Friday, March 19, 2010

Tricks of the trade

I've learned so many tricks to help with eating problems, oral aversions, oral defensiveness (picky eater doesn't begin to describe it). I mean, the only thing the kid will regularly put in his mouth is water or ice. In fact, ice is one of the best words he says (unless he really means ass, but I think it's ice). Anyway, I thought I would share/document some of the ideas that I have either come up with myself or stolen from someone else. If this can help anyone get some calories in their kid or get a child interested in food, I'd be very very happy. I'll probably have to add to this at some point, cause I'll forget something crucial, but it's a start.

-popsicles, popsicles, popsicles. I've made lots of different kinds (most recent with coconut milk, yogurt, and frozen berries). His favorite is a water popsicle, of course. One thing that a therapist will tell you is to try to get your child to chew on toys (that's how we all learned to eat). But as kids get older, they're just not as into it. So I made tiny juice popsicles with all the therapy toys (chewy tubes, bumpy spoons, Nuk brushes, etc). I cut the corner off a plastic bag, popped the toy in, poured a little juice in it, then stuffed it into either a popsicle mold or ice cube tray. It was great. The popsicle didn't last too long, and before he knew it, James was sucking on a chewy tube. Sneaky.

-ice cubes, of course. On our therapist's suggestion, we would put juice ice cubes in water, and then as they slowly melted, James would end up drinking some juice/water with flavor. Eventually we added more and more juice and now he will drink juice (although he has unfortunately learned the word water. bummer). What I have not been able to get him to do is drink his formula from anything but a bottle. As he gets older, it is important to stop using the bottle so he has the correct swallow movements, which are different when you drink from a straw or cup. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this one out, but I started making Pediasure ice cubes and putting them in water. So far so good.

-licorice. Not the most normal thing to give to a toddler, but hear me out. James still has no interest in actually chewing on a toy. He wants food...sort of. So you take Red Vines licorice (very important--no substitutes) and you leave the package open for about 2 days. Stale licorice is basically impossible to bite through (although you should keep an eye on them), but it tastes good and kids tend to gnaw on it.

-back to ice cubes. James hates a yogurt type texture. But he loves ice cubes so much, that if you put an ice cube in some yogurt, he will pick it up, get his hands messy, and lick the ice cube, getting lots of yogurt in his mouth.

-sugar. He also loves sugar. Not as much as ice cubes, but still. Sprinkle colored sugar next to yogurt and get his hands messy, and before you know it, he's pinching up some sugar with yogurt on his hands. Great.

-kit kat. Chocolate is a big hit, and kit kats are great because they easily break into a stick, and then he can place it between his molars.

-straw in a bottle. Okay, this didn't actually work, but I still think it was a valiant effort and might have worked if James didn't have such good eyesight. I took one of his normal bottles, cut a hole in the nipple, and stuck a soft, clear straw through it in hopes that he would start to suck the straw at bottle time. He saw it and threw a fit. But I still think it could work...somehow.

-hide stuff in water. He loves water so much, I can mix his fish oil and melatonin in a little water and he drinks it right down. There's no way I'd be able to dose him with medicine otherwise.

-ignore. Sometimes I give James a spoon with something (like yogurt, mashed potatoes, etc) on it and then turn my back and pretend not to watch. Can work like a charm.

-learn by example. Well, I eat all the time. All the time. And I'm with James all the time. All. The. Time. I figure he must be picking up something that I've been doing, but we'll see.

1 comment:

  1. I'm un-endingly impressed by your strength, sense of humor, and creativity as a mom. Keep up the amazing work! I can't even imagine what it must be like for you, but you are doing it!!! :) James is one incredibly lucky little boy to have such fantastic parents.