Calories Supplement for My Baby Girl

Updated on July 09, 2008
C.S. asks from Albert Lea, MN
13 answers

We adopted a baby girl in January and have been having some major nutrition issues among other health related issues. She was eating(started her on cereal and fruit) and drinking(reverted to stage 1 formula on the advice of her ped.) very well initially, until her cold got so bad we had to get her on the nebuliser twice a day. Since then she developed an acid reflux problem which we tried to control with junior lanzol before every feed. She has developed an intense dislike for anything that goes into her mouth and cries everytime we feed her. Surprisingly, she was still showing a very slight weight gain, so we were just hoping that this was a phase and she would change. Although she no longer has a reflux problem(we did the barium swallow test which came out clear and didn't show any obstructions in her digestive tract or acid in her tummy), she still continues to refuse to eat and throws out most of her feed. The last two months she has started losing weight and is now almost at her pre-adoption weight. What I would like to know is if there is a safe "calories supplement" that she could take in addition to all the nutrition that she gets at home(half of which she throws up). I have tried different kinds of food, both in taste and texture and gentle coaxing to force-feeding, but nothing has helped. A little more info about her.... She was enrolled in an Infant Stimulation Program for Delayed milestones. Since there was not much progress, we consulted a ped-neurologist, who suggested doing an MRI to find out her medical history. The scans showed fairly intensive trauma to the front portion of her brain during the gestation period. This was established as a reason for delayed motor skills. Recently we've begun to wonder if her eating/swallowing has something to do with her oro-motor skills being delayed as well. However I can't understand how a baby who used to eat perfectly normally, can suddenly forget how to swallow or suck. Any comments and tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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L.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

It possible that she associates eating with pain and stress. Make meals as calm as possible. It is also possible that her delayed development is a factor. In either case, you need to use caution when adding high cal supplements. Children don't eat a certain volume of food, they eat certain amount of calories. Often these high cal supplements fill them up and they won't eat anything. Infant formula is high in calories and she maybe filling up on it.

Ask you doctor for a referal to a feeding clinic or speech therapist (they work a lot with oral development).

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would contact your school district to evaluate her for free. They can then provide the appropriate services for free. She also needs to see a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. It sounds like a sensory issue and this is their specialty. While the school therapists can come to the home, you will probably have to go to a clinic for the sensory issues. I have a friend whose 6 month old is getting these services for similar reasons!

Good luck!

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M.K.

answers from Sheboygan on

Has she been seen by a PEDIATRIC occupational therapist or speech therapist (who also specialize in feeding/swallowing) Sounds like sturcturally things are fine; she could have developed a sensory aversion to tactile or taste stimulation in her mouth--we have seen this MANY times in kids with medical issues at a young age. Some outgrow it, but some need therapy (occupational or speech with someone trained in sensory integration)--it is usually fun in the long run! I'd look in to that--we've had good success in treating kids with these types of issues.

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi,
I would also suggest seeing a speech therapist who does oral-motor work and feeding therapy. I can suggest Minnetonka Pediatric Therapy Clinic.

I looked into high calorie supplements for my son as he was very skinny (below the 3rd %) and going to have his tonsils and adenoids out. You might look into Epulor. I bought some because it had a lot of calories in only a couple of ounces of fluid - lots of bang for the buck so to speak. We ended up not really needing it, but what we used, we just mixed into a sippy cup of milk or stirred it into applesauce or yogurt.

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D.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

C. - I have a good friend wh recently adopted a baby girl who has been diagnosed with some developmental delays plus other nutritional problems. Fortunately for him, he's a chiropractor and has been able to do a lot of research, etc. While his daughter doesn't have the same issues, it might help to talk with someone who is dealing with similar types of issues. He's in the Lakeville area. if you're interested in learning more, contact me at [email protected]____.com of luck to you,

D.

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K.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi C.,

I will be graduating next year with a bachelor's of science in nutrition. Complex medical issues like this I will be learning how to handle over this next year.

Based off of what I know now and what I've read in your post, I would start giving some peidiasure or the generic form (as a start) and then meeting with a Registered Dietitian AND a speech therapist for your daughter's feeding problems. I also believe that both of these professionals will need to be able to recieve imput from the neurologist, or at least a comprehensive history from him/her to assess how the brain damage can impact feeding & oro-motor skills. If she will take the pediasure from a bottle, then I would give it to her because she does have a history of weight loss. I think it'll be better to need to break a bottle habit of an older child than deal with growth/developmental delays because she doesn't want to drink the pediasure in a sippy or cup.

I also know that force feeding a "normal" child early on can lead to food issues throught childhood and adult life. Given her history, I don't know if the same rules or outcome apply. In the hopes she grows to be a normal adult - I wouldn't risk it. Some children are naturally stubborn and will refuse food as a from of self-expression. But time-and-time again studies show that in the end, hunger always wins and the child will eat naturally. I would offer her choices, variety (unless SHE doesn't want variety), and offer food frequently, but don't make her take it if she doesn't want it.

None of what's been said takes into account how a normal 14-month old would behave with food. Many will show similar behaviors as part of a stage or her normal development. I still suggest seeing these professionals and hope that you can resolve these issues soon.

Good luck!

Her issues seem complex. I hope you find a solution soon.

