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My son was diagnosed a few months back with CP and with sensory problems including Oral Apraxia. Since early July he has been gagging a lot while eating. He will gag if you try to get him to eat a food he doesn't want (I've learned not to do that), if he stuffs way too much food in his mouth (does this all the time), if he gets something a little crunchy or hard stuck in his throat, if he is upset by something (dinner is over/there are no more crackers). He likes liquids and smooth foods the best but he will eat crunchy pretzels, chips, crackers, mushy french fries, fruit. He won't eat any meat except for meat balls and chicken nuggets (and only Tyson's nuggets or Wendy's--not McDonalds or others). It is getting harder and harder to feed him. I was just wondering if any of you have suggestions on what to feed him and ways to get him to stop vomiting during meals. My sister is worried that he isn't getting the right nutrition but it is so difficult to get him to eat anything! I feed him things he will eat (crackers, cheerios, applesauce, fruits, the meats he will eat, etc. and he gets a vitamin in liquid form).
 

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Oh, this is SO my planet. :LOL My son's eating is horrid. HORRID. His SID first manifested in his eating/feeding, when we took him for a feeding eval.. Feeding continues to be his biggest challenge wrt activities of daily living. Each meal is a battle.<br><br>
First of all, tell your sister to back off. Feeding a kid with a feeding disorder (that's what he has) is hard enough without people breathing down your neck about whether or not he's getting the right nutrition. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: I know she means well, but she really does need to stop commenting about stuff like that. When you have a kid with a feeding disorder, the goal is to get them to <i>eat.</i> Period. Plus, he's getting a vitamin supplement, so stop worrying. He'll be okay. Really.<br><br>
As for the vomiting, lots of kids with oral-motor SID issues tend to overstuff their mouth and have uncoordinated chewing/swallowing. They stuff and stuff food in there until little bits break off from the sheer volume and they swallow those. It's a passive way for them to eat without having to use their mouth muscles so much. My son is a big time stuffer/gagger and we too learned very quickly what NOT to feed him to avoid vomiting (anything green...ANYTHING). Try to hold back portions and only give him more food when he swallows what he's got. Offer water frequently. Cut food into tiny bites. As for meat, well, my son is a carbon copy of yours wrt what he can/will eat, so just roll with it and worry about it later.<br><br>
My best advice is this...don't fight it, roll with it. Feed him what he <i>will</i> eat, and whatever you do, DON'T listen to people who give you that "he'll eat when he's hungry, stop coddling him and he'll eat" bullcrap. The thing is, with sensory kids, they really <i><b>would</b></i> rather starve than eat something they find defensive or nauseating. That's the thing that people with "normal" kids don't get. It takes my son, on average, just SEEING/being offered a new food 8-10 times before he'll even consider tasting it or even letting it sit on his plate without having a fit. You have to place the food outside of his "comfort zone" (for a child this is arm's reach) so that he can simply look at it first. If he reaches for it, great, let him play with it and explore it. If he cries/gags/tantrums, cover the food with a napkin and take it away.<br><br>
The key to dealing with a sensory defensive eater is to never EVER force ANYTHING on them, no matter how frustrated/annoyed/worried you are. Also, try getting him to eat in a comfortable space, not just the table. My son is most willing to try new things when he's "on the go." If he's running around the den, playing, and we (me and dh) are eating something he's never eaten, he will often come up and "ask" for a bite. Sitting at the table causes a lot of performance anxiety in these kids. They are much more likely to eat a new food somewhere non-eating related (like outside) where they are relaxed. We also call the fork the "magic utensil," as my ds will try a bite of new food very willingly (most of the time) if it's offered to him off of our plate on the end of a fork. Dunno why. Just is.<br><br>
To get more calories in him, try to leave snack foods he'll eat sitting out for him at all times to "graze" on as he plays. We always have a small plate of crackers or chips or cookies sitting out for ds, but take it away one hour before meals. Also, buy carnation instant breakfast vanilla flavor (my son rejects chocolate) and mix it in with his milk to pack in some calories.<br><br>
Last but not least, go to your nearest bookstore and buy "Raising a Sensory Smart Child." It has lots of advice, and a chapter specifically devoted to eating challenges just like the ones you and I face. Also, if he's sick or having an off day, don't even try to offer new foods or push it. Just let him eat what he wants, because that's all he can honestly handle.<br><br>
