Posted By Posting
Sep 01, 2010
Feeding Tips for Oral Aversion
I am thrilled to have found this website today! I cried when I read a lot of the postings and it touched so close to home. My son, Tyler, was recently diagnosed with having an oral aversion at the age of 16 months. He basically lived his first year of life with minimal food intake. He had every test under the sun - where all other medical issues were ruled out, thank goodness! When I finally asked the doctor if she thinks he may have reflux, they put him on 15 mg of prevacid and showed dramatic improvement. He actually has an upper GI scheduled for Sept. 7th. However, he still has good days/weeks and not so good days for eating. Right now we are in a bad week, where he isn't eating well at all. Although, he has so many teeth coming in right now that I wonder if that's the issue (he has 3 or 4 molars coming at once!). His dietician has put him on Resource for Kids, and he is getting complete nutrition, but his weight gain is still quite slow. We have an OT and ST who are thrilled with the fact that he plays with his food and throws it and licks it. But I am starting to feel frustrated because that's just it... he is only playing and licking new foods. If we present him with something new, he licks it, and throws it. We have presented him with the same things over and over and over and over... and we just can't get past the lick stage. I am hopeful that someone might be able to give me a few tricks to get him to take that next step and actually eat it!!! He does eat a variety of things and we are thankful for that (baby cereal, rice krispies, crackers, cheesies, green beans, creamed corn) - although intake is very small - 2 or 3 tbsp. of pureed foods and a few crackers at a time. We also calorie boost like crazy - butter, whipping cream, milk powder, polycose, etc........ Any suggestions? Thanks!!!
Sep 01, 2010
Ryan was born May 20th 2008. 9 lbs 2 oz. Ryan’s magic bullet was 30mg of Prevacid capsules mixed with Caracream from Marci-kids (I am forever indebted to the team at Marci-kids), Claratin for the mucos, and Mirlax for the constipation. Within 2 months of this combo he jumped from the 6% to the 50% for weight and continues to climb. Be strong, listen to your instincts. Read his story for more specifics that just might help you too - Karen
Jedds mom, Jessica, is our resident expert in this area. I am sure she will chime in. My son Ryan had a very strong feeding aversion too. The sight of a bottle or his high chair would send him off the deep end. I finally got his reflux under control at 14 months. Once that happened, then I could tackle feeding aversion. It was a long process. First I had to get rid of the high chair. I got him a Stokke chair instead. (The daycare moved him to a little table.} I started with fruits and tried to get him to eat any bites there. When he started to melt down I put him in his wagon and pulled him around the neighborhood and finished feeding him on the move. Each day I worked to keep him at the table eating a little longer and a litte more. As soon as he freaked though, we left. Pretty soon he would eat his fruit there so then I added veggies. Same thing there. He ate his fruit and a bite of veggies, when he melted we left. He finished what he could in the wagon. It kind of became a neighborhood thing. All the little girls would want to take turns riding in the wagon with him and helping him eat. They made it fun for him. Yes, it sounds daunting, but it worked. My goal was to have him eating at the table by the time the snow came. It happened.. but with only a week to spare. : ) The biggest thing is to take the anxiety and stress out of eating. Seems like that is an impossible task but it can be done, especially if you can get other little kids involved. Figure out what he really enjoys such as being outside, a favorite movie, book etc and use it to your advantage. I still have to play the "take a drink of milk or I will have to turn Curious George off." Mean.. maybe.. but it works.

That he is licking and playing really is a good sign. I know it doesnt feel that way, but it is. Sounds like you just got the reflux under control so it will take time. You have 16 months of pain/food relationships to undo. Careful on the fatty foods like butter. While it is good for calories, it can be tough on reflux.

Does he go to daycare? If not can you get him in a play group that would include a snack time. Sometimes watching other kids can help. His buddies have really helped with his fluid aversion, which was even more fierce than his fluid aversion. They have little contests on who can drink their milk first or they play Cheers games.

