I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress this week. On Tuesday I tried feeding Averi the applesauce with the crosscut nipple. She not only sucked on it, which she never does with the NUK nipple, but she swallowed without gagging and while keeping a seal around the nipple! Not only that, but she took 30 mls! That’s 3 times more than she’s ever taken from a bottle! (Do the exclamations tell you that I’m excited?)
I emailed Francis right away and asked if I could stop by the hospital and get some of the breast milk thickener so we wouldn’t have to wait until today. She obliged, probably thinking that I’m way too proactive, and we were able to try it out on Thursday. She only took 20 mls on the first try, but that was still an improvement.
We also introduced sweet potatoes this week. I guess I didn’t notice how much she was spraying food with her raspberries because the bananas and applesauce are light, but the darker sweet potatoes have opened my eyes. Everything within a 5 foot radius of her high chair is now splattered in orange.
She definitely likes thicker foods better because she doesn’t blow nearly as many raspberries with oatmeal as she does with runny baby food. I have realized that raspberries are her coping mechanism when she has trouble swallowing.
After talking to GI, I decided that their ‘don’t change anything’ policy was not conducive to progression, so I talked to the nutritionist. She said that there is no right way to mix oral and G-Tube feeds and that we could start doing three feeds every 3 hours during the day. Every 3 hours was right in the middle of nap time so I did some math and made a new feeding schedule of my own. Averi now eats orally every four hours 3 times a day, followed by a one hour tube feed and then has an 8 hour continuous feed at night.
When we went to OT today, Francis announced that she had great news, she had finally found a Haberman Feeder. She left to get it out of her bag and came back empty handed. Apparently it had fallen out somewhere. We are destined to never use one because I didn’t get mine in the mail from the Medela Rep. either. Maybe one day…
Francis tried feeding Averi a bottle while giving chin support. Basically she pushed up on Averi’s chin while she was sucking so that she wouldn’t open her mouth so much and bite her tongue. This helped and she actually drank a little more milk than usual. She said we could do that at home and to also try using a nipple with only one slit instead of two (the cross-cut one) so that Averi will have to work a little bit harder to get the thickened milk out.
P.S. I always just take Kaili with us and she loves it because she gets to play on all the Physical Therapy toys while we work with Averi.