Hang in there, I know it's hard, I know it's frustrating, and I know how much you dread every meal. It will get better, slowly but surely. PM me anytime, I know how hard it is.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for all your info! I actually started crying reading that post. It is good to know that other people are going through similar things here. Part of my problem is that he has so many food allergies. He used to eat cheese (any kind) and yogurt and milk but a few months ago we found out he is very allergic to dairy (among other foods) so now I'm not just worried about what he <i>will</i> eat but what he <i>can</i> eat. It is very frustrating and a bit scary because I want him to be ok.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> My ds is allergic to dairy as well, I feel you on that one. Well in that case, DON'T mix the carnation instant bfast into his milk (soy, I assume? that's what we drink), it is cow's milk based. I was stupid and didn't read the ingredients first, thinking, "of course they wouldn't make something <b>from</b> milk that you're supposed to <b>add to</b> it...." Uh, yeah they would. :LOL Oopsie.<br><br>
If you have a Whole Foods market near you, go there. I found soy cheese slices to make grilled cheese sandwiches, almond butter (if he's peanut allergic), soy ice cream, and lots of other nifty stuff you can feed him. It's fantastic. Soy SMOOTHIES!! And oh, man are they good. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
If you DON'T have a whole foods market near you, check out <a href="http://www.livingwithout.com/" target="_blank">Living Without</a> magazine, it's a magazine specifically dedicated to those living casein and gluten-free, and/or with multiple food allergies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> They can help you with recipes and resources for foods, etc..<br><br>
I totally understand the crying when you realized you're <i>not alone.</i> I did that when I started reading "Raising a Sensory Smart Child" and "The Fussy Baby Book." You feel so ISOLATED. You're surrounded, it seems, by friends and relatives with kids who will eat ANYTHING!! When someone suggests you go out to eat, you <i>cringe</i>, knowing what absolute hell is in store for you. Your diaper bag is like a survival kit...I'm called the "boyscout of mommies." :LOL I have just about anything you could ask for or need in my diaper bag, because with a kid like mine, ya never know what you're going to need. You want to smack people who complain about their toddlers being "picky" eaters because they want round crackers instead of square or they want crustless sandwiches. Yeah, cry me a frickin' river. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"> Puleeze.<br><br>
Here's how our dinner time went tonight, as a little peek into my life, if it helps. Ds is sick, so he's been an absolute pill. When he's sick, his eating goes straight down the tubes. All he wanted to do was nurse or be rocked and held all day today, poor little booger. When dh tried to put him in his booster seat to eat dinner, he literally screamed so hard and so much he started gagging and hyperventilating. Yep. Dh had to give him to me, I sat him in my lap in a comfy rocking chair in the den with the lights dimmed, let him lay against me, and fed him tiny bites of dinner as he lay his head on my chest and sucked his thumb between bites. That was "dinner" tonight. Oh, and it was sweet corn puree and baby rice cereal made with soy milk. Real exotic. :LOL He ate maybe 2 bites of baby oatmeal at bfast, and forget lunch...didn't happen. He basically nursed and drank soy milk and water all day. Am I worried? Mmm, a little. But I know once he feels better, he'll pick up. And as long as he's peeing and pooping, I know he's okay.<br><br>
It is so, so hard. I so know what you're going through. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> It <i>will</i> get better, especially if your ds is in OT. Just take deep breaths, realize that right now, what he's eating isn't as important as <i>if</i> he's eating. Buy or check out Raising a Sensory Smart Child, too. That book was so helpful. Really do feel free to pm me anytime, and check out the link in my sigline, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I'm sooo there!! My ds dr told me that it didn't matter what he ate as long as he ate because he was so underwieght... He said that whole "they won't starve themselves" and "they crave what they need" just doesn't apply here. My dr encouraged fast food every couple days because it was better than nothing. So he may not be getting the "right" food, food of any sort was better than not eating.<br>
I have found that when ds wants crunchy food when he is getting high anxiety, it is a form of coping (which is okay because he doesn't eat enough that he is going to be obese from a "comfort" eating scenerio). If he starts licking uncontrollablly, pretzels do wonders to get him to stop! The computer, I am sure, is happy not to be licked anymore.<br><br>
Once he eats on a more reg basis, then start incorporating healthier foods, and slowly introduce them. Best advice I got was do not let this become a control issue, because the child will win to his detrement.<br>
give him frozen veggies to chew on... like frozen carrots.<br>
I agree with Finch, get the raising a sensory child, it is sooo great <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Pan
 

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I PM'ed you. We have twins -- my son is the exact same way!
 

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Just thought of two things an OT told me:<br><br>
Let them play in food -- so let him drive little cars or dinosaurs in pudding or applesauce. Also, put a mirror in front of him while he eats so he can see the food in his mouth.
 
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