Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Speech Therapy for Oral Aversion

Okay, this post is long overdue and will probably be long:)

Grayson has struggled with acid reflux since the end of last summer. It wasn't diagnosed until November, but that is when we started noticing symptoms. Since then, it has been a roller coaster ride trying to keep him comfortable enough to get him to eat. As a result, he is a bit on the small side. Around his birthday, however, things were going quite well. He was eating new foods and drinking out of a sippy cup. Because most babies outgrow acid reflux at a year, we decided to see if he could be weaned off one dose of his medicine. (He was getting two doses a day.) BAD. IDEA.

Because the weaning created pain for him again, he basically stopped eating all solid foods. He drank regularly for the most part, but he wasn't getting all of the nutrients he needed. We took him back to the GI specialist. Because he was back on his medicine, there was nothing medically wrong with him. We met with a nutritionist to beef up his diet. He started drinking whole milk with formula, essentially creating our own version of pediasure. Upon visiting his GI doctor again a few weeks later, it was determined that he had "oral aversion," which is basically a fear of food. Because Grayson was still not gaining enough weight, we were referred to a speech therapist who works with this issue.

For the most part, we have learned that we have to make eating as fun as possible. Essentially, eating has become a game, but in a positive way. Lots of oohs, ahhs, and cheering for touching new foods, and a round of applause if any food actually makes it into his mouth. The hardest part is allowing him to play with his food, but whatever the doctor says, we do:) It is also important for us to limit choices and keep track of different textures. Never in a million years did I expect to do this.

Two weeks into this process, we have already seen an improvement. Before, pretty much anything we put on his plate was thrown or pushed onto the floor. He had about four foods he would eat regularly, and even that was hit or miss. While we offered a bajillion (yep, that's a word in my opinion) different food options, he would never even put the food near his mouth. In two weeks, we have gotten him to eat or at least try 10 new foods. The therapist was very pleased when we saw her today. Two weeks ago he was barely on the growth charts at his well-baby check up weighing 20lbs. 10oz. I am hoping to see a big improvement come fall!

So, there you have it. More posts to follow this week. Pictures included.

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