Thursday, April 8, 2010

Weaning Wednesdays: Dairy allergies & spitting

The boy has been showing an interest in feeding himself and using his own utensils, and recently has been spitting out food for every meal, especially if we fed him mushy stuff like porridge or oatmeal.  We've tried distracting him with books, with music, and so far, only the iPhone seems to work.  That one I resorted to in a final act of desperation one night, when the GE bug was wrecking havoc in my innards and I had to feed the boy on my own as the hubby was working late.  Believe me, we use it only when nothing gets into the boy's stomach, only because he was slipping off the percentile charts last time.  Otherwise I would have just left it as "if you don't eat, you'll just be hungry".  Its also be hard to churn out yummy food when the boy is on a no-soy, no-dairy diet. :(

Aside from the "distract and feed" method, we've also given the boy his own spoon as well as chunks of veggies to self-feed.  However, that also doesn't work all the time as he still does spit the food after awhile, especially if he's bored. :(  So I decided to try giving him "grown-up" food. Over the weekend, I was feeling a little inspired in the kitchen department, and aside from cooking our meals, did this for one of the boy's meals:

The presentation helped initially since he was really interested in the stuff on the plate (steamed zucchini and sweet potato slices, and bits of chicken pan-fried with peeled cherry tomatoes, something I thought up while raiding the fridge.  We fed him using a plastic plate though!).  We managed to get about half of the stuff in, and he ate the chicken which he normally spits out when its in smaller chunks in porridge, but ended up spitting food at the later part of the meal.

We've not found a fool-proof method to make him eat, but doing these things seem to help:

1. Letting the boy have his utensils, and letting him self-feed.  He gets really frustrated when he can't spoon food out of his bowl and starts throwing his utensils, so I usually help him to spear food on his fork and let him put the food in his mouth.  That seems easier for him compared to the spooning bit.  Or we'll scoop food into the spoon and let him hold it while we direct it to his mouth (he tends to flip the spoon otherwise, and gets frustrated that no food gets in).

2. Feeding him stuff off our plates: He's always been interested in what we're eating, so sometimes we'll give him what we're eating (like rice/breakfast cereal), and he eats it.

3. Keeping him occupied with books/music.  The spitting seems to be more frequent if he's not engaged in something.  Its pretty much goes against the Montessori philosophy, but hey, right now I can't have him slipping off the chart anymore!

4. Keeping his meals varied.  The boy loves to try new foods (no food neophobia for this guy), so he tends to eat a little more when there's new stuff on offer that he likes.

Also, I found these sites useful for more tips on feeding these fussy fellows:

:: On toddler feeding problems
:: Tips on feeding
:: Tips on using utensils

Ah... and finally, we brought the boy to see a PD specializing in gastroenterology yesterday to check his reflux, constipation and his terrible appetite  (hence the late post)... It turned out that what we thought was constipation (no poop for sometimes 6 days!) turned out to be normal bowel movements for a fellow who is still getting quite a bit of breastmilk, and the PD recommended we try grown-up food for the boy as he may not like all the mushy stuff anymore.

Junior J was in his element at the clinic: He flirted non-stop with the PD and the medical student attached to her, and made eyes at the both of them, only to be rewarded with a trip to the nurse to get poked (granted, he also got himself a Transformer sticker for his efforts!).  The boy had to get 3 ml of blood drawn for a RAST (Radioallergosorbent Test) test, to confirm if he had allergies to peanuts, soy and milk that may be causing his reflux up to now (when I ate those foods).  Drawing the blood was a nightmare: The nurse had to poke him a couple of times before she managed to get any blood, and the boy writhed and screamed and cried.  By the time she managed to start dripping the blood into a tube, the fellow was red in the face from all the crying, and struggled so much I thought he might fracture his arm since the hubby was holding him really tight.  However, after a feed and a 30 minute nap, he woke up A-ok and examined his plasters with lots of interest!

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