Oral Aversion - Weaning Success

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I will never take eating and drinking for granted again. 

Rhun is 14 months old tomorrow and hasn't taken to weaning so easy.

So, what is Oral Aversion?

An aversion is the avoidance of a thing or situation because it is associated with an unpleasant, stressful or painful stimulus. A feeding aversion refers to a situation where a baby - who is physically capable of feeding or eating - exhibits partial or full food refusal. Babies can develop an aversion to breastfeeding, bottle-feeding and/or solid foods.

In Rhuns case, he was scared of having things in his mouth as he had previously had a lot of serious choking episodes, from milk (whilst breastfeeding and bottle feeding) through to solids. This has been extremely frustrating as you can imagine. He is 14 months old tomorrow (13 months corrected) and we have had a HUGE amount of success with his weaning these past few weeks. He also has a very sensitive gag reflex which we are slowly overcoming by trying to desensitise his mouth, (I'll do another blog post on that later).

Rhun had severely underdeveloped muscles and he had immature chewing skills too. It seems he just needed a little while longer for his muscles to strengthen up so he was able to swallow food correctly. He choked because (here's the simple terms...) his muscles just weren't capable of pushing the food down his throat meaning it would get lodged in the back of his throat causing way too many problems to mention!

He has managed a diet of super smooth purées and milk up until recently. He has still had endless issues with super smooth puree, when his muscles would collapse and he still would struggle with even the runniest puree I made for him. Feeding him a bottle was also a nightmare. He couldn't handle the flow of anything above a newborn size teat and only recently (2 months ago) I decided to move him up to a size 2 teat for all of his bottles. He now accepts a free flow sippy cup at meal times which I never thought he would do!

He is very behind compared to most toddlers his age but slowly and surely wins the race! It's been a lot of sleepless nights, googling for answers, phone calls to his specialists, tears, frustration and joy in the past 8 months but I feel we have really made tracks with his eating lately. I just hope and pray his muscles don't collapse again which will send us right back to square one (>_<) this has happened a few times previously and I can assure you, you cannot imagine the frustration this brings!

We are now consistently eating peas, grated cheese, beans, fish, black pudding and egg!

For snacks we are advised to keep with snacks that dissolve in the mouth with little chewing - Ella's Kitchen Jumbo Crisps are his favourite!

I NEVER thought he would take food from a plate and willingly eat it AND manage to eat it without choking. There seems to be no stopping him lately :)

He will still be seen by the specialists until the hospital are happy Rhun is moving forwards in all aspects of eating and drinking.

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