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I just got back from the latest feeding team appointment, and I feel so upset. First of all, I feel stupid about even being this upset. The GI clinic Anna goes to is right next to the hematology oncology clinic that has all these pale, bald children being wheeled in and out. My heart aches for those children and their families. I'm thankful that in spite of it all, Anna is healthy.
So I don't know if seeing all those kids affected my mood or if the appointment really went that badly. First of all, Anna only gained 2 ounces in the past month, putting her at 19 lbs 4 oz. I didn't even want to tell them that she had just down a whole cup of milk about five minutes before being weighed since she had been previously weighed on an empty stomach. She fell back off the chart again after having barely creeped on last month. I was so down about that. When I had bathed her just before the appointment, I was just thinking to myself how much chunkier she looked. Of course, the size 12-18 pants that not even the diaper could keep up for her should have been an indication that she wasn't actually bigger. I was so sure we were getting on the other side of this headache.
I was horribly embarassed because I didn't know that this was another full feeding appointment like the first one. I had only had the Cheerios and crackers I always carry with me in the bag. Thankfully they had other foods on hand to give her, but of course, she refused pretty much all of it. At least they got to see her having a bad meal unlike last time.
They got after me about not having developed the consistent, rigid schedule I have been pressed to get on. I guess I'm seeing the results of it. I just really don't know how I'm supposed to do it and have a life! I really have no idea! If she's supposed to eat six times a day in her high chair, when exactly can we do anything else?? I can't even figure out how to fit in five meals, and I'm even cheating by counting the Pediasure as a whole meal. I just don't see how it's possible. I feel like the worst mother for not being able to figure this out and devote that much of my day to this neverending battle. Every two hours I need to be feeding her, but she never wants to when I try. It's like having a newborn schedule again minus the hungry baby and minus the mobility of a breast or bottle. I've been given this advice over and over by every feeding professional I've seen, and I still haven't been able to do it right. I guess the fact that my daughter is still too skinny is what I get. How horrible am I???
At the end of the appointment, I naively brought up my concern over the amount of sugar she is having with the Pediasure every day and the Carnation mixed in with every cup of milk. I said I was worried that when we put her back on regular milk that she won't want it. The nutritionist said, "We're still a very long way away from having to worry about taking her off of all these supplements. It seems to be the only reason she isn't actually losing weight."
I just feel so lousy and incompetent. I can't believe that I just can't figure out how to feed my kid. I can't believe that we are at this level and I still can't figure it out. It's so hard to understand when she runs circles around all the other kids in her playgroup. It's so hard to understand when people tell me she doesn't look so bad. Is she so bad off that I really do need to devote my entire life to feeding her? Everyone in my personal life says it's not so bad, but all the medical people say it is that bad. Ugh. I just feel like crap.
Ok, I'm sorry for all the rambling. Just had to get it out.
Rosalie, Mommy to Anna (05/06) and Thomas (10/08)
(((HUGS))). I definatley understand how you feel. We don't have quite the same battle as you do, but we do have a 5 year old who has only been off of baby food for 8 months. It has been really rough for us as well, since she does not know how to chew. We have to teach her, and we have been working on that for 6 months, and have made almost no progress.
My biggest recommendation in regards to feeding her in the high chair, is to get a portable one that attaches to a table chair. They work really well for on the go, because they fit right in the trunk and you can take it with you. This way, when you are goping someplace, you have a little more freedom becuase the high chair comes with you. They are also relatively inexpensive (under$30)
There are others out there, but this may give you an idea.
I know they say 6 feedings a day, but if that is really tough, you may want to shoot for just 5. That's what we do. We have 3 meals and 2 "snacks" (which usually consists of some sort of meat and pudding or yogurt and oatmeal).
OUr schedule is as follows:
Breakfast between 7:30 and 8
Snack #1: between 10 and 10:30
Lunch: around 12:30 (mostly 12 now since she is in kindergarten)
Snack #2 at 3:45 (She gets off the bus at 3:30)
Dinner: at 6:30
I have a few other ideas that may help (they worked really well for us), but I don't know if anyone has mentioned them, so please forgive me if they have. If you have any questions about any of them, please fell free to pm me.
First: Timed meals, (I think I remember reading that you already do this, so I apologize if you do) We do 20 minutes only, whatever she eats is all she gets until the next meal time.
Second: Rotate her foods. Start with what you want her to be eating. Only after she takes a bite of that food, is she allowed to eat something she likes (I am assuming herre that she does have at least one favorite food she'll eat without a problem, and it doesn't matter if its chips, cheerios, yogurt, whatever) This will teach her that be doing what you want her to, she'll get what she wants. This worked really well for us. The first couple of days were really rough, but after 2-3 days, she settled right down into the routine and started eating better.
Third: POsitive reinforcement. Establish a meal time toy that rewards her everytime she takes a bite of food. When she complies, she gets to play with the toy for 10 seconds. If she doesn't comply, no toy. Make sure she only gets this toy during meal time, or she'll learn that she can play with it when she's not eating, so she doesn't have to eat to still play with it.
Finally: Ignore all bad behavior. Do not respond to it in anyway, even if she throws food, screams, yells, anything. She may have learned that in the past this would get her out of eating (I know my dd learned this). Once she realizes that she can't get a rise out of you and it does not change her feeding situation, the behaviors will lessen until they are gone.
It's really hard and a very slow process. We have been dealing with Alexis' feeding problems for almost 4 years. I know that's not very encouraging, but since we saw a new feeding clinic in February that gave us these suggestions, and since then, in 8 months, we have been able to get her off of baby food and onto ground/chopped table food. We got her off the sippy cup and onto open cups, drinking out of a straw, and eliminated mealtime temper tantrums, gaging and vomiting. I have felt so stupid that it took us 4 years to see a new doctor and over 4 years to get her off of baby food.
Hang in there and I hope these ideas help some. It is really tough planning your life around her feeding times, I know, I've been there, but hopefully with the portable high chair, it may give you some more freedom.
<div align="center">Thanks Alison's Mommy, SillyMama, Katarina and samylaine for my blinkies.</div>
(((hugs))) Don't beat yourself up over it. You are doing all you can. The previous poster gave some really good advice and I really can't think of anything to add.
How old is Anna? If I remember correctly she is younger than Paige (21 months) and Paige only weighs 16lbs 2oz so please know that you are not alone.
Oh, Rosalie, you are doing a great job, please don't beat yourself up about it. Most moms don't have the troubles that we have getting their kids to eat. I stare in awe at my SIL who can get her son (who is 4 mo younger than mine) to eat two bananas at once when mine will barely eat 1/2 of one. You WILL get to a point where you don't have to worry about it every second, sometimes it's just so hard to get there. HUGS, we know you are doing great! We're always here to listen.