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.
Things went wonderfully for the first two weeks of J's life then he started losing weight and we were told to supplement his breastfeeds with formula to get his weight back up. Things didn't improve and J started crying and fighting each breastfeed until he refused to open his mouth to latch, so we ended up formula feeding fulltime at 6 weeks old. I was later diagnosed with Raynauds, but we never really found out why he couldn't breastfeed and I felt really guilty about not being able to feed him.
At 9 weeks he started power chucking after his feeds, so we were constantly feeding and re-feeding him. He was then diagnosed with reflux and put on omeprozole. Due to his previous weight loss and my guilt about not being able to breast feed him I ended up feeling like I needed to make sure that he was getting enough formula into him as he was taking a lot less than what was recommended for his weight. He began to fight feeds and would only take 20 or 30mls at a time. He would refuse to take the bottle in his mouth or would take it, but would "fake suck" so he wasn't sucking hard enough to get any milk. It would take us an hour and a half to get feeds into him while he arched and cried and refused his feeds. We put it down to his reflux, but then he stopped throwing up his feeds and his behaviour on the bottle continued. We hardly ever left the house, as I would spend the whole time he was awake trying to feed him. I finally found Rowena's website and after reading her article on feeding aversions was convinced that it was behavioural and contacted her straight away for help.
It turned out that J was really sensitive and the process of getting him to willingly feed, but he now happily drinks, and feeds only take 10 - 15mins. Where we used to spend almost all of his awake time feeding we now spend most of his awake times playing and getting out and about. Rowena was just amazing through out it all. She was so calm and confident about what we needed to do, which gave us the confidence to keep going and get the results that we did. I learnt so much from Rowena through working with her, most importantly I learnt to give up control of feeding to my son and trust him. I can't recommend Rowena highly enough. Her experience and knowledge really stands out, but most of all she is kind and compassionate through it all. Her level of support was incredible and she was so patient with my constant emails and answered them so quickly.
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!
N was born a small but healthy baby. At 4 weeks we first noticed that she was having some difficulty drinking with her bottle. She would arch her back, and cry a little. We took her to the GP who diagnosed her as having silent reflux. We were told that she would grow out of it at 3 months and in the meantime we just needed to feed her however we could. As time went on, N's feeds became more difficult. She began to turn her head to avoid the bottle, push herself away from the bottle, cry, bite on the bottle. Feeding was becoming more and more stressful, but we persisted trying to feed her however we could, with the knowledge from the GP that it would all improve at 12 weeks. By the time 12 weeks came, feeding was horrific. I couldn't take N out anywhere as I was embarrassed to feed her in public. We made the decision to start her on Ranitidine. Her feeds seemed to improve temporarily for a few days, but then they deteriorated again. At her worst, N would scream at the sight of the bottle, fight, hit the bottle with her small hands and adamantly refuse to open her mouth. It would take me 2 hours to try and feed her and she would only take 30/40mls during this whole time. I kept going to the GP on a weekly basis desperate for someone to help. They just kept putting the dose of Ranitidine up, but this did absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, although N was not putting on weight, she had dropped by almost 2 centile lines, which was of huge concern to me. At 16 weeks, N completely refused to feed when awake. I was forced to have to rock her to sleep and then try and feed her while she slept, hoping that she wouldn't wake up mid feed.
My stress and anxiety levels were incredibly high, and in desperation I searched the internet for answers. I came across Rowena's article on feeding aversions, and it was as though it was written about my baby. Everything in it related to our situation. I had nothing to lose, so I contacted Rowena and she responded promptly and we arranged to skypein the next couple of days. In the meantime we filled out a very detailed questionnaire. I felt by the time I'd completed the questionnaire that Rowena would have a very thorough understanding of our situation.
We skyped with Rowena and she took us through her feeding plan for N. It was quite a mindshift as it involved giving the responsibility to feed to N. We implemenated her plan the next day. I found that first day so incredibly hard, but Rowena was there and so supportive. She reassured me and helped to keep me calm when I was feeling very stressed. The next day, N was already showing signs of improvement. Through the whole feeding journey, Rowena was so supportive. She patiently answered all the questions I had.
