I've always hated the saying, "Never trust a preemie" - but it's been going through my head all week. Just when I think we're making big steps with Samuel's feeding, he throws us all for a loop.
It's been a rough couple of days filled with tantrums, food spitting, and a LOT of gagging. We've noticed that over the last several weeks, he is progressively chewing foods less and less. The cause? Poor oral motor skills? A lack of desire to eat stemming from his continued use of the bottle? Who knows. The result?: many heart-pounding moments of "Am I going to have to do the Heimlich?" and much less table food being attempted in general...even the foods that he has ALWAYS eaten (like crackers.)
So when his speech therapist offered to re-evaluated him for feeding therapy even though he likely won't qualify for the language portion of her services, I was relieved to say the least. We have quite a ways to go before he becomes an 'average eater.' I look forward to the day when I can check-out at Walmart without a cart full of baby food:
cashier: "Oh, how old is your baby?"
me: "Almost two."
cashier: With a funny look on her face, "Oh...ooook."
In the meantime, it looks like we are going to have to take that scary, SCARY step of putting away his bottle...and no one's happy about it. There have been quite a few melt-downs (his and mine - HA!) and Day 1 bottle-free has just begun.
I know what you're thinking. "He is almost TWO and he's still taking a bottle?!? He should have stopped using it a year ago!" Believe me, I am well-aware of that fact. It's not something we are doing because it's easy or because it's comforting for him. The Pediasure that we give him in his bottle has been a significant source of calories over the past year. It has been our safety net on those days when he wouldn't eat anything. It has also been a great help over the last couple of months when he needed calories in the middle of the night because he didn't eat enough during the day - crucial for a child who has yet to hit the growth charts. With a bottle, he can drink an 8 oz can of Pediasure in three minutes flat....several times a day. With a sippy cup, we are lucky to get in 4 oz over the course of the day.
By lowering his daily intake of Pediasure, his interest in table foods will increase. At least, that's what we hope...
Although his feeding issues right now are nothing compared to what we were struggling with over a year ago, I've found that those old feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and hurt surface just as quickly as they used to. The first thing that pops into my head is, "What kind of mom can't feed her child?" Naturally, as a mother I feel that my job is to nurture and nourish Samuel...and when that mission becomes complicated, it's hard not take it as a personal failure.
I know he will get there eventually, and hopefully this will have just been an 'off' couple of weeks for him. Either way, I'm going to be praying for progress for Samuel and a lot of patience for myself over the next couple of months!
And on a different note, I've noticed that the blog kinda gets neglected when it comes to photos. So here is a week's worth! (PS. I'm a bit obsessed with my Instagram app right now.)