Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Preemies and ADHD. Medication or not?

When we were in the NICU one of the first things we heard were the things our son would be at risk for.  One of them was ADHD.

I was told that there are three types of ADHD. However, I  recently read that there are six types of ADHD. You can learn about them and some common treatments here.

Our son has been diagnosed with ADHD - inattentive type.

There are many articles that on research about prematurity and risks of ADHD.

This article on Preemies at Increased Risk of ADHD explains it best.

Another good read is ADHD in Children Born Premature  this gives you excerpts from chapters and studies on preemie behavior.

So what do you do if your preemie has ADHD? Do you put your child on medication or not? Well...this of course is a personal decision...you have to do what is best for your child.

I can tell you my own personal opinion. As a mom of a former preemie with an ADHD child, I am not a fan of medication at this time.  I just can't find enough information or get solid answers on the long term side effects of stimulant or non-stimulant medications used on children, especially while the brain is still growing.

For right now we have chosen not to use ADHD medication because of the reasons listed above and because our son hasn't been eating orally for that long and I don't want to mess with his appetite, thankfully the specialists we consult with all agree.

This information on  Alternative ADHD Treatments is enough  for us to try alternative methods for my sons ADHD. From sensory diets, vitamins to nutrition, even herbal supplements, before we consider going on prescription medication . Neurofeedback is also another althernative method to ADHD that I hear helps alot of kids.

In the future when my son is older I may consider medication for him but for now its not for us.  That being said, I do know many children on medication that do very well, so some kids just DO need medication and they work great for them.  Its truly all trial and error.

Do whats it best for your child, talk to your neurologist, psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician and as always use your mummy tummy (gut instinct).

update: 10/15:  I'm now exploring medication for my son's attention now that he is 14 altho I am told its more the autism then ADHD.... he seems to need something to take the edge off.

update: 1/17:  We never tried the ADHD meds because we felt if we could get his anxiety in control he's just a different kid. So we went on Celexa, for a while. with not much improvement.  Then tried Zoloft both just caused more agitation for him and aggression.  I was recently told that many kids with Autism don't respond well to SSRI's some do opposite effects for Autism B.  Prozac seems to be the med our NEW doctor has had some luck with.  We have decided to wean off all meds give him a month or two rest and start with something new.  Maybe another SSRI like Prozac or Respiradol.  Still same issue. Taking the edge off seems to be key.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

High Calorie food and Nutritional Drink Ideas

I struggle daily with trying to find high calorie food so my son so that he can gain weight and get some height. Its frustrating and I can even exhausting!

At the age of 9 he had been diagnosed with Failure to Thrive (FTT) . Isn’t that the scariest word you have ever heard? Apparently all it means is “not gaining weight as quickly as s/he should”.

I want to share with you some things I used through the years that have helped my son. Some of the ideas were give by nutritionists some by his feeding therapist, some by other parents and I even came up with some myself. You eventually become very creative when you're doing this every day.

Calorie boosters like Duocal Powder, Polycose and Benecalorie - ReSource etc...
These products are not suppose alter the taste of the food or drink and I know of children who have done well with calorie boosters. Somehow my son always knew the difference!! The only thing I have been able to get away with was sprinkling Duocal Powder - on pancakes and telling him it was powdered sugar!

The following ideas are things I use to add to food to make them high calorie:
  • Olive oil, canola oil, Coconut Oil, flaxseed oil
  • Butter, margarines
  • Peanut Butter, Nutella, Almond Butter, Cashew butter, sunflower butter, etc…
  • Avocado
  • Gravies, (mushroom gravy, turkey gravy etc…) & Sauces (alfredo)
  • Syrups (maple, blueberry, caro, chocolate/strawberry syrup etc…)
  • Whole milk, heavy cream, half and half
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Creamy Salad Dressing for dipping
  • Powdered milk can be added to things like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and casseroles.
Nutrtional Drinks can also be helpful to get calories. For years my son was tube fed and for a while on Simply Right - Gentle Infant Formula - 48 oz. - Baby Formula with adding some Polycose and canola oil (note: this did make his reflux increase at times).
When he out grew infant formula he was put on PediaSure , he dropped in weight on this and that's when a friend told me about Boost Kid Essentials 1.5 He did well on this for quite a while.

Once we entered the ‘journey toward oral feeding’ we tried to get him to drink the Kid Essentials . He wanted nothing to do with it.

I even tried to mix it into smoothies. Nope wouldn't drink it.

We had some luck with Carnation Instant Breakfast for a little while but that wasn’t giving him enough calories.

At one of our nutrition appointments the nutritionist noticed the my son was drinking juice quite a bit and recommended Ensure Enlive! A Juice nutritional drink. She gave us some samples and it was a big hit. Its truly been a life saver for us. It comes in Apple and Berry flavors.

He will drink up to four a day if I let him. He has even gotten to the point where he won’t drink a typical juice box he specifically says “I don’t want juice I want Enlive! ” Great.

This can get expensive! So, I try to limit him to two a day.

Resource also has a verision of the nutritional juice called Resource Breeze,This comes in peach, berry and orange flavor.
Below is a recipe for high calorie pudding. My son loves this Recipe:

High Calorie Chocolate Pudding
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup milk powder
  • 1 tbsp canola oil (or flaxseed oil)
  • 1pkg chocolate instant pudding mix
Combine all ingredients and stir well. Makes 4.5 cups300cals per serving. 9grams protein

High Calorie Hot Cocoa
  • 1 cup HOT whole milk
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cold milk
  • 2 tbsp puree banana (I sometimes would buy a jar of Gerber baby bananas)
  • Cinnamon
Combine cold milk, cocoa, sugar and banana. Mix well and add hot milk sprinkle with cinnamon.300cals per servings. 10g of protein.
For more information on high calorie foods check out Feeding Underweight Children.

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