Sometimes as a special needs parent you work on something and work on something from seemingly every possible angle and make no progress and then someone else enters the pictures and does the tiniest thing, almost by accident, and suddenly – over a month – you have a breakthrough.
For Owen, that tiny thing that opened up a new world was a potato chip. He was at his feeding evaluation a few weeks ago and I had only brought purees with for the meeting. The OT wanted to see him pick up a food and there was only a potato chip that did not have wheat in their cupboard. Owen picked up the potato chip and, as with everything, put it in his mouth. His response wasn’t particularly noteworthy to the professionals, but as the person who had been giving Owen sweet puree after sweet puree after sweet yogurt with zero progress; I saw a a subtle hint of pleasure in the way he sucked on that potato chip.
Ding, Ding, Ding…he likes salt.
We went back to the Gerber Lil’ crunchies and waffle pinwheels that he had long ago rejected, but this time, Owen has been loving them. He rubs them against his teething gums and licks it with his tongue. If it gets too soft and a piece falls in his mouth he very theatrically will let you think he’s choking on it, when it’s really sitting on the front of his tongue and nowhere near his throat (mommy needed training through this – “it will melt in 3 seconds, he’s okay, he’s okay, he’s okay – whew, it melted”).
Slowly over the last month, I’ve been adding other textures to Owen’s trusty Lil’ crunchies. I’ll dip it in yogurt or in baby food purees and he started to suck the puree off these edible carriers. Now, he’s letting me put a little puree in his mouth with a spoon as well and he’s being less and less dramatic with pieces of puff in his mouth. Most do not end up being swallowed, but he’s definitely making progress. We are back up to a couple of tablespoons of puree eaten in a day. Still nothing near where he needs to be, but he’s swallowing food again and taking up to a tablespoon in a sitting. Monday, his occupational therapist was thrilled to see how much improvement Owen has made, even in the last week. She said, he’s entirely doing his own therapy and all he needs is to keep getting practice. Finding more foods that he loves should only help us.
That food finding thing, happens to be the hard part. Packaged, savory, pureed foods with no wheat is difficult to find. So far I’ve found Gerber has the most variety with two skus. Chicken with gravy and beef with gravy. Both smell like wet cat food, but Owen doesn’t seem to mind. The Organic brand has more flavor varieties but they cross label everything with possible traces of allergens, so even if they shouldn’t have allergens, I still am not comfortable buying them.
So guess what, if Owen is going to learn to eat, which is no longer instinctual for him, then I’m going to learn how to make my own baby food and everyone who knows me, even a little, knows that was never instinctual for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have always respected the idea of making your kids whole foods and knowing exactly what they are getting, but time and abhorrence of the kitchen has kept me in firmly in Gerber’s target market.
I’m needing your help – who has made their own baby foods? Especially the savory flavored purees with no egg, peanut or wheat? We have a food processor. I’ve found baby food blogs and I’ve found food allergy blogs, but I’ve not found much that combines the two. Who has some great places to start?
Looks like I have another thing to add to my Bucket List…learn to make savory, non-allergen baby foods that are so delicious that Owen can’t help but want to eat.
© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster