Tag Archives: feeding

30 Days to Make a Habit

They say that for something to become a habit, you must do it for 30 days.  Well, we are well over 30 days of trying out the Blenderized Diet and it is very much a habit now! This is by far the best decision I’ve ever made for my child.  He is tolerating the volume and the feeds extremely well. Braxton is doing so well with the new diet.   My only regret is that I didn’t start this sooner!  I was extremely overwhelmed when this all started, but once you get a handle on everything and find something that works, it’s really very easy.

I’ve found a couple recipes that really seem to work well for Braxton, and they are easy for me to keep up with.  I’ve started to make my own fruit, veggie, and meat blends too.  Jarred baby food gets a little expensive, so buying whole fruits and meats makes a lot more than what is available jarred.  Little by little I cook the meat or steam the veggies and then blend them up and freeze them.  I’ve used ice cube trays to save one ounce portions that I can easily thaw and add to the blender and even saved baby food jars to put my blends in.  I prepare Braxton’s blend nightly for the next day.  The blend is usually enough for about a day and a half, so every couple days I do get a break 🙂

Instead of posting each recipe and picture of nutrition facts, I’ve created a Google Doc that I can share with you all instead! If you are looking for recipes or need any nutrition information you can visit my spreadsheet here.

Braxton is even eating now!! Yayyyy!! I accidentally left his feeding success off our last post..yikes! It’s still a very slow process, but we are getting somewhere with him now.  Braxton is consistently taking about an ounce of food whenever I offer it to him.  We’ve tried pureed baby foods again, but I’ve also started trying other things like yogurt and pudding to see if he has a preference for different textures or flavors.  He wasn’t a fan of chocolate pudding *gasp!* I told him there was no way he was my kid if he didn’t like chocolate pudding haha He really seems to like Baby Yo’s Peach Yogurt though and he has been actively eating that when offered.  I’m so happy to see him making some progress with eating.  Hopefully we can get him back to where he was at with eating and move toward having his G-Tube taken out.  One day.  For now, we will keep working with him and celebrating all the little successes, because one day we’ll look back and truly realize how instrumental those were for him.

It’s exciting to finally post so much good news!! Brax has been a little under the weather this week, but overall he’s doing so well! We even have a slow couple of months coming up.  Aside from daily therapies, we don’t have very many doctors appointments coming up. Woooo! A break! Haha I was preparing our calendar for the next couple of months and was very surprised to see that we only have 1 appointment this month AND next month! Sadly, I sat and stared at the calendar for a good while thinking that I had missed something! Hopefully, I haven’t.  Until next time…..here’s Braxton 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Blenderized Diet, Family, Kids and Family, Life, Special Needs Child

Our Blenderized Trials

So I gave you a little background as to why we wanted to start a blenderized diet and where to find info if you are looking to start as well.  We have now been working on this for about a week and I’ve seen IMMEDIATE improvement!! Braxton has not vomited once!! [Might be a little premature to call this a success since the corn starch thing worked two weeks before it fell apart, but I’m hopeful this will work!] Speaking of work….holy cow! A blenderized diet is SO MUCH WORK! I’m officially more disciplined than I have ever been.  You thought our medical binder was a big deal? Pffttt. I have a journal keeping track of our recipes and what worked and didn’t work, I’m counting calories, checking labels, creating and updating spreadsheets, scheduling time to make Braxton’s food, and somehow managing at least a few hours of sleep.  Several other parents have this down to a science, and I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, but for now it’s a lot of work.

We do have a prescription from our doc for “Compleat Pediatric,” which is a blended diet formula available commercially.  Since a lot of it is still processed and it has added chemicals and whatnot I opted for the homemade route.  There is NOTHING wrong with using the formula, my speech therapist and GI both highly recommended it and said it was just as nutritious, I just thought I’d try the homemade route instead.  We have it on hand for the days I can’t make the homemade blend or for traveling, but I’m trying really hard not to give in yet!

Currently, it takes me about an hour and half from start to finish (including cleanup) to mix Braxton’s food and put it in containers for the next day.  I haven’t started making very large batches and freezing as we’re still working out the kinks so to speak.  Don’t want to store a lot that we can’t use! So this week, we’ve tried 3 different recipes that I will share with you.  As a reminder, I’m using already pureed jars of baby food until I get this down and then I’ll try using fresh/frozen fruits and veggies.  I’m also using a regular blender instead of a high speed blender. Right now it is working just fine for us 🙂 Lastly, Braxton was feeding orally prior to starting this diet so we’ve already introduced most foods so didn’t need to do the normal introduction process.  Since he’s already been introduced to many foods I’ve had a little more freedom in changing recipes around.

