It's been no secret around here that one of the biggest challenges we have faced since Colin was born has been feeding issues. Although we were fortunate that Colin didn't have any major medical issues at birth, he did have to stay an extra night at the hospital because he wasn't feeding on the bottle very well. For months it was a struggle to get him to drink a certain amount of formula which had to be done from a specific kind of nipple (I will never feel the same about those crooked Nuk nipples! and I felt like we were counting cc's and ounces for so long!) and when we finally started to overcome that we started working on the straw which also took a long time for him to accomplish.
However, shockingly, when we started with the cereal and pureed fruits and vegetables he did awesome with it. We never had any issues during that time period and it was actually quite nice (aside from trying to get him to drink his milk through a regular straw).
However, when we started to switch to the Stage 3 foods (I WISH I knew some of the research that is now available regarding this sort of textured food) the fight began. At the same time, we were also trying to incorporate table foods and everything was spit out through raspberries. Unlike most babies/toddlers, Colin always refused puffs, yogurt melts, and the like. Even from the beginning of the table food stage, Colin would only eat cottage cheese, apple sauce and pastina (after much effort) with pureed vegetables in it.
Throughout most of Colin's 1st and 2nd year we spent getting feeding evaluations and feeding therapy through St. Joseph's feeding clinic in North Jersey. Although I feel like we did get some good things out of there in terms of helping the inner struggles (reflux and constipation), we never really saw any progress in what went in Colin's mouth. We were really uncomfortable for a long time because we used to have to force food into his mouth a certain way and we were so religious about it that when I was home with Kailey as a newborn, I packed her up everyday and went over to Colin's school to "do the method" at lunch time (because I felt bad asking the teachers to do it).
We've had stretches of time where he ate some new things like pancakes, which became a dinnertime staple but most of these stretches have been short. In December last year, the pastina made a 2-day comeback and then Colin had strep throat and things were never the same again. He's had bites of pizza and more recently lasagna, but we can't get anything to "stick". We have cheered and airplained and jumped the food into his mouth, but we just can't make progress.
We have cried over these feeding challenges and wanted to pull our hair out but finally have gotten to a place where we have accepted this part of Colin, but it has always sat uncomfortably in the back of our minds that we are not happy with this. Although we feel that it has something to do with textures (NOTHING crunchy or hard solid), we don't feel that he is really a kid who has sensory issues because he can tolerate most things on his hands, in between his toes and IN his mouth (heck, this kid ate a TON of sand and comparable items this summer). We have tried so many different things and foods but we just have not made significant progress.
Every time we go somewhere, we need to make sure we have a bag packed with food for Colin as well as drinks he likes because aside from ice cream, there is not really anything we can get for him at a restaurant or someone's house. Although this isn't by far the worst thing we could be doing, we have now experienced what it's like to have a child eat anything and actually chew the food that it's in her mouth (we still don't feel like Colin appropriately chews food) and we would love to get to some kind of place like that with Colin. Just two weeks ago, we started the feeding evaluation at a new place that we have seen several other specialists in and were really happy with the woman in her approach. She didn't really evaluate the eating the way we expected her to do, but she did get a very thorough history on him and shared with us the fact she doesn't believe in a forceful approach. We are hoping that we will be starting feeding therapy 1x a week in the near future as long as scheduling and insurance issues can easily be resolved.
Although we can tolerate his feeding issues now, we want to get to a place where there is SOME variety in Colin's meal because we are afraid that eventually, the cottage cheese will work itself back out. My goal time period is to see changes in the next year...fingers crossed!