Friday, October 19, 2007

Eating solids and accomplishing independence

One of Charlie's major struggles has been with learning to eat. He has been an excellent nursling from the start, in part thanks to a great lactation consultant and a good friend (thanks Tracy) who both helped us work out the kinks that come with learning how to nurse a sleepy newborn. Charlie's trouble with eating began when we started solids. Or rather, *tried* to start solids. We started trying solids when Charlie was 7 months old with no success. When Charlie was 10 months old we sought the help of a wonderful Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) who specializes in helping children eat when they have trouble with their oral motor coordination. We continue to see her 2 times a week.

Every meal used to be a huge struggle. Most the time both Charlie and mommy would end up frustrated and in tears. A major breakthrough occurred when we started Charlie on a trial of medication for acid reflux. By this time Charlie was 15 months old, and ate only a couple bites of puree food twice a day before refusing to eat more. He would act as if he wanted to eat, but then would cry and cry when we gave him a bite. Immediately after we started the meds he began sleeping through the night. Then he began napping better. After six weeks when the medication had a chance to allow the erosion in his esophagus to heal, he began to eat! Soon after that he began using a sippy cup. He has recently mastered drinking from a straw. In the last month he has learned how to chew and mash solid foods.

I can't express how it makes me feel to see Charlie improve so dramatically in this area in the last 6 months. We had struggled for 10 months trying to get Charlie to eat pureed foods and to drink from something other than mommy. Treating the acid reflux was, and still is, a huge key to all of this recent success. Working with Deb, our SLP, has been invaluable to provide Charlie with the oral coordination and strength to learn to use the sippy cup and straw, to move food from the front to the back of his mouth, and to give him the skills necessary to learn how to chew and mash solid foods.

With all these new skills, Charlie has now become very discriminating about his tastes. Basically, he wants to eat whatever mommy and daddy are eating, and he wants to do it himself. Just last week he began to refuse to eat puree foods unless he can feed them to himself! This is a major accomplishment! Here is a cute picture and a short video of Charlie feeding himself like a big boy:

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1 comment:

Clark Mama said...

Awww...what a big boy! We are working very hard on this with Jack too!

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