Nora: One Year After Food Therapy

posted by Andrea | 05/21/2014

nora at 2.5

Exactly one year ago today, this tired, stressed-out mama and her overly-anxious little girl walked through the doors of our second round of food therapy.

Our first therapy attempt had failed miserably… and at 18 months, my little girl wasn’t eating any solid foods other than tiny amounts of mashed potatoes, a few bites of yogurt, and a little cheese. She also refused all bottles and any type of sippy cups.

Fast forward one year.

I’m sitting at our dining room table with that same little girl (and her brother) while she scarfs down pancakes, sausages, a whole orange, a whole banana, grapes, frozen blueberries (a.k.a. blueberry ice-cubes)… and yes, cheese!

What a difference one year can make! 

In some ways, this past year went by SO quickly — but at the same time, when I re-read the very first post I shared about Nora’s eating and sensory issues, I can hardly remember those crazy, stress-filled days of no eating and refusing to sleep unless I held her.

Nora will be 2 1/2 tomorrow, and I can honestly say that when it comes to eating and trying new foods, she is possibly above average with the amount and variety of foods she will eat (although she still won’t drink anything but water).

We’ve had a few play dates with neighbors and friends lately, and I was more than surprised by how much Nora ate in comparison to the other kids. Not that the other kids were picky or not eating well, Nora just eats A LOT.

She will almost always try anything I make, and usually exclaims, “Mom, you’re a good cooker!” after she’s finished shoveling her food in as fast as she can. In fact, if I make something she really loves (like lasagna or any type of pasta) she’ll usually eat as much as I do!

She eats a huge variety of fruits and veggies, she’s tried and enjoyed mildly spicy Mexican food, and she even eats most meats! When necessary, she takes liquid medicine without much of a stink, and she eagerly takes a daily Flintstone vitamin (our attempt to boost her iron levels).

pasta

eating a cookie

Even with the addition of a new baby, my life is SOOOOO much less stressful now that I no longer need to worry about Nora’s eating issues.

She can easily spend a full day away from me and I don’t have to worry about her starving. In fact, since she is willing to eat a large variety of foods, I don’t even stress over packing all the food she’ll need to eat while she’s gone because we can easily find something she’ll enjoy eating no matter where we are.

Side note: Since Simon is taking bottles almost 100% of the time (and he will take formula), I am no longer a necessity for either of my children’s feeding needs.

I can not tell you how freeing that is for me after so many months of feeding Nora (and then Simon) every 2-3 hours all day and night. We’ve got one happy, stress-free mama over here!

dinner time

We are still struggling with the sleep part of her “high needs” personality — but I’ve found that I can deal with sleep issues much easier than with eating issues. After all, Dave can share the sleeplessness with me :)

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If you’d like to read more about our journey with Nora’s eating issues and food therapy, you should first read this post, and then this follow-up post.

It’s a pretty amazing story and I’m beyond thrilled to have such positive updates to share! However, I also realize that my positive updates are just salt in the wounds of many other parents struggling to get their children to eat (or sleep). I know I would have been discouraged to read this type of post last year at this time… I also know how annoying it is to read about other kids who are eating everything in sight and sleeping through the night at 4 weeks old. I KNOW… it gets old really quickly! 

If you are where we were last year, I hope our story offers more encouragement than envy or despair. I honestly can’t believe how far we’ve come with Nora in just one year… now our next project is potty training!

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19 comments

  1. Paulette Smith

    05/21/2014

    I remember how discouraged I felt when other mothers would talk about the way their babies slept all night. I remember thinking, “what am I doing wrong???” And then trying everything other mothers did and NONE of it worked. Sigh. Sleep deprivation was especially difficult for me as I worked outside the home and didn’t have help from my ex-spouse. None of my children slept all night until they were 2-3 years old. AND 2 of my children ended up in bed with me until they reached adolescence. It was brutal. Ah well. We made it through, but life sure was rough for a while. My hat is off to you, Andrea. You are one hard-working Momma!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow –sounds like you dealt with a lot! We’re hoping the Nora will start sleeping through the night on a regular basis really soon — but we’re doing OK sleep-wise even though she’s not (thanks to Simon sleeping pretty well)

    Thanks for your words of encouragement!

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  2. Chris

    05/21/2014

    I’m glad you can hardly remember those times. That’s a blessing. She is so cute and I love that, “Mom, you’re a good cooker”. I think only drinking water is great. So many people have health problems b/c of sugar. Also, I had so many female problems in my life and I thought if I ever had a girl, I would probably not give her much milk. I think maybe the (naturally occuring) hormones affect women’s health. I have not done a lot of research on this – this is more of a guess – when even cows get ovarian cysts. Blessings to you.

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  3. lydia @ Five4FiveMeals

    05/21/2014

    Thanks for sharing, Andrea. I know it’s been a rough and winding road! Also, that photo of Nora at the top of the post is triple cute!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lydia :)

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  4. Julie

    05/21/2014

    Drinking only water is not a bad thing. It could be worse…for example a child that will only drink, juice, or chocolate milk etc.

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  5. Teresa

    05/21/2014

    We went through major eating issues with my sweet baby girl too. It was so hard and very stressful. She went to occupational therapy for eating. She would not open her mouth for food and she would not drink out of a bottle. There was only one sippy cup that I could use to give her water in. Her first experience with food was at 6 months when I gave her rice cereal and about an hour after eating it she would throw up. This happened 3 nights in a row and I called the pediatrician and they said she may have a rice allergy. So then I moved on to fruit and she would not open her mouth for food. I kept trying different fruits and veggies and she would have anything to do with them. The pediatrician sent us to occupational therapy and she hated it. After she turned a year old she would only eat mashed potatoes and avocados and it had to be fed using my finger because her mouth could not conform to a spoon. She ate that everyday and that was the only thing I could get her to eat until she was about 2. She nursed a lot and at 2 she was still getting up 5 times a night to nurse. Finally, a few months into being 2 she just started to eat everything. Once she started eating really good she wasn’t getting up as much at night to nurse and eventually she started to sleep through the night and I was able to wean her from nursing. She’s going to be 3 in a few weeks and she loves to eat! I’m so thankful that she loves to eat! I feel for you, it’s a very hard journey to go through, but I have to say it’s such a huge relief once they start eating!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds like you are very familiar with what we went though with Nora — even more so in the nursing at night department. Wow! And yes, it is such a relief once they start eating and you start seeing continual progress.

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  6. Barb

    05/21/2014

    Andrea, I think this is one of my favorite posts. Although my four have never had eating issues or sleep issues… my youngest one took 2 months to latch on correctly AND I was exhausted. She also cried a lot her first year unless she was outside BUT once she began to walk it all stopped. So happy for Nora and your family.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Barb! And seriously, you’re amazing, I definitely would not have stuck with Nursing if it took Nora 2 months to latch on correctly!

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  7. Priya

    05/21/2014

    Hi Andrea, I had send you an email a while ago asking about Nora’s eating journey and you sent me a wonderful reply. My daughter Lila was being fed with a NG tube (through her nose) at the time, due to her medical issues. I am happy to report she is currently tube free, eating a very small number of foods and drinking only water. She is still being treated for her medical issues but I hope I will have a happy one year report to give you. It is really hard when you are ‘in the trenches’ but when you look back, the kids make progress quite fast. It’s been 3 months and my daughter has moved from being tube fed 100% of the time to eating on her own. The foods she chooses are not as balanced, but I hope she will eat a greater variety as she gets used to eating. I love reading your blog! Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Priya, so glad you’re seeing some progress too — even if it is slower than you might like. And honestly, I never worried about a balanced diet in the beginning. I fed her ANYTHING she was willing to eat at any time of the day. (she ate lots of marshmallows and cheese!)

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  8. Kristin

    05/21/2014

    We did an incredible amount of food therapy with my 4 year old when he was about the age that Nora was when you did it with her. I would say that we are in a bit of the same position, where Evan now eats better than his peers. It is a really rewarding feeling. If we have new foods we feel like we are back at step 1 and it takes him a while to eat it, but with the strategies we have we can get him to eat. It is also rewarding to see how he only consumed liquid food for so many months when his peers at 18 months were eating anything and everything and becoming disasters while they did it! Now he eats better than them. It truly is a great feeling!

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  9. Jenni

    05/21/2014

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    In that first photo, Nora looks exactly like a mini you.

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  10. Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper

    05/21/2014

    I am so happy that your family has another win :) I can’t even begin to imagine the struggles and stresses you have felt as a parent but I really admire your courage to share your journey with us. The photos of your daughter eating are so precious. Best wishes with the potty training, we are in the middle of that with my son and I’m ready to throw in the towel! :)

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the potty-training well-wishes. I’m waiting until Dave his home for the summer so we can “gang up on her” 2-to-1 !!

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  11. Jodi

    05/22/2014

    Congratulations Andrea on all Nora’s achievements ! You worked very hard and should be very proud! Thanks for all you honest sharing…you have been a great source of help to many moms! God bless your hubby and your sweet family!

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  12. Joan

    06/03/2014

    For the person who asked about the names of the program. I’m obviously not sure that this is what Andrea’s daughter was given, but the Wilbarger brushing protocol and the Therapuetic Listening program sound similar to what she has described. Both are used as part of sensory integration therapy.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Joan. I’m not sure of the brands — but what you mentioned sounds very similar to what we used.

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