I think everyone has that "one" thing they cannot live without, that serves many purposes and can be used for a long period of time. I am am sure I have several... But tonight as I was feeding Addison her snack, I realized I one that is officially a "must have" for us.
I got mine at Target when they were less then 6 months old. At the time we used it for tummy time, to give them a visual to distract them. We used it for tracking by moving it from side to side and letting them follow it with there eyes and head movement. Then for reaching and swatting at the lady bug and bee. They enjoyed it for many months as they learned to make facial expressions and entertaining themselves. And the most recent HUGE thing we've used it for... a feeding tool. You read that right. I use it with Addison to help her focus and distract her all at the same time. She is engaged with the baby in the mirror and I can encourage her "Show the Addison how you chew", "Show Addison how you drink". And she is proud to watch herself. If she refuses bites, I use it as a reward. "Tell Addison bye bye", "Take a bite and we'll see Addison".
And now here is your long awaited update. We are almost 2 months into this journey and a month and a week of that is tube feeding free. Knock on wood, for the most part, I have not seen any major regression which can be common. I do notice she has a day here or there were she isn't as interested in eating, but I can usually find a way to encourage her and have still get her to eat. On those days it also seems like she drinks a lot more which is ok, especially because on those days I give her more Pediasure to help compensate for those calories that she isn't eating. Overall her liquid intake is sky rocketing, we celebrated this by buying her big girl cups and firmly committing to straws. She now has cups just like Blake, except in pink and purple and butterflies. Yes I am excited about frilly cups, do not judge me lol, I've waited a long time for a really "sippy" cup for this kid.
We started with a "Honey Bear" training cup...
(and then tried every other one imaginable), settled on a water bottle (open mouth top) and then I noticed that she was getting good lip closer and making sucking noises so we tried the Playtex Straw Trainer Cup
which we happened to have left over from Blake (and I may or may not have bought a pink and purple in those too). And are now settled on the Playtex Insulated Straw Cups
These ones I like them for at home and/or on days when I feel like I've got to really watch how much she is taking in. The insulated ones are great for on the go because it keeps things cold longer, which is a must for Addison.
I have also been encouraging both Addison and Blake to fill their cups with water (from the fridge door dispenser), I've found that it makes them feel "grown up" and also makes them want to drink more water because they think they are getting away with something.
My biggest struggle with Addison right now, is the fact that a lot of her meals are not at the dinning room table. I had set out to be a strict enforcer of all meals at the table, and we did great right up until we started really hardcore weaning her. Then it became a battle. I got better results if she were curled up with me on the couch watching cartoons, or if I was doing some crazy stunt like singing or playing with said mirror, and now even if she is sitting at their new picnic table they got for Christmas. I hadn't given it much thought to "why" this was a problem until I mentioned it to her OT. Then it clicked. She could be associating her high chair with a negative experience (that experience being the grueling feeding sessions that yielded little results while her feeding pump ran, and may have felt like we were trying to force feed or over feed her, or just the fact that that is where ALL her tube feedings happened). For some kids it's no big deal but for a "feeding issue" kid every.little.thing. makes a difference.
When she told me that I admit I felt bad that I hadn't considered it before that, but I vowed that I'd try her booster chair instead and see if that worked and have now made it "our" goal that we will have one meal at the dinning room table every day and the rest I will allow her and Blake to eat at the picnic table. Once we have this eating thing really under control and we aren't so focused on weight, I'll worry about moving them back into the kitchen. I will say that I am very grateful that Blake is so adaptable with this whole thing and doesn't seem phased by relocation of meals, I cannot imagine battling two of them every day (but at this point most days I don't even feel like I am battling one anymore GASP).
So for now our main goals for Addison are: 1.) Gain weight and have G-tube removed. 2.) Eat one meal a day in her big girl booster at the dinning room table.