Trial 1

Here’s our first recipe we tried (along with some pics for clarification)

  • 2 C Mixed Grain Gerber Infant Cereal
  • 7 ounces Happy Naturals Squash Baby Food
  • 5 ounces Gerber Green Beans Baby Food
  • 4 ounces Happy Naturals Pears Baby Food
  • 4 ounces Happy Naturals Applesauce
  • 2.5 ounces Happy Naturals Beef w/Gravy Baby Food
  • 16 ounces 8 ounces Water
  • 16 ounces Whole Milk
  • 4 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Karo Syrup
  • 15 mL Lactulose [This is a prescribed laxative from his doctor, we added it just to make sure he didn’t get backed up]

Some notes about this recipe: The original recipe called for 16 ounces of water, as I started mixing this in my blender, my blender got full awfully fast so I decided to just use half the water since it didn’t add any calories anyway.  Also, this being my first attempt, I made a big mess! I also mixed everything started portioning out bottles and realized I FORGOT TO ADD THE CEREAL!!! Geez louise! An hour into it and I screwed up. I poured all the bottles BACK into the blender and added the cereal then re-portioned out the feeds. It was very messy. Pretty sure I lost a few ounces of this mix. My first attempt took at least 2 and half hours to figure everything out. At the end I seriously questioned this whole process.

Here’s some nutritional facts about this recipe:

Nutritional Facts on 1st Recipe

Nutritional Facts on 1st Recipe

Here are a few pics from my first trial…

Here’s how the feedings go:

With his previous feedings we had to feed Braxton over an hour and a half on his feeding pump. With this diet, it’s a little too thick for the pump (could add water to thin and use pump) so we decided to use our syringe to feed him instead.  This part we took pretty slow at first.  We gave him 2 ounces of food from one syringe over about 5 minutes.  I waited 5 minutes and gave him about 15mL of free water to wash out his tube and get some water in him.  I waited about 15 minutes and then did this same process again until the feed was gone.  Our first feed took about an hour just because we wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to throw it up all over us.  He didn’t. 🙂 Not only did he not throw up, he tolerated 10 ounces actually because of the extra water.  WAY more than he ever has. We’ve worked our way up now and I can feed him in about 15 minutes.  I do 2 ounce increments of food until the feed is gone and then give him 2 ounces of water.  What’s with the water?? Our body requires a certain amount of water to stay hydrated.  While he is getting his nutritional needs, he still needs water to balance out the diet and keep his body working regularly, so we give him at least 2 ounces with every feeding and offer some between feeds as well.  As this has been my main focus, I haven’t worked on oral feeds too much yet, but as I’m getting the hang of this we will definitely work on it!

Trial 2

So the first trial took for-ev-er and I made a huge mess. This one is gonna be better! Ha, took less time and I made less mess, but definitely not figured out yet.  Here’s the recipe I used for this batch:

  • 2 Cups Mixed Grain Gerber Cereal [I did NOT forget to add it this time! – Ugh but don’t add it first, blend takes forever!]
  • 4 ounces Happy Naturals Sweet Potato Baby Food
  • 4 ounces Happy Naturals Squash Baby Food
  • 4 ounces Happy Naturals Vegetable Turkey Baby Food
  • 4 ounces Gerber Apples & Cherries Baby Food
  • 4 ounces Gerber Pear Baby Food
  • 2.5 ounces Happy Naturals Turkey w/Gravy Baby Food
  • 8 ounces of water
  • 16 ounces Organic Whole Milk
  • 4 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Karo Syrup
  • 30 mL Lactulose [no BM the past 2 days so we doubled the dose since this makes enough for 2 days]

Notes for this round: This makes A LOT!! Perhaps I lost more than I thought on the first batch.  I portioned out enough feeds for 2 days and STILL had enough to freeze! Think I came up with 64 ounces from this feed.  Decided that next time I’ll use NO water to try to decrease the volume it makes and increase the calories per ounce.  Oh, and don’t put the cereal first, takes too long to blend. I had to use a rubber spatula to mix it in all the way. Oh, and the volume was way too much, I had to pour the mix into a large mixing bowl and use our stick blender to finish it.  Worked well, but just a lot – portioned some into our Baby Bullet to help pour into the bottles and make less mess! 😉 No pics, mostly because they all would have looked the same! ha!

