Brooke has Occupational Therapy (OT) weekly to work on feeding issues.
At 15 months of age Brooke only weighed 15 pounds and our specialist doctors decided that it was crucial that she get a feeding tube. She was not eating anything by mouth and if she did, would throw it all back up. She started vomiting at least once daily and had lots of retching in-between. It was a scary time for us as parents trying to get her enough nutrition and praying she didn’t get sick.
After Brooke got her feeding tube I tried to do as much research as I could online about trying to get her to eat orally. My goal for Brooke was to get her to eat as much as she could by mouth and then use the feeding tube as a supplement. Unfortunately, eating by mouth just wasn’t happening.
We ended up getting a referral for an OT evaluation for Brooke’s complex feeding issues and found these discoveries:
Brooke was not using her tongue when she had food in her mouth. When the therapist would rub her finger around Brooke’s gums, her tongue is supposed to follow the finger, but it never did.
Brooke would chew up food but never swallow it. She always spit it out and by that I mean she would open her mouth and put her head in a downward position and let the food fall out. She never pushed it out with her tongue.
When Brooke had food in her mouth she didn’t use her tongue to push the food over to the molars to chew, so she ended up sucking on things for a looooong time.
Our therapists sure do know what they are doing because it has now been almost one year since her surgery and she is using her tongue for all the things I mentioned above that she wasn’t doing before! She’s eating about 250 calories by mouth (consistently) daily and the best news is she tells me, “I’m hungry mommy” or “pancakes!!” It is like music to my ears!
She has made so much progress but we still have a long road ahead of us with feeding issues but I’m so happy that we have come this far!