When Jana first started eating Gerber solids we were thrilled! She took to them without any issues or fuss. She was a huge fan of veggies and would only eat about half the jar of straight fruit. I was so excited that feeding time seemed to come easy for her. As she has gotten older she has gotten over eating mushed of up foods. She sees what we are eating and that’s what she wants. Which is wonderful! Now that she has 3 teeth she can actually take pretty decent bites out of things (Including my hand…ouch!). However, we have noticed she has developed a pretty serious food texture sensitivity. If she is not comfortable with the way something feels, she instantly spits it out. This means, most foods, she will not even attempt to try. Actually, even older foods that I knew she liked (broccoli, pasta, sweet potatoes) she wont give a time of day! It’s made meal time extremely difficult! I’ve mentioned before in the past, for the longest time she HAD to have infants oatmeal each morning. If I changed it up she would throw a fit and refuse to eat anything. Now, we have moved on from that. She has added Eggo Waffles to her list of approved breakfast! Which has helped! However, now her list of other approved foods has gotten shorter. So far our go to for sure foods are: french fries, waffles, pancakes, pizza crust, puffs, club crackers, coconut milk ice cream (she’s lactose intolerant) and almost all fresh fruit cut up. As you can see, there are no veggies, proteins or nutrition in basically all of these!! As a mama, I am very concerned she is not getting the nutrition she needs on a daily basis. I am able to still sneak in a jar of Gerber Little Bits foods, but sometimes that ends up in a huge fight. With most of the food on me, and not in her tummy!
So is this all “normal?” Yes and No! A lot of children with DS have some kind of issues with eating. Most struggle with low muscle tone in their mouths and it is almost impossible for them to chew correctly. Or they can chew, but struggle swallowing. Some kids refuse to try anything that is not a liquid form. Each child is different, and unfortunately I haven’t found much research on Jana’s issues. She does see a nutritionist when she visits the Down Syndrome Clinic each year, but there is none locally I can consult with.
What can we do? Keep trying. Meal times will be dramatic and messy, VERY VERY MESSY! We are hoping that if we just keep allowing her to try the foods we are eating, some would stick. We have to try to keep pushing her, but not to the point where she is terrified to try to eat. Its a very fine line. It has been very stressful, not only for her but for both mama and daddy! We know if she just tries, she will love the foods we are giving her. I’m sure this stage will soon pass…hopefully…and she’ll start us on another battle. Until then, we are keeping a mop and broom close by for clean up!