Our story begins with a seven week stay in the NICU. Though most babies in there are premature, Caleb was born at nearly 43 weeks and weighed 12lb 13oz! At birth, he was found to have low blood sugar, which landed him in the NICU initially. We expected to be going home within a couple days.
However, within hours of birth, Caleb began to require oxygen due to labored breathing. We had planned to breastfeed Caleb, but because of the breathing issue a nasogastric tube was placed to feed him. Though his breathing issues would resolve within a couple weeks, the NG tube was where our real troubles began.
Because of his size, Caleb was a bit of an anomaly in the NICU. Surrounded by doctors experienced primarily with preemies, the delivery rate of Caleb's food was calculated the same rate as they did for tiny preemies. Based on his weight this calculation meant they continuously gave him large volumes through his tube. (We would later come to learn through Rowena that this was an overwhelming amount for Caleb's system.)
He then acquired the diagnosis of severe "reflux" (which Rowena later explained was likely vomiting due to overfeeding). Since he was overfed, any time a bottle was offered, Caleb would gag and if he did take any he would vomit up the extra.
They ran several tests attempting to explain the "reflux" and after 6 weeks of this they finally decided just to pull the NG tube out to see how he would do. There was an immediate difference. Caleb was so eager to eat and very much enjoyed his bottles. The gagging and aversive behavior had nearly disappeared.
Though Caleb was eager and enjoying the bottles, he was limiting the amount to 60 mls each feed. He had previously failed a swallow study and so they were thickening his formula with oatmeal. Because of the volume limiting, Caleb failed his oral feeding trial in the hospital. He did not drink as much or gain as much as they expected and become dehydrated. (Rowena later explained to us that Caleb was limiting his volumes because babies base their intake on caloric needs being met, not volume. The addition of oatmeal had doubled the calories in Caleb’s bottles. )
We were so discouraged at this point because doctors now wanted to place a more permanent feeding tube, known as a g-tube. We felt we had no other choice if we were to ever to be released from the hospital with our son, so we consented to the surgery. A week later, we were discharged on a 24-hour continuous feeding regimen via pump and with his oral aversion already in full force once again.
At a follow-up, we were given permission to try bolus feeds. Caleb was still vomiting large amounts. At this point we were scouring the internet for answers to all of our questions regarding our son's health. We learned about the dependency that tube fed children have on their tubes and began frantically trying to figure out how to get him back to the bottle, at least during the day. We blindly attempted a tube wean on our own, but quit early due to fears and uncertainty of what we were doing. We knew we were onto something. We just needed the right guidance and support to do this safely.
Our son had been home approximately a month when our search led us to Rowena. We read through the testimonials and felt hope that someone might be able to help us. We answered the questionnaire Rowena sent us, and that very evening correspondence regarding Caleb began. Our goal was to get Caleb back to feeding orally only part of the time. We were getting nowhere with medical personnel as to what to do for Caleb and we had implemented our own feeding therapy at home, but still he mostly refused the bottle. We felt if we could have him eating orally at least part of the time that this would increase his chances of coming off the tube more easily through feeding therapy later. We were absolutely stunned and filled with encouragement, excitement and hope when Rowena told us that, based on the information we provided, she believed Caleb would be weaned completely from the tube within a couple of weeks.
Rowena has been a wealth of knowledge. I am a nurse myself and grew frustrated that we were not finding the answers or help we needed for Caleb in our medical system. Rowena held the keys that unlocked so much help and hope for our son. She explained to us about catch-down growth, overfeeding, how thickened feeds using oatmeal hindered Caleb's eating, why Caleb failed his feeding trial in the NICU, and much more. Everything she taught us made such perfect sense that we initiated the plan immediately. By the end of our 3rd day, Caleb had taken a bottle and kept it down. The next day he took every feeding. Volumes slowly rose as he took off on his own. The reflux/vomiting ceased completely and we never used the tube again after that 3rd day. His g-tube was removed 4 weeks after beginning Rowena's plan.