Sep 01, 2010
Jessica, Mommy to Jedd, severe reflux, severe food and oral aversions, Finally G tube free!!! VSD repair 4-24-07 (open heart surgery), hypospadias, repaired 3 times and Ear tubes Visit Jedd at his CB site:
I would stick with what he likes and expand from there.

You say he likes crackers, will he did the crackers into anything like ranch dressing or cheese spreads or anything else??

Are the green beans pureed? If they are you can add other flavors into it and then wean it eventually to another veggie. If they are whole when eaten, you can add melted cheese to them as well.

Are your OT and ST trained to work with kids who have a severe oral aversion, do they go to training classes to better equip themselves to work with these types of children? How long have you been working with them and have you seen any improvement in the time they have been working with them yet? What exactly do they do when they do a therapy session with you?

What kind of feeding schedule do they have you on currently? What are the current height and weight ratios on the %tile scale?

Have you tried taking whole foods that you eat at the table and pureeing them to see if he will like those flavors? We used a Magic Bullet with Chef Boy R Dee foods and Jedd liked that alot.

We worked with E.I. for over 2 years to get Jedd off of his feeding tube. After about 18 months we wanted to move to solid food full time. At that point our O.T. went to an out of state seminar that suggested the use of Food Chaining. We used that technique and never looked back.

Jedd was fully ready for it though, he had a good base under him from a long time of therapy and we just needed to expand his diet, that did it for him.

It won't work with a child who is still formula dependent or a child who is still mainly on purees.

This is just MHO but I would rather an O.T. work with a child on feeding issues than an S.T. just my personal preference. We worked with both, the S.T. for speech and the O.T. for feeding. The S.T. used to try and do some feeding stuff and she didn't have a clue!!!! LOL

Most of the time the O.T.s are trained in the oral motor control issues that a child needs in order to learn how to eat properly where as an S.T. mostly works with speech issues.

Again, not always the case, just the case with our city's Early Intervention program.

Let me know if you have any other questions. The toughest thing about feeding issues, is the fact that what works in my home my not work in your home. The only way to guarantee results is by doing an in patient program where everything is in an almost "perfect" controlled environment. A home is not controlled enough.

Also as a personal preference, I like behavior programs. They seem to have the best success rates across the board.

Sep 01, 2010
Jessica, Mommy to Jedd, severe reflux, severe food and oral aversions, Finally G tube free!!! VSD repair 4-24-07 (open heart surgery), hypospadias, repaired 3 times and Ear tubes Visit Jedd at his CB site:
heeheehee, we posted at the same time. I can also FB you and we can exchange info that way....numbers and such.
Sep 03, 2010
Thanks so much for the replies! I had no idea butter wasn't good for reflux - or fatty foods. Tyler is starting an in home babysitter on Tuesday - I'm a teacher and I am returning back after mat leave :( The OT and his doctors all said maybe he will do a total turn around once he gets there and sees the other kids eat. They told me more often than not, they see drastic changes in oral aversions once they go out of the home. Tyler is starting to dip his crackers in peanut butter, cheez whiz, and cream cheese. And we are putting table food on his tray. He continues to lick and my husband actually thinks yesterday, he ate some of it! Because it was gone and he couldn't find it anywhere! I guess it will take TIME. It just feels like it's taking forever and I am very worried if he loses weight, his Gastroenterologist said we will then have to talk about feeding tube. Jessica... I'm not sure what Food Chaining means. I live in Canada and maybe it's not something I am familiar with?? Also, you asked about his OT, I don't think she specializes in oral aversions because when she comes to our house for the session, she just sits and praises him for throwing his food and touching it. That's it!! She also said once he starts walking he will eat again! She has suggested mixing real veggies with his pureed veggies and to have him dip crackers. We also distract him during eating, songs, rhymes, books, toys, and it seems to work (much like your wagon ride around town!). And yes, it IS EXHAUSTING!
Check with your
doctor first!