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A.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

There is a feeding problems clinic at Children's hospital in minneapolis. Maybe your pediatrician could refer you there for some OT. My son had feeding issues and they helped us get some help. We also supplemented with Pediasure. It's a nutrition drink that comes in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. My son loved it. I haven't used it for years but back when I did I got it at Rainbow foods.

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J.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

I use the generic brand of "Pediasure" from WalMart or Target for my youngest. It helped him come through a tough bout of illness in the spring (chest cold impacted by pre-asthma symptoms) when he lost several pounds. I also use Enfamil Next Step formula (he doesn't like milk) made for children over 8 mos.

SAHM of seven, three bio/four adopted, 23 yrs - 21 mos.

D.K.

answers from Sioux City on

You are in my prayers. Could you try making things less tasteful and don't push the fat. Take little steps. Little ones can feel your worry and when you get frustrated. Let her just play with food. My children puck up high fat and sugary foods. Their tummies just can't take it. She sound like she has a very good gag reflex. I wouldn't advise pushing foods. I watch one little boy that can puck on demand. Anything he doesn't like just rolls right back out along with all the rest of his meal. I place all kinds of food in front of him and he slowly works on eating it. Over time he has learned to like foods he once pucked up.

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J.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I highly suggest going to a clinic that specializes in feeding problems. They can give you the best advice on what to supplement and how to feed your little girl. They will also be able to tell you if you need more testing. Children's Hospitals and Clinics has a WONDERFUL feeding clinic. Check them out!

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L.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

That's a huge puzzle, if you know what I mean. There are lots of pieces in there and my thoughts are really only concerning a small piece of it I'm sure. Anyway, here was my train of thought:

At first I started wondering at the cause of this whole eating problem. It sounds like it won't go away too easily even if you do supplement calories. The first thing I did was try to find some side effects to the nebulizer. There is plenty of info. out there, but I honestly didn't dig too deep there. (Maybe it's something you'll want to look into.)

The second thing I did was to find out what Lanzol does. Not surprisingly, it's a drug that reduces acid in the stomach to prevent things like burning of the esophagus. It seems to be a prescription strength "Tums" more or less. I wasn't sure if you were aware of this, but antacids actually create more "heartburn" or "acid reflux." They only treat the symptoms. (It's the same way that cough syrup and fever reducers don't make you better.) In adults, at least, if you have heartburn or something similar (acid reflux) you should take apple cider vinegar because it ADDS MORE acid to help you digest your food. Probiotics are basically the same idea. I've heard it said that anyone who has ever been on an antibiotic in their entire life has a shortage of intestinal flora. Therefore, we should be eating fermented foods such as saurkraut (I hate the stuff) or kefir (which is pretty good) or Kombucha (a type of green tea I believe?).

The only other piece of the puzzle I'll be able to offer a clue on is the fact that since she was adopted, there's probably a chance that the birth mother didn't nurse her when she was born and therefore she didn't get that "golden milk" or colostrum that a woman produces the first few days following birth which is supposed to be great for a baby's digestive tract. I'd probably go as far as to say that colostrum sets us on tract to be healthy in our digestive system for life.

If I were in your shoes, I'd take the time to talk to a nutritionist who knows about these "supposedly wacky" alternative treatments. I know that modern medicine seems to help quickly, which is why it's so attractive, but our "medicine" seems to only treat symptoms and never gets to the root of the problem. For a baby that young, I'd try to get her on the right track to being healthy and beware of setting her up for a lifetime of covering up symptoms. (Think of it in terms of, say, if you had acne, is it better to do pore cleansing treatments followed with nutrient-rich moisturizers or just put on a bunch of cover-up so no one can see the pimples?)

I wish I could help more. My heart goes out to you and your little one. Hopefully that slightly "off mainstream" thought process to that small piece of the puzzle will help you find a solution. All the best.

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A.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would suggest two very gentle remedies:

1. Chiropractic. It is likely that she is experiencing discomfort that she cannot express. The spine rules the digestive system. Giving her the gentle care of a good chiropractor will be a great gift.

2. Rescue Remedy. This is a Bach Flower Remedy (flower essence) that will calm her nervous system and ease her experience around food and many other things. You can find it on-line everywhere for about $10. You may find it at your local natural foods store there in Albert Lea. Put 4 drops directly into her mouth if she won't drink water (if she will put the drops into her water). If she won't open her mouth, just put the drops on your finger and wipe them across her lips. She'll lick them and thus get the remedy. It doesn't taste bad - just a little sweet.

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J.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

First, congrats on adopting.
I would suggest finding a feeding specialist and seeing what they suggest. I know many people use pediasure and things like that.
If there is damage to the brain then that could very well be the problem. If you Google frontal lobe damage you'll probably find lists of things that result from that.
Has she been checked out by your local school district yet? My daughter, and my son, get early intervention through the school here and it's great. Our daughter has Angelman Syndrome and she gets PT, OT and Speech therapy and my son gets Speech therapy. Until they are 3 they come right out to your house so that's nice. After 3, if they still qualify, they can start special ed preschool and get their therapies there. It's a great program and our therapists have been wonderful.
Best Wishes,
J.
Mom to 4, almost 5 through another adoption and hopefully more :o)

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