But, here are the nutritional facts for this one:

Nutritional Facts for Trial 2

Nutritional Facts for Trial 2

Trial 3

Things are getting better each time around! Taking less and less time as I figure my way around everything. Here’s the recipe we used.  [If you’ve noticed, they are all pretty much the same, I’m just trying out different fruits and veggies]

  • 2 C Mixed Grain Gerber Infant Cereal
  • 6 oz Gerber Broccoli and Carrots w/ Cheese Baby Food
  • 6 oz Gerber Mixed Veggies and Turkey Baby Food
  • 8 oz Gerber Apple Blueberry Baby Food
  • 2.5 oz Happy Naturals Turkey w/Gravy Baby Food
  • 16 oz Whole Milk
  • 4 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Karo Syrup [Tummy troubles, so increased the amount]
  • 30 mL Lactulose

Notes for this round: If you noticed, I did not include any water in this recipe. Mostly because it thinned the mix out so much and decreased the calories per ounce so Brax hadn’t been getting the calories he needs to maintain/gain weight.  We decided to supplement by offering water between feeds.

Nutritional Facts for this recipe:

Nutrition Facts for 3rd Recipe

Nutrition Facts for 3rd Recipe

** Other Notes **

I have been e-mailing my recipes and notes to our dietitian so she can help track Braxton’s progress and offer me some guidance as this is all new to me and I am not anywhere near being an expert on this stuff.  I heard back from her today and she told me we’ve been doing ok, but with the recipe I’m using she felt it was too much cereal for Braxton.  Baby cereal is fortified with iron and very constipating so might be too much for him to handle.  She gave me a few other recipes to try instead.  [They are pretty similar, so I’m not too deflated about the progress we’ve made] I’ll be trying those this weekend.  For now, I’ll leave you with the additional recipes she gave me.

Recipe #1: Easy to Make

  • 12 oz whole milk
  • 213 g strained chicken (3-71 g jars of baby food)
  • 1 small jar (113 g) strained peas
  • 1 small jar (113 g) strained carrots
  • 3.5 oz strained peaches
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Add all ingredients to blender. Blend well, until about the consistency of milk or formula.
  • Calories: 925, Protein: 43 g, Carbohydrate: 104 g, Fiber: 6 g, Fat: 40 g,Volume: 1000 cc = 1000 ml (~33 ounces), 28 kcal/oz

Recipe #2: Low Cost

  • 16 oz reconstituted instant non-fat dry milk powder (2/3 cup non-fat milk
  • powder + 2 cups water)
  • 1 scrambled egg (cooked well)
  • 1 cup enriched macaroni (cooked tender)
  • ½ cup mashed yam
  • 1 cup apple sauce (sweetened, canned)
  • 2 Tbsp. corn or vegetable oil
  • Prepare milk, egg, macaroni, and yam. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend well, until about the consistency of milk or formula.
  • Calories: 955, Protein: 31 g, Carbohydrate 135 g, Fiber: 7 g, Fat: 34 g,Volume: 1000 cc = 1000 ml (~33 ounces), 29 kcal/oz

Here’s a spreadsheet of recipes based on the calorie goal you are looking for:

Spreadsheet based on calorie intake

Spreadsheet based on calorie intake

Until next time, Happy Blending! 🙂

5 Comments

Filed under Blenderized Diet, Family, Kids and Family, Life, Special Needs Child

Beginning a Blenderized Diet

Yayyy, Everyone is on board with Braxton starting a blenderized diet!  We saw his GI last week and spoke with him and a dietician about making the change and the doctor felt it was a great idea to change Braxton to a Blenderized Diet since he was having so many problems with the formula.  GI is also sending Braxton to have another abdominal ultrasound and Upper GI Scan to make sure that nothing in his anatomy has changed that is causing the vomiting and also to be sure he hasn’t developed a hernia because he has been vomiting so much.  We’ll do that next week, for now we are working on the new diet.

What is a Blenderized Diet?

A blenderized diet is essentially blending up REAL food into a liquid consistency so that we can still feed Braxton through his G-Tube.  With this new diet we could basically blend up anything we are eating and feed it to Braxton instead of that icky formula.

Why a Blenderized Diet?

There’s no definitive you HAVE to do this for your child answer out there.  Every parent has the right to choose how to feed their child.  We decided to give a try because Braxton has such a hard time with the formulas we have tried.  For one, how would you like to be on a liquid diet? It just didn’t make sense to continue to make Braxton stay on a completely liquid diet.  We want to maintain some sort of “normal” with him, and “normal” 18 month olds are already eating hamburgers and hot dogs! While we aren’t blending up hamburgers and hot dogs just yet, you get the idea.  We want Braxton to start having REAL food.  My research has shown me that several other parents started for the same reasons we have: formula intolerance, vomiting, gagging, retching and so forth – almost all of those parents said those issues stopped almost completely on the blenderized diet.  It also helps kids to be able eat by mouth faster.  A lot of parents have said their children are more willing to try oral feeding once they start with a blenderized diet, and at the end of the day, THAT is the goal! We want Braxton to learn to eat by mouth so we can eventually take the G-Tube out.  Other reported benefits include faster hair growth, healthier skin and nails, and better intestinal health.