Caleb is currently sustaining himself 100% via oral feeds and growing at a healthy rate. There were several moments of high anxiety and uncertainty and Rowena was always available, compassionate, and supportive. Her knowledge and compassion are truly a gift to many families searching for answers and I truly cannot recommend her enough. If you are having doubts, I would encourage you to reach out. We too had doubts, and Rowena definitely came through. She was able to help our son from the other side of the world when doctors here had no idea how to handle a case like his.
Rowena was the key to getting Caleb off of the tube and was a turning point in our son's health. As a medical professional myself I would recommend her wholeheartedly again and again. Its one of the best decisions my husband and I have ever made for our children and we are so thankful we did.
My daughter Emily was born with Bilateral Paralyzed vocal cords. At three weeks old my husband and I received the news from all her doctors that she would require a tracheotomy to help her breath and allow her to be a baby. We were scared and terrified as any new parents would be. A few weeks later she also was required to have g tube. She had severe acid reflux and with her tracheotomy doctors informed us the g tube would be best for her to give her food and nutrition. I continued to work with Occupational therapy and the doctors from our hospital to get her to drink a bottle. Then she turned 6 months and it was time for solids they gave us the ok to proceed with giving her solids but she never really ate enough. Her first birthday had arrived and she was doing amazing. In her first year she hit all the developmental mile stones, she was crawling and almost walked with her twin sister on her first birthday. But there was one thing missing, her eating. Although she was eating she still required to have boluses through her g tube every day. I tried everything and continued to meet with doctors and occupational therapy. It was a consistent battle and she was not gaining weight. Doctors told me I should wait till she is the right weight before doing any g tube weaning. They informed me Emily is a picky eater and I should continue to try all foods. But as a mother I felt in my gut she deserved a chance to wean her off the g tube. Then Rowena my saving grace came into the picture. I spoke with Rowena and instantly knew I was in the right hands. We started right out of the gates cut her feedings in half!! And I said in half?! She said yes, it will be ok and so I did. Within in 1 week Emily was eating everything I placed on her tray. So we continued week by week. After three weeks Emily was eating and drinking 100% orally. The boluses were over and out of our lives. Within 3 months Emily’s weight had jumped from 15.4 to 19 pounds!! She eats more than her twin sister and still has a tracheotomy. I can never thank Rowena enough for all her support and changing our lives. Rowena was so helpful, encouraging and available to any questions I needed. We spent our first vacation as a family not tied to boluses or night time feedings and it was the best vacation ever! Thank you for every thing Rowena!
We used Rowena to help solve a bottle-feeding aversion and tube weaning with our daughter Maddie. I found babycareadvice.com on Google after having several failures working with local doctors and feeding specialists. Rowena was a delight to work with and gave easy to understand instructions on how to solve the feeding aversion first. It was a matter of my wife and I understanding and applying the “No-Pressure” method that Rowena teaches. After solving the feeding aversion, tube weaning began and within days we were able to remove Maddie’s NG- tube. It seemed to us a miracle. But, Rowena’s methods really do work if you follow them as described. I would recommend Rowena to anyone with a child that has feeding difficulties.
If it wasn't for Rowena our daughter would probably still be tube-fed. Without exaggeration hiring Rowena Bennett changed the course of our daughter's recovery from an open-heart surgery.
Our daughter had open-heart surgery at the age of eight months and unexpectedly spent 45 days in the hospital recovering. She was intubated with a breathing tube for 23 days and had a feeding tube inserted a couple of weeks after surgery. She seemed to have lost her feeding ability during her lengthy recovery. Almost exclusively breastfed before surgery she lost all interest in the breast and was unwilling and unable to latch on. She started taking a bottle sporadically while at the hospital and with the feeding tube still inserted. We were hoping that after discharge in the comfort of home and loving family and away from the horrors of the hospital she would just increase her bottle-feeding and her feeding would get back to normal. Alas we couldn't have been more wrong. She kept taking less and less from the bottle and with every passing day was getting more and more dependent on the feeding tube. Pretty much everyone from gastroenterologist to cardiologist to intensivist from the hospital to nurses and speech therapists were telling us that the nasal tube had to be replaced with a PEG tube that had to be surgically inserted through the stomach wall while our daughter relearned how to eat.
