No words can express how truly thankful I am to Lindsay for her help and support. I turned to her at a time of desperation, when I had pretty much lost all hope and was resigned to fact that I would have to live with the struggle and dread of feeding my baby until he was on solids. I am so glad I decided to trust her to help us; she has literally changed my life and allowed me to finally start to enjoy motherhood.
My darling boy was born premature; he was induced after a suspected intra-uterine growth deficiency and was born very small on the 2nd percentile. I tried breastfeeding but my already small baby, who only just managed to escape a stay in the NICU due to his small size, lost a significant amount of weight post birth and was slow to put it back on. As a result, I was advised to top up feeds with set volumes of formula and thus started a relentless cycle of breastfeeding, pumping and formula top ups. Despite all my efforts, my darling son was still very slow to gain weight and in the end I lost my faith in my ability to breastfeed my baby all and turned to formula alone. Unfortunately, my son never took to the bottle neither – he would arch his back in pain, spit up milk and take very little at feeds. I remember dreading feeding him so much so I would remain awake half the night with anxiety over his next feed. He would wake up in the mornings so so smiley and yet when it came time to feed him, he would scream and scream, and all of his smiles for the rest of the morning would be gone. I use to feel awful and a complete failure as a mother; unable to do the fundamental and supposedly innate task of feeding my baby.
After 12 weeks, things reached a crescendo and my son was barely having 14oz per day and his weight gain had plateaued. My son was first diagnosed with reflux but after thickened feeds and Gaviscon made no difference, he was diagnosed with reflux secondary to a cows milk protein allergy and was put on omeprazole, nutramigen and when this didn’t make a difference neocate. I was so hopeful in the beginning that these things would help him, but after trying each medication in turn with little to no improvement I was slowly losing faith.
I came across Rowena’s book on bottle feeding aversion and implemented these changes; after a few days I saw positive changes and improvements but then after about 2 weeks I felt I hit a road block and progress seemed to plateau and then dip. It was disheartening to feel something was finally working, only for things to falter again; I could once again feel myself spiralling and losing faith. I continued to research and found Lindsay, to whom I reached out after being touched by her own journey. I feel Lindsay was able to give me clarity and address my individual concerns in implementing the program, as well as giving me tips specific to my situation so that I could better negotiate the bumps in the road I had been facing trying to follow the book alone. Furthermore, she was able to relate, comfort and reassure me when I had moments of self-doubt. Lindsay’s manners is calm, kind and non-judgemental and her approach is tailored to meet your own needs, parenting style and lifestyle. Most of all I am grateful for the fact I feel I can still reach out to Lindsay for advice and encouragement on this on-going journey.
I can only say if you have come across this page because you think your baby has a bottle feeding aversion and are considering getting help, I urge to trust in Lindsay’s expertise. You will not regret it and like me, you can finally feel like you can enjoy your baby and motherhood again.
Kiranjit Juj, Nottingham, UK
I've started this email a dozen times and could never find the right words to express what I wanted to.
I know that you help so many families and it's been a long time since we've reached out to you, but I wanted to tell you how thankful we are for your help and how much you sincerely changed our lives.
We worked with you in the late summer and early fall of 2015, when our son was about 5-6 months old. We had been through a month long NICU stay, multiple doctors (a neurologist, several GIs, a nutritionist, & several pediatricians). We had resorted to using a medication for reflux (Prevacid) and we had tried EVERYTHING to get him to eat (distractions like toys, singing, walking, rocking, being inside, being outside, in a quiet place, in a nosier place, in the dark, on a bouncy ball, warm milk, cold milk, 12 different bottling systems... pretty much every variation that we thought showed a tiny improvement). When we reached out to you, we had resorted to dream feeding him for every single feeding for approximately 2 months. We were pretty much enslaved to his nap times and would count and agonize over every ml of milk he would take. It was extremely stressful and any joy we should have felt at being new parents was riddled with constant worry and anxiety.
Then, we found you.
After only a few days on your program and with your support, we saw a significant change in his eating patterns. He started to wakefully and willingly eat from a bottle for all of his feedings and by day 6 we felt confident he would be eating more like a typical baby in no time. On day 8, we felt his feeding aversion had been resolved and he was successfully bottle fed breast milk until 16 months old. We "graduated" from your program and got to be feed our baby like "typical" parents.
After we worked through his feeding aversion and got to enjoy him eating bottles naturally and effectively while AWAKE, we followed baby led weaning practices from your recommendations.
2018 UPDATE: Our little boy recently turned 3 years old. He is a healthy eater with his favorite foods including pulled pork, apples, beef, pasta, pickles, and of course cookies & chocolate. He eats everything he is offered including heavily spiced foods and our friends and family always marvel at what a good (not picky) little eater we have. He is still on the "smaller" side in regards to weight (he weighs 28 pounds) but he is tall (at the 90%) and he is so smart. His favorite thing to work for (as a reward) is going to a Hibachi restaurant for a meal where he devours everything offered to him (sushi, rice, onion soup, EVERYTHING). If you would have told me when he was 5 months old that this would ever be a description of him, I wouldn't have dared to believe it.
I just wanted to let you know how greatly and positively you impacted our lives. We have since had a second child (he is about to be 1 year old) and feeding him was and is so much easier. He is also small (about 18 pounds) but he is healthy and also eats EVERYTHING. We never stressed over volume of milk and we have always let him lead. We attribute a lot of our confidence with him (and our oldest) to you and your support.
