Kids eat. Kids drink. That’s what kids do. It’s built in. They just know how.
But mine doesn’t. Well, one of them does, but the other one, the older one, the way-tiny-for-her-age one doesn’t. (We will find out tomorrow if we’ve made our summer goal of 25 lbs! It’s going to be close…)
She’s been in feeding therapy for over 4 years. She’s made progress. Lots of it. But it’s VERY slow going. But this isn’t about that. (If you want more details about our feeding journey, please feel free to ask. I’m happy to address particular questions.)
We’ve been working on Braska’s oral liquid intake more diligently since the spring. The team initiated offering frequent drinks during her school day, between each activity, trying to increase her oral intake. She is up to about 3.5 to 4 oz a day (9am - Noon each morning). That’s a very VERY big improvement from a year ago! She only takes sips, like a mouthful at a time, (from a sippy cup with no valve) then she has to let go of the cup and swallow. This is done with assistance to hold the cup. Although she CAN hold it and take a drink, she is not at all motivated to do so on a regular basis. She will occasionally ask for a drink, take a couple of sips, and then be done. So we are still using her g-button for her fluids.
Yesterday, we had a bit of a discovery. I learned that Braska was keeping a little trick just for Miss A in class at school. She was taking continuous drinks. Like without letting go of the sippy cup, swallowing and then taking in more. This is HUGE! There is no way to describe what a big deal this was for me to hear.
So we tried it a little in feeding therapy yesterday, and I did it again last night a couple times. The trick, we were told, is to sing ABCs or some such song while holding the cup up for her. This is no surprise since singing is often a hit and a motivator for her. Last night she took about 5.5 oz orally, and I was thrilled!! It is A LOT of work for her to do, and it’s still a slow process, but she’s doing it!
Today, she took about 3 oz at school again, then when we got home, I offered her milk via cup several times. She was willing to tolerate me holding it up for her to try to swallow. No doubt, some does leak out when she struggles with it, but she is taking in far more than she’s losing. This afternoon, she took 6 oz from her cup in a matter of just about 10 minutes! I was SO excited!!!
BUT… that wasn’t all…
Tonight, she came and asked for milk. I took her in and set her on the counter in the kitchen, and we did several drinks. She didn’t lose hardly any, and I found a good rhythm of how long to push her and when to give her a break. She took ANOTHER 6 OUNCES!!! So from noon to about 9pm, she had 12 ounces orally!!!!!
I hesitate lately to even write about these things, because we have found that even people who have “feeding issues” under their belt are light years ahead of us in the journey. We’ve yet to meet anyone who has a situation quite like ours, with the limited fluid intake ability combined with the general non-interest in food (though that’s improving here too) AND the inability to chew at all at her age of almost 5. Zero. Zilch. We cheer lately when she closes her teeth on something, and it is good. But we’re a long way from handing her a french fry and watching her eat it.
So it’s ok if you can’t imagine what this means or truly empathize. You can still celebrate with us as we dance around in the kitchen and hoop and holler about the strides this girl is making.
This is HUGE!!