When Mealtime Becomes a Battle

April 3, 2013

KendallWhen it comes to our “smallest” twin, Kendall, we have faced many challenges and I would say the biggest challenge of all has been her eating/feeding issues. When Kendall was born she was completely on a feeding tube, her lungs were underdeveloped, and she really didn’t eat much at all. I remember when the nurses and doctors were excited because she was taking an ounce and I was in shock because I didn’t understand how my daughter could thrive on one ounce.

As the months went on and Kendall began to thrive naturally and progress in her breathing apparatuses: ventilator, c-pap, and canula she of course started to eat more, however, it still wasn’t much. It was especially hard seeing Kendall struggle to eat and throw up when she had ate too much because her twin was thriving completely the opposite direction as she was. She was eating at a normal pace and was gradually getting to where she needed to be in order to be released from the hospital.

Kendall wound up being in the hospital for almost her complete first year of life and I remember the day she got to come home and she was still only drinking about 2oz at feedings. It was nowhere near where she should have been but it was enough to bring her home and that was all I cared about. As time has went on Kendall’s appetite has grown drastically and I can’t believe how much she eats now.

When Kendall came home from the hospital was when the real trouble with eating/feeding occurred. She usually did well at feedings; however, it took us a lot longer to get her to move on to the next step; i.e. eating baby foods, solids, normal diet. After a few months of being home and going to regular doctor’s appointments we decided to seek occupational therapy and hoped that it would progress her to where she needed to be. After a few months of that we decided it wasn’t necessary because everything the therapist was doing we were doing at home and we saw more progress at home with her then what she would do with her therapist.

Kendall is now 3 going on 4 and we still have struggles with feeding when she is sick but other than that she eats double what her sister does and is still as skinny as a rail. Whenever we go to doctor’s appointments now they ask if we are even feeding her, (which of course we are) and they don’t seem to understand how she holds her weight. She is still on the small side but eats just as much as her sister if not more.

This is Kendall today.  She is the one on the right.

This is Kendall today. She is the one on the right.

If your child is suffering with feeding and eating problems, the advice I would give is to listen to your gut. So many times I had people tell me that Kendall wasn’t eating enough and accused us of not tending to our child when she was hungry, which wasn’t the case. Only you know what your child eats or doesn’t eat and if they are thriving sometimes that is all that matters. Each new and little step is a HUGE milestone in the preemie world.