N is now feeding happily, which I never thought I would say. She opens her mouth for the bottle, and hold onto the bottle with her hand as she drinks. She is not taking any reflux medication, and I suspect she never needed it in the first place. Rowena not only had the knowledge and experience to be able to deal with our situation, she is a kind and compassionate person who understands how stressful this process is for parents. I will forever be grateful to her for the difference she has brought to our lives. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending her to anyone experiencing any kind of difficulty with their baby. If we ever need any further advice on any baby care issue, Rowena will be the first person I contact for another consultation. My only wish is that I had known about Rowena earlier, I really believe she was an answer to my desperate prayers.
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!
Florence was born at a great weight and, for the first month of her life, she was a great eater. She put on weight with no problems and life was really easy. When she was five weeks old, she developed oral thrush. The medical staff at the time said that we should continue to try and feed her at the same volumes as previously, by feeding her much more often and with a fast flow teat. The thrush lasted for 9 days and, during this time, Florence experienced a lot of pain when feeding – not just from the thrush but by using a fast flow teat and having really bad wind as a result.
After the thrush cleared up, she was very fussy when feeding and whenever we took her to the doctor, he would confirm that this was just part of having a baby. I spoke with the health visitor who just said she was “colicky” and when I explained what was happening, she said it was just what having a fussy baby was about.
As time went on, she got much worse, to the point where I was the only person who could feed her and feeding times became a stressful and nightmarish experience for both of us. As soon as I lay her down to feed, she would start screaming and thrashing around and we’d both end up in tears. We couldn’t go out over a feeding time, she was hungry all the time from not eating enough and so crying all the time and not able to sleep during the day, she was taking tiny feeds and not putting on sufficient weight and I spent most of every day dreading the next feeding time – this was the most stressful time I have ever experienced in my life, and I spent most of the time in tears, not knowing if there would ever be an end to the problem.
When she was 10 weeks old, she just stopped eating one day and the doctor referred us to the paediatrician that same day. After spending 15 minutes with Florence, he diagnosed a milk protein allergy and prescribed dairy free milk powder. We switched to this and it made no difference at all. At the hospital consultation, I asked the nursery nurse (who admitted to having nearly 40 years’ experience) if she thought it might be a feeding aversion and she laughed and said that ‘you can find anything on the internet if you look hard enough’. I started researching “cures” for feeding aversions – I had been convinced this was what the problem since she was about 8 weeks old. I found Rowena’s website and read the testimonials in tears – they completely matched my experiences and I was finally hopeful that there may be a way out of this.
I booked a consultation with Rowena and she was incredibly informative and detailed in her advice and the way to resolve this situation. Florence ended up being a complex case and so it took longer than Rowena or we anticipated that it would to resolve her situation. Rowena was there every day throughout the whole process; she provided advice on how to progress and offered support when I was feeling emotional. Rowena has, and this is no exaggeration, changed our lives. A month on from the first consultation, Flo is happy and relaxed when feeding – she actively looks for her bottle and reaches for it when I’m getting it ready. She laughs when she’s feeding and plays with my hair and face. The transformation is amazing and, if anybody is having feeding aversion issues, would recommend that they seek Rowena’s help as soon as possible.
From birth my son was a fussy feeder and was desperately unsettled. At 5 1/2 weeks he was diagnosed with silent reflux and started on medication. He became more settled but his feeding issues continued. I started expressing to see if using a bottle made any difference but it didn't. I tried numerous different bottles and teats, feeding while sleepy, feeding small and often, spacing feeds further apart to entice a greater hunger, distraction, walking around whilst feeding, etc.
People were full of advice and kept informing me how much he should be drinking in order to put on weight. As he was born a small (but healthy) boy, I was constantly nervous that he would not gain the weight he 'should'. As time progressed feeding got worse until it got to a point where it took my husband and I an hour to feed our boy, with me feeding him while my husband distracted him. My son would arch his back, cry, move his head from side to side, wriggle to get away, chomp on the teat as if to fake sucking, and eventually get upset when even seeing the bottle.
