In the last few weeks we have allowed her to nurse unrestricted and she is trying lots of new things. And eating pretty well. She eats probably 1/4-1/2 of a normal kid her age. She doesn't eat a lot of healthy things though. She likes food she can break off into really small bites and especially foods that will dissolve in her mouth or require little chewing.
I'd like to get her to eat healthier choices and especially greater quantity to lower her need for breastmilk.

If anyone has been through this before I'd appreciate some advice.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 03-14-2004, 12:55 PM
 
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amarasmom
hi!Although I haven't dealt with the exact type of situation as yours,I have dealt with similiar.Our two adopted boys ages 3 and 2 both have Down Syndrome which commonly also brings sensory issues.Samuel(2)seems to be dealing with SID---very overly stimulated--while Manny is very under stimulated and needs sensations to "wake"him up.Manny,due to chronic aspiration and pulmonary issues,has not been able to eat orally and was g tube fed for most of his 3 yrs.Recently a swallow study showed no aspiration,so we're finally able to start introducing oral feeding.He very much wants to eat,but his instincts say whoa,what are you putting in my mouth.The best thing is to continue waking up all those muscles and sensations around (and in)their mouth--like with the Nuk brush and other oral excersises.We will just dab little bites of textures on his tongue to get him used to the textures and tastes.Peanut butter is a good one,as it is not as easy to spit out and requires them to really use their muscles to "work it"Just make sure to be aware of allergies ,such as to peanuts,etc.

This can be a very taxing and tedious process!I hope all goes well
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:34 AM
 
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I've got a year-old with eating problems. though, it sounds like she has a bit more going on than yours ... my daughter didn't eat from birth and had a feeding tube. but now, we go to occupational therapy once a week to get her to eat. we're also signed up to go to the Children's Feeding Clinic where a team of people (therapist, psychologist, peditrition, gastro) try to figure out what's going on. Do you have something like that in your area?

Here are some of the things we do to help desensitize her and help her eat better. It's been slow going, but I think that's how these things are ...

We have a HUGE container of dry rice that she plays in. we pour it on her head and all over her body. it's fun for her because it's just like sand. she loves it.

we have a giggling toy, called the jiggler, that she plays with wand sucks on. she loves it.

she wouldn't even let us put a spoon in her mouth! so we have to desensitize her mouth. we use this baby toothbrush and put it on her tounge and on the sides of her mouth. just to get her used to having stuff in there (like food). when she lets us feed her and she's doing well, we try to put food in the sides of her mouth so she has to use her tounge to move it over to the center to chew. helps her develop muscles.

the ot also has us swing her before she eats. i guess it relaxes her.

the ot also said to stay away from multi textured foods (like rice with veggies). just stick to one texture at a time.

i've also heard that eating goes along with talking. so, if you get her to eat more, she may learn to talk more.

hope this is helpful. hang in there!
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:39 AM
 
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Oh ya, we also massage her before eating ... all over. At the end we focus on massage around her mouth. then we use this little plastic brush all over her body.

Here's the order of what we do before she eats ...

massage

brush all over her body

play with jiggler, teethers, toothbrush with different textures (we try to get them in the sides of her mouth)

swing

eat - she also seems to eat better when she's distracted with toys. so we have special, interesting toys that we save for eating time.

i've also noticed that sometimes she'll eat more if she's sitting on the floor playing, and i come along with a plate of food for myself. i don't offer her any until she asks for it. then she eats away.

we also try any kind of food ... she hates baby food or anything pureed. so we feed her organic veggies, fruit and other table food.

good luck!!!
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions.

The weird thing about my dd is that she talks better than most kids her age.
She is talking in small paragraphs and using very large words.
It just baffles me that she is totally normaly mentally and physically otherwise.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 03-20-2004, 03:00 PM
 
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Great suggestions from everyone. I'll throw out a couple of other considerations that we encountered. This doesn't really sound like your case, but my daughter would nurse to the exclusion of solid food. I cut back the nursing to twice a day (she was nearly 2 at the time), and her willingness to eat new foods increased.

Now my son is another story. He has autism and major sensory issues. There are only ten foods he will/can eat, and he is nearly 5. When I was trying to increase his food selections a year ago (he only ate 5 things then), I made a list of what he ate, and what he had rejected numerous times. Everything sensory is an issue regarding food. The smell can't be too strong, the texture must be just right, the temperature has to be somewhere from cold to lukewarm. Once I figured all of this out, I was able to increase his food selections slowly by staying within the "right" categories. They were baby steps, but steps forward nonetheless.

Good luck!

Tara
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