Abby has never been a good eater. From the NG tube in the NICU to the stuffing she adopted as a baby… she may love everything but getting it into her body is a struggle. She was born with very low tone and a poor suck reflex. Because of this I wasn’t able to nurse her and it took trying about 5 or 6 different bottles to find something that worked. As she got old enough to try different foods we learned she had very severe food allergies (milk, egg and blueberry). So we were struck with more limitations.
Once she started to “self-feed” she would stuff everything on her plate into her mouth (at once) and risk her own safety. We worked on that in OT and her therapist explained that it was probably a source of self-stimulation. We moved on to a Z-vibe (vibrating oral toy) before meals and an electric toothbrush at other points throughout the day. It worked but it still took her FOREVER to eat.
Things evened out a little in toddlerhood and she learned to primitively use a fork and spoon. She made a much bigger mess than Grace but her fine motor skills were way behind. We just chocked up her messy eating style to her motor limitations.
Now she is four and a half and things are no better. She stuffs. She forgets to chew. She mooshes and sqooshes her food. She flaps and head rolls and moves when she eats. More food ends up on the floor or her face than in her mouth. It’s a little like those experiences of babies first bowl of spaghetti EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.
I’m okay with the fact that our carpet is ruined. I am even ok with the fact that she doesn’t eat like other kids. There are two things I am not okay with First she risks choking during each meal. At four plus I cannot leave her for one second when she eats. The other thing is how do we send her into a full day kindergarten when she can’t eat properly?
School doesn’t work on feeding because it “isn’t a learning issue”. I contend that a child who can’t self-feed at five could be problematic educationally… just saying.
So we are considering a private OT. We hate to add another therapist into her week but she needs to be able to eat. Not really sure what the right path is but we know we need to get the kid eating.