I saw numerous health professionals who advised everything from increasing his medication, to wait it out, to start solids early, to pressure him until he got used to the volume of milk in his tummy to know it wouldn't cause pain. In my heart I knew the feeding issue was not now because of reflux as otherwise he was very settled and happy. I was petrified that he would end up being tube fed and could foresee this arising as the volumes he was drinking were dropping. I found myself isolating myself from friends because my days revolved around feeds.
I scoured the internet in search of advice and found Rowena's website. I read the testimonials and was filled with excitement for the first time since our son was born. However, I was also a bit skeptical. These stories seemed so genuine but part of me was afraid of 'miracle cures' on the internet. After talking with my husband and corresponding briefly with Ruth from the USA (one of Rowena’s clients), we decided we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I set up an appointment with Rowena and filled out her thorough questionnaire. Rowena explained to me about a healthy baby's feeding abilities which made such logical sense that I could not understand why so many other health professionals do not know this.
It took a real leap of faith but we immediately implemented her strategies. It was very hard after trying for so long to get our boy to drink a certain amount to just relax and let him what he wanted at each feed. However, it took the pressure off both of us and immediately I could feel myself relaxing. Life no longer revolved around feeds. I was still nervous that our son would not take enough volumes but after a few days he was taking within his range per day. Feeds went from an hour of real pressure requiring 2 people to now taking 10-20 mins. I'd love you to see a video of our boy now before a feed- he gets so excited he almost hyperventilates. His mouth is wide open, he reaches forward for the bottle, he holds on to it, and he often fusses inconsolably with hunger before a feed. I'm finally enjoying my little boy and we are engaging with friends again and getting involved in activities outside the house. I wish I'd known about Rowena earlier. Please if you have any similar issues, contact Rowena. She is thorough, knowledgeable, baby focused, and a miracle worker. Feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are hesitant, as I know it is hard to take that leap of faith.
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.
My son started to have feeding problems when he was about 2 and half months old. He was becoming very fussy with the bottle, and progressively got worse week by week. I took him to countless pediatricians, none of whom really could tell me what was wrong. One doctor suggested that he might have silent reflux; another told me that his feeding problems were possibly related to pain from teething. When that proved not to be the case, she then suggested to change his milk, owing the fussiness to milk protein allergies. I tried everything, from changing his milk several times to teething gels before feeding, but nothing worked. I never felt comfortable to put him on a clinical trial for reflux – and looking back now I am so happy that I stuck to my gut feeling and refused to medicate him. But my situation was getting pretty desperate. A few weeks went by and soon enough the only way he would drink his milk comfortably was when he was half asleep during the night feeds or when I would resort to dream feeding him before he woke up in the morning.
As his intake started to drop day by day, his behavior started to change as well; naturally, he was much more irritable and cried a lot more. Trying to get him to feed the way he used to was proving to be impossible. It was an extremely stressful situation and I started to have constant anxiety about how I was going to feed him. With his constant bottle refusal and lower intake, I started to have to try to soothe and encourage him to take the bottle by simultaneously standing and rocking him while feeding. It was very stressful and exhausting, and sadly, even that didn’t work all the time. I was desperate for an answer and started to do a lot of online research until I found the page about feeding aversions on Baby Care Advice. I read Rowena’s description of bottle-feeding aversion and actually began to cry – shocked by how well it described my son’s behavior. I knew she was the right person to help us get through this problem and contacted her immediately.
Rowena’s assessment of my son’s feeding problems was extremely thorough and informative. I must admit that I was quite nervous to start her plan at first, but I knew that I needed to follow through. She was always incredibly supportive, and her extensive knowledge and understanding of feeding problems pushed me to continue. My son feeds completely normally now, excited to drink his milk, just like any other baby. The transformation was incredible. I know with all certainty now that following Rowena’s plan was the only way to get my son to feed normally again. It still amazes me how a behavioral condition can cause a baby to behave the way my son did, and that medical professionals are at a complete loss when it comes to this type of a problem. I feel incredibly blessed to have found Rowena and to be able to turn things around for my family. I could not be more grateful for her support and advice, and highly recommend her to anyone with baby care issues.