You wanna know what the worst part of feeding a baby is? That you have to do it multiple times a day. Ugh. Eric and I are constantly trying to trick the other into starting meal time so we can avoid it ourselves.
I’ve talked about Maddy’s eating habits before, and I mentioned how much progress we’ve made. I’ll echo that sentiment, because we really have seen so much progress. The thing is, progress from such a low starting point doesn’t mean it has gotten easy for us.
We have a new trick – using a DuoSpoon. We were so lucky that one of our OTs (have I mentioned before how incredible these ladies are?? I just love them!) gave us one after Maddy took to it during a feeding therapy session. Briefly, it’s an oral motor tool that will help Maddy to accept different textures in her mouth. We let Maddy play with it, allowing her to explore it by mouthing. Once she was comfortable with it, we started adding purées to it. Now we use it all the time during feeding, as Maddy is more likely to accept food if it’s on the DuoSpoon versus a regular spoon.
The first day we brought this home, Maddy would not let go of it… she even had her afternoon nap with it!
Even when the camera was enticing her, she kept her grip.
I can’t lie – feeding Maddy is my least, least, least favourite thing to do. We still have meal times where she refuses to eat. In fact, she started using the ‘more’ sign awhile back, but she often uses it to indicate she wants to eat (since we always practiced it during feeding). She will give you the more sign, and when you give her food, she takes it in her mouth, swishes it around and spits it back out. She will then cry and sign for more. This process can last over an hour. It makes me want to scream some days.
Our go-to solution used to be to let her explore the food with her hands and to let her feed herself, no matter how messy. But, now if we do that, all she does is throw the food at us, at the floor, at Loki… anywhere but in her mouth. This also makes me want to scream.
The fact that she doesn’t eat doesn’t bother me in itself. What bothers me is the rotten mood it puts Maddy in because she’s hungry, because, let’s face it… when Maddy is in a rotten mood, we’re all in a rotten mood. On days when we simply can’t get her to eat a thing, we lift her out of her chair and she starts hitting us. We immediately put her on the floor but she quickly finds someone else to take her frustrations out on – she starts following Loki around, constantly hitting him. Sigh.
We’ve been tempted to just stop feeding her if she does these things, in order to “teach” her that if she doesn’t eat she’ll be hungry. The thing is, since it’s a sensory issue, it doesn’t really teach her anything – she just wouldn’t eat, which, as you can imagine, can produce other complications.
It also bothers me that every meal time takes us at least an hour and a half, sometimes more. You know what that means? It means that at least 4.5 hours of every day is spent with Eric or myself getting frustrated while we attempt to get Maddy to “eat”. I hate it. I hate it so much. Many days either Eric or myself end up storming out of the kitchen too frustrated to continue, and the other has to step in to finish up the meal. I so wish that I had a Maddy like this Maddie.
We’re still trying to make feeding easier in therapy. It’s the last hurdle we need to cross before we can reduce our sessions from once a week to once every other week. I hope we can figure something out soon, because our patience in the kitchen is running so, so low these days.