Everyone seemed to have different theories about why she was not feeding orally. The gastroenterologist thought she forgot how to eat which was totally ridiculous because she DID eat while in the hospital and for a little while after we brought her home. The hospital speech therapist thought she had lost her sucking and swallowing abilities. Also not true. Hospital nurses thought she had a feeding aversion after having so many painful procedures done through her mouth breathing tube insertion and reinsertion endless suctioning of fluid during the 23 days of intubation feeding tube insertion and repositioning. This made sense but nobody offered a solution about reversing this aversion. The plan was to replace the nasal tube with a PEG tube and feed her through the tube while working with a speech therapist on her eating skills. In the meantime speech therapy was totally useless very slow and tentative "try a different bottle for a week then a sippy cup for another week. Let's try adjusting the tube feeding schedule for a week...". We were getting TOTALLY desperate and were leaning towards considering a PEG tube because life with a nasal tube was a nightmare. Our daughter pulled it out several times and had to be taken to the ER for reinsertion. To prevent this from happening we had her in mittens during the day and tightly swaddled at night and during naps neither of which was helping her physical recovery from the surgery nor was it developmentally appropriate for a 10-month-old baby. We lived under a constant threat of the tube being pulled out. Needless to say we couldn't take our daughter anywhere and were bound to the feeding pump. This was on top of the exhaustion of adjusting to post-surgery life with scheduled medications medication weaning, endless doctor and therapy visits trying to restore her physical, and cognitive abilities and reestablish sleep patterns...
During his many days taken off work to take care of our daughter my husband found Rowena Bennett's "baby-care advice" website while looking for information about tube weaning. Most of what we read on Rowena's website about babies' refusal to eat made sense to us and we decided to book a consultation. Without exaggeration this truly was a life-altering decision for us. If we hadn't sought Rowena's help our daughter would probably still have a feeding tube now almost six months after surgery, and have a PEG tube at this point I am sure.
Rowena devised a very precise feeding plan for our daughter. She gave us very specific instructions about how to attempt the feeding what to do and what not to do and when to stop offering the bottle during each feed. We would have NEVER dared to do this on our own not with a post-surgery baby who was already below the 1st percentile for weight. She still had the feeding tube inserted when we started working with Rowena. Progress was slow and very tentative at first. It was SO difficult not to get disappointed on days when our daughter didn't take much formula orally. But we stuck with it and continued following Rowena's recommendations. Two weeks into the weaning process our daughter has pulled out her feeding tube again and we haven't reinserted it. We didn't need to. By then she was eating enough orally to maintain her weight.
She's been tube-free for over THREE MONTHS now and I think it's safe to say that her feeding aversion has been resolved. While she is still underweight for her age, she's eating fairly well and gaining weight steadily. We are SO lucky to have found Rowena.
We started Layla on the bottle at 6 weeks, all was progressing well and we were asked to keep records of her daily intake to show increased volumes which we did until Layla got a sore throat and cold, unfortunately because we were focused on increasing volume all we saw when she got sick was decreased volumes and panic set in. We started holding the bottle in her mouth, days turned into weeks of fussing, crying and complete refusal to eat. Two hospital stays, numerous gps, a speech pathologist, and two paediatricians, one of whom started her on reflux meds, but she would only feed asleep, and eventually she stopped sucking the bottle even asleep! We signed up for a week long stay in a sleep and feeding clinic and that too provided no answers.
Another hospital visit labelled her as failure to thrive and feeding aversive, we stayed for another week in hospital where it was recommended she have an ng tube inserted. Relief was profound on our part, at least she was being fed. We were sent home. Weeks turned into months and we had no plan or help from anyone for future tube weaning. What to do now? Long term tube use scared me and I worried about speech, her losing the feeling of hunger and satiety. Scrolling through the internet I found Rowena's website. As with many of the other testimonials Layla fit the profile of feeding aversive perfectly, as we already knew, but what to do now?
We had our initial consultation and our confidence grew after Rowena told us she could help. More relief, someone was in our side, I knew I would need constant guidance throughout this process so we signed up for the support package as well. Thank goodness, I would never have made it without the constant emails and support throughout the process. Amazingly Layla progressed well, until she decided to cut a tooth right in the middle of it! She passed this hurdle and we can now say we are tube free and feeding from the bottle happily! I can't believe it and neither can family and friends. I would recommend babycareadvice to anyone who has any baby issues and can't thank Rowena enough for restoring sanity and happiness in our life!
Baby Will started to have issues since 3 weeks old. He would cry during his feeds. He could only eat 2 ounces or less and it would take forever to feed him. Doctors thought it was silent reflux and put Will on medication which did not seem to help. At that point, we could still feed Will, even though it would takes ages and he would often cry. Since things started getting progressively worse. He had to see a GI specialist and have his meds changed and adjusted multiple times. We tried every bottle and formula on the market with no improvement. I had to cut dairy and other major culprits out of my diet (for breast milk) and that did not help either.
By 3.5 months he was close to impossible to feed. I had to carry him and power walk around the house while singing to him and rocking. This was beginning to fail as well. At his check up doctor saw that Will has been losing weight and classified him as failure to thrive and sent us to the hospital. There Will continued fighting his feeds and losing weight. They did all sorts of tests including endoscopy and did not find anything wrong with him. They ended up putting Will on an NG tube which proved to be a nightmare. Will started throwing up his whole bottles after each tube-feed and stopped eating by mouth completely.
We took him to 3 ENT specialists, therapy, speech pathologist, 4 GI doctors and all we could get out of this was a tube that was not working, complete refusal of foods by mouth and advice to just push through until this self resolves at a later age. Finally, Will's 4th GI doctor took the tube out and gave us a week to see if he will start eating on his own. We were given specific amounts of formula he had to consume a day and were told to start getting mentally ready for a g tube.
Will did start eating again but only when walked/rocked/sang to him. This didn't last long though. Soon, he started fighting even feed and would cry and gag so violently he would bring up his entire feed. In desperate attempt to save a seemingly healthy baby from a g-tube, we resorted to sleep feeding. We had to be stuck at home working around Will's naps so we could feed him. He would fall sleep, we would snatch him from his bed and start feeding him. Sometimes he would wake up and start crying and we would need to calm him down, wait for him to fall back asleep to start again. In order to get proper amount of ounces a day, we had to wake up at midnight and 4am to sleep feed him.
We were desperate and did not know who to turn to since he was already in feeding therapy and has had every possible test done and seen by every possible doctor. Finally, I found Rowena while searching the internet for feeding aversions. First, I read her article on feeding aversions and everything made such perfect sense. Out of all the scenarios all the doctors went through, no one ever considered the behavioral aspect! Then, I turned to testimonials and that is when it really hit home. I was crying reading them because we could relate and I was amazed at how many people have dealt with this issue and found solution with Rowena.
I immediately sent a consultation request to Rowena and she followed up with a detailed questionnaire to get a good understanding of Will's situation. No one every asked us so much detail in all our doctor visits. I felt like finally someone cared and listened and really wanted to get to the bottom of it. Since Will was very low weight, Rowena was concerned if it was the right time for him to do the process. I spoke with Will's GI and he actually thought it was a great idea!
The first few days were rough. It is a big mental adjustment for us, as parents, to really let go and let Will "control" the situation and it was hard seeing him so fussy and eating so little. But, after a few days, he started showing signs of appetite (something I have never seen in him) and eating on his own. It did take close to 10 days or so for Will to get rid of his aversion, but he is like a new baby now. He could never eat more than 22 ounces a day before and that is in his sleep and in small increments. Yesterday he took 30 and takes 5-5.5 bottles now! He actually gets hungry and cries for his bottle. He eats eagerly, and I can see how excited he gets when he sees his bottle and anticipates the feed. W e never thought we would see this day, what a joy!!
