We’re working hard on eating. Jackson’s diet consists mainly of Pediasure: Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate. Sometimes we get crazy and he gets Strawberry-Vanilla. He eats little baby food and we hope to get him to eat more food.
He recently started clenching his jaw and grinding his teeth (He’s got about five teeth). We’ve been told this is common. To get him to eat more and to get him to relax his jaw, we have to do mouth exercises, which I’m sure you’ve never heard of unless you’ve been through something similar.
The mouth exercises begin with me rubbing my finger from the top of his cheek, near his ear, to the crease of his mouth. I do this three times on each side. Then I put both of my index fingers on his chin/lower lip and I rub them up-out-around, repeat. And I make the up-out-around noise, which goes something like, “bingy-bingy-bingy.” I’m Italian. We’re very expressive people. After we get the chin/lower lip, we repeat with the upper lip. Next, I stick my index finger inside his lips, with my thumb on the outside, and gently squeeze around his upper lip and lower lip. After finger-in-the-mouth, we move onto the Nuk Massage Brush (vibrating tool similar to a vibrating toothbrush). We put this in his mouth and move it around for 10-15 seconds.
Now we’re ready to eat. It sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t take long and it’s fun. The more we do it, the more Jackson gets used to it, which will hopefully lead to more food and less Pediasure.
We’ve also been having some fun with the types of food we’ve given him.
This is the face he made after we fed him ice cream. It was sooooo funny!!! We never give him food as cold as ice cream and it’s apparent he felt the temperature difference. His reaction to ice cream makes it hard to believe he’s my son.
His therapists have also told us to stick his fingers in his food and put his fingers to his mouth, which may help him use his hands more.
The moral of this post is it’s okay to put your fingers in your mouth and play with your food!