This morning we had our appointment with the Feeding Team. Armed with several different types of his favorite and least favorite foods, Jackson and I were prepared. After being weighed (he LOST weight- 19.6 pounds) and measured (he grew – .2″ in 1 month) we went back to the feeding team room, which consisted of about eight chairs lined up against the wall and a play mat in the middle with some Mega Bloks on it.
The meeting consisted of a GI physician, a psychiatrist, an occupational therapist (OT), a nutritionist, a psychiatry intern and a med student. All of them were super friendly and armed with laptops for the meeting. The OT sat down on the floor and observed/played with Jackson while the rest of the team asked me their questions. As I answered each question, they quickly typed their answers into their laptops. They were all very nice and I could tell they wanted to get to the bottom of Jackson’s eating issues.
After we all talked for about 45 minutes, they instructed me to feed Jackson some food he likes in the room’s highchair and slowly introduce some different foods that he may or may not like. It was just Jackson and I in the room then, facing a one-way mirror while the team watched from another room. It only took him about two minutes to realize there were people on the other side and he started waving. Of course, he was true to form and didn’t really eat anything. I have no idea how the kid could not eat for more than 15 hours (since dinner the night before) and not be ravenous. He started signing “all done” about 5 minutes into the feeding- typical!
The OT came in a few times and tried some different suggestions with us, but it became clear Jackson is independent and wouldn’t allow me to spoon feed him anything. After watching him “eat” for 20 minutes, the team had a meeting in their other room to discuss a plan of action for him. I tried to get him to eat some more breakfast and then we played until their meeting was done, about 15 minutes later.
The psychiatrist and OT came in to discuss what we were going to do and their plan was pretty similar to what we have been doing but did have some new ideas. They had a nice, personalized print out for the therapeutic interventions- incredibly helpful for my “pregnancy brain.”
Some interesting take-ways are that they think Jackson might have “lower oral efficiency,” which means it takes him forever to chew his food. To help fix this we will have follow up appointments with the OT and in the mean time will cut all of his food into dime-size pieces. We are also going to limit all meals and mini-meals (snacks) to his high chair in 15 minute limits. We will also alternate soft foods, like cheese, with crunchy foods, like crackers, to keep things interesting for him.
Overall, the team was great and I learned some new tips which will hopefully pack the weight on him. If it doesn’t we will look at alternatives, like an appetite stimulant. We go back in 2 weeks for a follow up with the OT. I’m really happy with the hospital’s team and am very thankful we live so close to such an excellent children’s hospital. I’ll keep you posted on my thriving, “failure to thrive” toddler ;).