Getting Started

There is a TON of information out there! Here are a few sites I checked out to gather some information:

  • Blenderized Food for Tubies – They have a fb group and website with a searchable forum. Lots of getting started tips and recipes from other parents.
  • Feeding Tube Awareness– All things tubie! They have a page of links and info on getting started as well
  • You Start With a Tube – A man WITH a feeding tube started this site and has a book “Complete Tubefeeding” Which is another great resource  Complete Tubefeeding
  • Mealtime Notions – “Homemade Blended Formula Handbook” Everything you need to know about homemade formula

After reading everything and talking to our GI and Dietitian I decided on a simple recipe to begin with until I’m comfortable moving up to more elaborate recipes.  Also, many will mention that you need a high speed blender like the VitaMix or BlendTec Blender (both companies offer discounts if you are purchasing for medical reasons). We do not have a high speed blender, so we are currently using our regular blender or our hand blender.  So far it’s worked just fine since we are using already pureed foods.  If this is something that works well and we have success with we’ll look into the high speed blenders.  No point in spending $400 for something if it might not even work! The point is, don’t be discouraged to try if you don’t have one of these blenders.

Here is the starter Recipe I used: (Said it was a 1,000 cal recipe, but I came up with a different figure) Following this recipe exactly also yielded about 60 ounces of food! o_O I’ll explain more in the next post about adjustments

  • 2 Cups Mixed Grain Infant Cereal
  • 12 oz Vegetable Baby Food
  • 8 oz Fruit Baby Food
  • 3 oz Pureed Meat
  • 16 oz Water
  • 4 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Karo Syrup

With any of the recipes you find, you can use any fruits and veggies, but you have to follow the regular guidelines for “normal” oral feeding babies. You should introduce one food at a time for 3-4 days before switching to the next just so that IF there is a food allergy it’s easy to rule out what food caused the allergy. Since we’ve already gone through that process when Brax was eating by mouth, we have been able to mix foods pretty easily.

Our trials will be a separate post, just wanted to put out some info on the new diet we are trying.

Happy Blending!

2 Comments

Filed under Blenderized Diet, Family, Kids and Family, Life, Special Needs Child

Something’s Gotta Give

I’m really getting tired of reporting Braxton’s tummy woes.  It’s the absolute worst to follow everything the doctor tells you do, only to find that it is still not best for your little one.  Seems like we find a solution and it works for a couple weeks and then BAM! back to square one.  I was really excited when we added corn starch to Braxton’s feeds and were able to run his feeds over 30 minutes instead of an hour, but alas, the vomiting has returned.  I’ve documented everything, but can’t pinpoint exact cycles, so I’m not sure if I’m dealing with Cyclic Vomiting or if it’s simply all part of the Dumping Syndrome.  Everything I’ve read on CV though is pretty severe and a lot of kiddos end up in the hospital for it, so probably not that.  It’s just so frustrating! Even moreso when I can’t get a doctor to return calls while I’m dealing with a child who can’t keep his food down….if that’s not an emergency or at least worthy of a call back I don’t know what is! Possibly time to find a new doctor.  Yes, I know they have other patients and are very busy, but certainly not everyone who calls is vomiting uncontrollably! I’m just at my wits end and feeling like somethings gotta give; my sanity being most likely the first thing to do so.

After a lot of research, sleepless nights, and just misery watching my poor baby, I’ve finally decided it’s time for a change.  We’ve tried several different formulas, medications, and other remedies and they have all failed.  So, I’ve decided to tackle a Blenderized Diet for Braxton.  Just doing the research and trying to wrap my head around it all has me feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Brings back NICU memories when we were being released with endless discharge instructions and appointments to be made. But, we made it through that and we’ll get through this and hopefully it finally brings relief.  All of the research shows that a Blended Diet is healthier and has several benefits, so in the end, if it’s better for Braxton, then I’m all for it.  I’ll do whatever it takes to help my little man.  Many people who have tried Blended Diets did so because their child had several GI issues which included severe vomiting. Almost all who made the switch report that the vomiting stopped within the first week of switching, and many have said their child even started tolerating oral feeding as a result. [ I sound like an infomercial! Possibly still trying to convince myself here….who knows] If we could get Braxton eating by mouth again I would be ECSTATIC!! [So would our Speech Therapist!] There are still some conversations that need to happen before we can forge ahead, but some of the important ones have already happened.  Our Speech Therapist and Occupational Therapist are on board with this decision which is a blessing.  We need to talk to our GI doctor when we see him Thursday to get him on board, and a nutritionist so that we make sure we’re still getting Braxton all the vitamins, nutrients, calories, and everything that he needs to stay healthy and continue growing.