Rowena was able to resolve this feeding issue for baby Will when every doctor and medical approach had failed! We are so grateful for all her expertise, support, advice and encouragement throughout the process!! During the process, Rowena has been communicating with us every day, answering all the questions, giving advice and helping every step of the way! The amount of support and encouragement we received was surreal! My husband was just saying that after all the doctors and hospital stays and all the bills (which resulted in nothing), there was someone across the world who was able to help us so easily and resolve the issue so fast!! Think about those doctor office visits when you are rushed in and out and they don't even really take the time to know your kid's specific issues and all the details... Rowena's service is the complete opposite of that! We are so happy to have found her. What a joy it is to see your child eat proper amount of food so eagerly!!! Thank you again, Rowena!
We had been having extensive feeding difficulties with our second daughter from the age of about 10 weeks through until just recently when she was seven and a half months old. From that early stage she had become very difficult to feed and refused to drink from breast or bottle - every feed was a battle. We had been to numerous medical professionals, even had a two week hospital stay but, despite batteries of tests (all of which proved that she was normal and healthy), no-one was able to explain why she was doing what she was doing. The ultimate diagnosis was to fit her with a naso-gastric tube to ensure that we could always fill her up to the prescribed amount for a child of her age. The suggestion was that we should do this until she was through weaning - as "in all likelihood" she would wean totally normally and this would all just become a bad memory.
We managed life like this for over 5 months and it was miserable and stressful, most of all for our daughter. As she started to behave similarly with solids, we decided that we had to seek second opinions. When we found Rowena's web page describing feeding aversion behaviour, it was the first time that we felt as though somebody was describing what was taking place with our daughter. It was almost word for word what she was going through. Rowena's solution was practical, logical and well explained. Anything about which we had a question, she readily took and answered until we were totally clear on how and when we were going to execute the plan. We knew that it might be a difficult few days as we went through the transition but we were surprised with the speed that our daughter removed her psychological aversion and learnt to be hungry and feed normally again. Here we are, ten days later, and we have a "normal" baby of eight months old who cries when she is hungry and looks excitedly to drink milk from a bottle and who enjoys her solid weaning diet. It is a remarkable transformation. Whilst we are still slightly nervous at every feed given that it is early days, it is remarkable what it has done to stress levels in our house as well. I would recommend Rowena and her service very highly - she has wrought some magic that has made a huge difference to all of our lives.
Joseph was born at full term but with congenital heart disease. From the first day he was born a feeding tube was inserted in his nose, to ensure he got maximum amount of calories to prepare him for his open heart surgery. Also due to his heart condition he found feeding tiring and although would start enthusiastically he would run out of steam after only about a third of a bottle on average. Due to complications arising from his heart condition, Joseph had a prolonged stay in intensive care and was ventilated for 5 weeks. In total he spent nearly 4 1/2 months in hospital had 3 operations, 2 of which were open heart surgery.
After Joseph left intensive care he had to learn how to feed again. He slowly picked this up and by the time we finally left hospital he was able to take 10-20mls milk in a bottle and the rest was put down his feeding tube. Over the next 3 weeks we worked on Joseph's feeding and he progressed well and was taking up to 45mls in a bottle. Then one day he started to get upset when we offered him the bottle and he started to refuse to feed from the bottle completely. It got to a point where we could only get him to take the bottle if he was asleep, and we could also only tube feed him asleep as he would quite often be sick if he was tube fed awake. Joseph was taking all his milk asleep and our routine was getting crazier and crazier. We would have to rock him to sleep to feed him, sometimes he would wake up with the bottle in his mouth and get very distressed and because of all this I only liked to feed him at home and it meant we could only leave the house for a couple of hours at a time.
Our local hospital nurses and speech therapists were not overly helpful. We were told to persevere with baby rice and sleep feeds and he would eventually take enough not to need tube top ups, although there was talk about a possible operation to have a tube out in his tummy if he didn't.
I was randomly googling oral aversion one day not really looking for anything but having convinced myself this might be Joseph's issue I wanted to read some definitions on it. It was then I discovered an article written by Rowena on feeding aversion. I was in tears by the end of the article as it sounded so similar to what we were going through with Joseph. I then realised Rowena did some consultancy work and thought what had we got to lose by contacting her.
Rowena was very quick coming back to me when I contacted her, she sent us a detailed questionnaire to fill in and then we had a skype consultation where she said she felt she could help Joseph and outlined her plan to us. We decided to implements the plan a few days later and also asked if we could use Rowena's follow up service as I was feeling nervous and wanted the extra support. Amazingly the first day we implemented the plan Joseph started taking the bottle and from that day on we have not had to give him any tube top ups. By day 5 he was taking enough calories to not need the tube again. He now cries for food at night which he has never done and gets very excited when he sees the bottle during the day. He could probably be taking slightly more milk but I think this will come, more importantly he is happy, looks well and enjoys feeding which I could not believe was possible when we started this process. We cannot thank Rowena enough as she really has changed our life!
Ryan had been a good baby until 3 weeks after birth. He started to scream with each feed as though he was in some sort of pain. This went on for a while until he stopped drinking from the bottle altogether. He was vomiting most of what he would take too. The paediatrician we saw decided to insert the NG tube in him to sustain and keep his weight up until the cause of Ryan's issue was resolved. We had a few months of tube feeding until I saw a change in Ryan. He wasn’t screaming during his tube feeds anymore. He wasn’t vomiting his feeds anymore. He wasn’t irritable and cranky as he had been the last few months. It appeared that the issue that had first appeared and bothered Ryan so much had disappeared. It was time to remove the tube.
I tried for a week or so to get Ryan to drink from the bottle. He screamed at the sight of it. He had built up so much fear of the bottle he now had a phobia. One night, in my angst I came across Rowena's website. This sounds too good to be true I thought. I spoke to my husband the following day and we decided to give Rowena a try. Anything was worth a shot. Even if Rowena was on the other side of the world and there was a huge time difference. If it meant my baby was going to be better then it was worth it. After speaking with Rowena, we implemented her plan the following day. Unfortunately after a couple of days Ryan became ill with a cold and we scraped the plan. A couple of weeks later, when Ryan was completely better, we implemented the plan again. Ryan started to take the bottle within a couple of days. It was tough but after a week Ryan was drinking every feed via a bottle and the tube had become redundant. We have our baby back and life is pretty amazing. A huge thank you to Rowena!
Baby Culann was born on dec 11th 2013 and had some problems from birth, asd, vsd and PDA heart issues and also an exomphalos in his tummy, so was in intensive care for 11 days and in hospital until dec 31st. He was ng fed for a few days but was feeding normally when leaving hospital on the 31st. Unfortunately Culann got broncilitis and was put back into hospital he also picked up 2 viruses and was back on the ng feed, he was in hospital for 3 weeks and even though we would try to feed him orally every time, his volumes went down and down to the stage he was refusing the bottle, also he was on medication for reflux as he was spewing on his feeds. When he recovered from his sickness we were very frustrated that Culann would not take the bottle no matter how hard we tried without causing distress to him. At this stage Culann was 4 months old, his heart issues had sorted themselves and we were happy with Culanns overall health except for his feeding issues.
This was then I came across Rowena's website and on reading the testimonials it was just like me reading about my own baby, I emailed Rowena right away and actually paid for the full weeks support. We were very impressed when Rowena emailed back very promptly refunding us our monies as she said we need to fill out a very detailed questionnaire to check could she be of assistance to us. It proved to us right away how genuine Rowena was. We filled out the questionnaire and Rowena promptly emailed us to set up a skype appointment. We then spoke to Rowena and after a good chat she explained to us about bottle aversion and about behavioral issues. We then followed Rowena's plan which was so easy and logical and couldn't believe how fast everything came right. We were amazed how Culann suddenly started feeding from the bottle with very healthy amounts. Culann is feeding on high energy formula so he doesn't take big volumes but we are ecstatic that the ng is gone and also all the spewing is gone and he is off all reflux medication. We would recommend Rowena to anybody who's baby has feeding problems. We can now begin to enjoy our beautiful baby boy.
