Does your child need feeding therapy? Has your child experienced an oral aversion (refusing to eat)? Has a highly sensitive gag reflex? Has or still has reflux? Been diagnosed with failure to thrive? Then chances are you may s/he may need feeding therapy.
The "journal to oral
feeding". I can tell you from experience. Is not easy. Its a long
journey and once again a journey that doesn’t resolve when you are
ready, it’s all up to your child. If your child is tube fed than it
might take longer.
This is how it went with my son; He had a g-tube, he had reflux, he was
(is) failure to thrive, he was trached and on a ventilator.
My son would
suck on a pacifier early on and once the trach was placed we slowly
tried to give him the bottle. He would take about an ounce or so, but
that was it. It was just too hard for him to coordinate that suck
swallow and breath thing and chances of aspirating were high.
Collin came off the ventilator we introduced the bottle again. No
interest. Sippy Cups? Nope. We continued introducing anything and
everything we could think of. Eventually he accepted. His first food?
An M&M! We were ecstatic! Long story short…there is no right way or a
right answer with feeding therapy. Just keep plugging at it. Don’t give
A feeding therapist is typically, an Occupational Therapist or a Speech and Language Pathologist.
started with early intervention and when our son turned three we were
fortunate enough to have a therapist who specialized in feeding
come to our home. (she’s still here..every Monday).
How does the therapy work? Its different with every child. Its truly an art not a science.
De-sensitizing and working on those facial muscles seemed (an still is, so important) for my son.
The tools that worked best for my son were the z-vibe and also the chewy tube.
For some great tips on feeding check out these
both great resources for tube fed kids.
Feeding Therapy Programs
If you tried all you can
think of and don’t think your getting as far as you think you can go
(listen to your mummy tummy) these programs or programs
like them at your local Children's Hospital.
Attend workshops if you can. I have attended some and they are informative and worth while.
Below are some recommendations of feeding programs I have heard great things about:
Childrens Hospital Richmond - Feeding Program - Our feeding specialist visited this program and highly recommends it. I also, of a mom who attended this program for her son. She is from Texas. So, yes, you don’t have to be from Virginia to participate.
Kay Toomey, PHD:
has a great step-by-step feeding program that I tried with my son. She
also has a strategy for weaning off a g-tube. Check out her website for
more information. Contact her with any questions.
checking out these programs, don't forget to check with your local
Children's Hospital chances are they have resources and feeding therapy
programs and may also be familiar with the programs above.
For a great source of nutritional information check out
Feeding Underweight Children.