It’s all a little bit scary and very overwhelming, but I’m confident in moving forward with this decision.  I’ll definitely be keeping detailed journals on everything that we try so that we can come back and post here what worked for us.  I can only hope any of the information I write here might help anyone out there in the same journey.  I’m open to suggestions/advice too so if you have any helpful info on getting started, things to do/not do, recipes etc. use the form on the “Contact Us” page and send it over! Thanks in advance!

/// On a brighter note! Braxton took pictures at daycare a few weeks ago and we received our prints today of our handsome man!

Sweet little boy :)

Sweet little boy 🙂

Brax's little smirk like he's too cool for the camera

Brax’s little smirk like he’s too cool for the camera

6 Comments

Filed under Family, Kids and Family, Life, Special Needs Child

A Step Back

Well, the saying goes…”2 steps forward, and 1 step back.” That’s been the case with Braxton since the beginning.  He accomplishes something great or we get good news, and then all of a sudden something isn’t right. =/

In the week or so before we ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, we noticed a decline in Braxton’s appetite.  Just so you know where he’s fallen from. Braxton was on breastmilk for 10 months (yes, I pumped all that time for him) and then on Similac Advance Formula for the last 2 months of his first year.  He was up to taking 6 ounces, 5 times a day.  He has the G-Tube, but we offer him a full bottle and let him drink what he will, then we put the rest through his tube.  He was drinking anywhere from 4-the full 6 ounce bottle ANNNDDD even eating a FULL jar of pureed baby food 3 times a day…no you know where all his rolls came from! Hehe Well at his 1-year birthday his GI doctor switched him over to Pediasure instead of whole milk.  Since Braxton was not eating a “normal” diet for a one year old the Dr did not want him to become malnourished and start losing weight. Pediasure would give him all the calories he needed plus all the vitamins and nutrients he needs. Anything we gave him above that would just be extra and useful in preparing him to learn to eat on his own.

At first, Braxton was throwing up EVERY feed as soon as we switched over to Pediasure.  Turns out with the higher calorie content of Pediasure, it was like we were overfeeding him compared to the formula he was on previously.  Basically it was like we had jumped from 6 ounces to 8 ounces of formula. Well naturally that would cause him to throw up….but I’m afraid from this point on the damage was done.

We played with the volume a little bit and gradually worked him back up to the 6 ounces 5 times a day. But, he stopped taking the bottle and stopped eating the pureed foods. 😦 We got him up to drinking about 3 ounces but still he would only take about half a jar of baby food as opposed to the full one he was getting before.

Well before the hospital stay, he pretty much stopped eating altogether.  We had to put his entire feed through his G-Tube and he wanted nothing to do with the pureed foods.  Working with our speech therapist, we decided that because of all the vomiting he had done that his throat was probably sore and it was actually hurting him to eat. As he began to associate the hurting in throat or nausea with feeding, he just decided to stop eating.  We will eventually stop doing something that causes us discomfort or pain, and that is what Braxton did.  Then he ended up in the hospital and didn’t eat for 3 days [he was on IV fluids getting the fluids and electrolytes he needed, but no food].  Now, Speech therapist says that in that short time it could be that his stomach shrunk so the 6 ounces we are giving has again become too much for him. Blah. So we’re back down to 5 ounces and gradually working back up to 6.  Thankfully the 5 ounces is staying down, but he seriously just wants absolutely NOTHING to do with the bottle or food.  We’ve only been able to get him to take mayyybe an ounce of his bottle, usually half an ounce and only like 4 bites of food.  This is a HUGE regression and not a good thing at all.  😦 He’s also been teething for what seems like FOR-EV-ER! He had a corner of tooth poking out, but it’s gone back into the gum. His gums do like a bit swollen and he’s gnawing on everything he can get his hands on, so this could also be contributing to his lack of appetite, but we don’t know for sure.  So many variables here.

Between us and the speech therapist, we are at a loss.  Pretty much out of ideas to work him back up to eating like he was before.  Called his GI doctor today, but haven’t heard back.  He would be the one to give us other suggestions or make some kind of change.  We see him next Monday anyway, but I thought this was enough of a concern for him to address sooner rather than later…he must not think so or he would have called back. UGH.

Uber frustrated.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Kids and Family, Life, Special Needs Child