My son Rohan was born 2 months early. He weighed only 2.5 lbs. He was in hospital for 4.5 weeks & during his time in hospital he was fed via an NG tube. Rohan did come home & was feeding orally, however he was suffering from severe reflux. Eventually at 4 months of age he developed a severe aversion to the bottle. He completely 'shut down' & refused to take the bottle. We ended back in hospital & after a 2 week stay Rohan came home with an NG tube as this was the only way we could get milk down him & keep him hydrated.
Ellie was born with a congenital heart defect. After complications from her first open heart surgery, she was left unable to swallow. As a result, she had to be tube fed from the time she was 2 1/2 weeks old. Ellie finally was allowed to start trying to eat orally when she was 6 months old. By then, she had developed an aversion to anything in her mouth. After months of speech and occupational therapy, Ellie had progressed enough to put food in her mouth, but she would spit out most of her meal. She would only drink around 2 ounces from a bottle. A friend suggested that I contact Rowena for help. Rowena took a detailed health history and then developed a program to help my baby eat orally. She contacted us daily via email and was very quick to respond to my questions. After approximately 2 weeks on this program, Ellie could swallow small amounts of a variety of foods and drink up to 20 ounces of milk from a cup per day! We still have room for improvement, but Ellie is developing the skills she needs to eventually get off her feeding tube. Thanks Rowena!
Rowena and her feeding programs WORK! My son Alexander was born with a heart defect and kidney problems that necessitated a 2 month hospital stay when he was a week old. While there, he was fed through an I.V. He never learned to eat like a normal baby. From there, he was put on an NG feeding tube, and eventually a G-tube ( a feeding tube directly into his tummy). Alexander has never eaten enough by mouth to even stay hydrated. We have always fed him through a tube. His doctors, (and he has a whole lot of specialized doctors) kept telling us to feed him more, but every time we fed him (through his feeding tube of course), he would throw up. We just got used to feeding him twice every time we fed him. In addition to the feeding tube, doctors had Alexander on medication for reflux and even considered a surgery to kind-of “tie” his stomach, to prevent him from throwing up.
We were at our wits end, as Alexander was almost 14 months old, and hadn’t been off a feeding tube since a week of age. This is when I met Rowena through her website. I was desperate to find something. Rowena asked me numerous questions about Alexander’s history and his feeding behavior. She said that based on my answers she suspected his feeding issues were behavioral rather than medical. She told me she thought it could be possible to get Alexander to eat and drink all his food orally within a couple of weeks. She explained what I would need to do. It made sense but my husband and I were skeptical because what she suggested sounded too simple to make a difference. Doctors had been working on his eating problems for over a year and they had not made these suggestions. We almost “walked away”.
My husband and I talked about Rowena’s ideas for a few days, and decided that because they would not harm Alexander we had nothing to lose… we were already at the bottom! Rowena provided us with written plan for Alexander detailing her recommendations and we started. I emailed her every day to let her know how his feeding had gone that day. Every time I e-mailed Rowena, she was quick to e-mail back with caring and appropriate responses. By day 4 there was not much progress as I had hoped and I got a bit skeptical thinking that this was NOT going to work. I started thinking that maybe we had indeed found some wild program and that helping my son to eat normally was only a dream. Rowena encouraged me to be patient and keep going. She said it will take time for Alexander to learn what he needs to do. We kept with the program, and then only a day or two later IT HAPPENED! My son suddenly figured it out. He started to eat.
We no longer needed to tube feed him! He started eating full bottles of milk…GONE. And he eats solids too! And he doesn’t throw up ever. I cannot tell you what a miracle it is. He is gaining weight, and we are finally getting a healthy baby with all his eating completely oral! Yeah!!
UPDATE: Now here we are almost 3 months later and Alexander continues to eat fine. From the day he started to eat orally, things have just continued to get better. He is eating so many different types of food and enjoying it. He rarely throws up and is off all of his “reflux” medication. We continue to be grateful that Rowena was so willing to help our son.