Monique - USA
We contacted Rowena about our 2 month old daughter when we were at our breaking point… Since birth, our daughter Hadley had failed to stay on the growth trajectory that doctors wanted her on. She ate less than their recommended amounts and fussed violently when we tried to make her eat more than she wanted. Because of her dropping in growth percentiles, we were referred by our pediatrician to see teams of specialists. Here is the history:
Birth – 8 lb 15 oz. No complications or physical problems.
2 weeks – She was back at her birth weight, but not easting more than 1-2 ounces per feeding (Breatfed). We were referred to GI specialist. In the meantime, we started offering bottles every 30-60 minutes to our baby per doctors recommendations. She ate more, but often while screaming/crying.
2-4 weeks – The GI specialist diagnosed Hadley with Reflux. We went on 3-4 different reflux meds, increasing in potency every time. We continued offering food 20-40 times/day, often times making Hadley more angry. No improvement in eating behavior and gaining weight very, very slowly.
3 weeks – Hospitalized for a night per the GI specialist recommendation. They studied her eating behavior. Thought perhaps Hadley was allergic to mother’s milk and switched to Hypo Allergenic Formula (Elecare).
4-5 weeks – Referred to various feeding teams who studied Hadley. They found nothing wrong and said to continue meds and Hadley may “grow out of it”.
5 weeks – Hospitalized again due to fear of dehydration. We stayed at the hospital for 4 nights. Hadley continued to scream when being fed. A feeding tube was inserted to help her get the recommended ounces.
6 weeks - Had a tongue & lip tie procedure done on Hadley. A new doctor we saw thought this was leading to swallowing/eating problems and poor weight gain.
5-7 weeks – Put through awful set of stretching exercises after the tongue & lip tie procedure. Also continuing to give Hadley 3-5 medicines per day, all orally. Hadley developed such a fear of things going near her mouth that she screamed violently even when seeing the bottle or being put in a feeding position.
8 weeks – Contacted Rowena. She diagnosed her with a behavioral feeding aversion and put us on a plan to re-condition Hadley.
8-9 weeks (during Rowena’s plan) – The plan is a HUGE leap of faith…and we were skeptical. Her intake dropped very low for the first couple days…and we panicked. However by day 3-4, Hadley was starting to accept more and more food. By the end of week 1 she was taking in close to the required amount and gaining 1 oz/day. By the end of week 2, we were so confident in her eating that we started working on her sleeping problems.
Today: She is 3 months old and a COMPLETELY new baby. Eating, Happy, Sleeping Well! We dropped every medication she was on, threw out the feeding tubes, and stopped pressuring her to eat! Rowena was an absolute gift from God!
Jared - New York, USA
We started having bottle feeding issues with Evelyn shortly after I was unable to breastfeed at 8 weeks. Evelyn would not drink despite going hours without feeding. We discovered Evelyn would feed in a sleepy state so we would dream feed her every single feed. It was such an anxious time in our household. We were always so scared of waking Evelyn up as she wouldn't take her feed. I was petrified she would lose weight. My 3 year old was being told constantly to be quiet so he wouldn't wake his sister.
At 4 months of age Evelyn starting refusing dream feeds. I was a mess, the household was under such horrible pressure. The saddest part of all of this is we had a very similar situation with my son. I was petrified we were going down the same path. Life was stressful and becoming unbearable. I googled and googled and googled trying to find an answer. I came across Rowena website and contacted her straight away. I spoke to Rowena after completing a detailed list of questions. She confirmed my fear of Evelyn's bottle aversion. I couldn't believe both my children had these issues. I had sought so much help and spent so much time and money with my son from various professionals and no one was able to help. Rowena explained that Evelyn's aversion was due to pressure to feed. Unbeknown to me, the constant offering of the bottle had created a bottle aversion. My children were sensitive to being offered over and over again. All I wanted was the best for them but I had placed too much pressure on them to have the recommended daily intake of milk. I never allowed them to take what they wanted. Rowena emailed through a plan almost immediately after our initial consultation. We implemented the plan the very next day.
The first couple of days were hard but I was prepared to follow through with it - after all I didn't have any other options and life was terrible. Rowena was such fantastic support and I felt confident in her advice. By day 4 Evelyn was taking bottles awake and "feeding life" only improved from there. There were good days and bad days but Rowena was always there to help. We reviewed the plan once or twice as Evelyn was/is extremely sensitive to pressure.
Months down the track Evelyn's feeding has gone up and down but only due to sickness and teething, not aversion. I cannot explain the relief and gratitude I have for Rowena. She has allowed me to enjoy my baby and not stress about feeding. Our household is harmonious. I only wish I had found her with my son.
Lauren - Melbourne, Australia
My husband and I met Rowena in the middle of our feeding-aversion crisis, and she helped us turn our lives around. We cannot be more thrilled to be writing this testimonial.
We have a baby girl who is almost all formula-fed due to various lactation problems. Both my husband and I were incredibly focused on breast-feeding, so when we were unable to breastfeed, we didn't know what to do. There was practically no guidance or help about formula feeding out there. Everybody seemed to think or insinuate that formula feeding is simply putting a bottle into a baby's mouth, and voilà, you are done.
We didn't even know how much formula our baby would need, so we started asking our doctor, a lactation consultant, and various other sources about formula feeding guidelines. The response we got was that we should be feeding her 2-3oz formula per pound of her weight. She is a big baby (95th percentile in weight) so, we were told she would eat on the upper end of this guideline. Given this advice we tried to feed our baby whenever she gave hunger cues (or what we thought were hunger cues) and as much as possible, because we "needed" to get her to the suggested range of formula levels. Pretty soon we were obsesses with every little ounce she was taking in and whenever she wasn't getting "enough" formula we were trying our best to get her to drink more.
In the meantime, during almost every feeding our girl was squirming, arching her back, shaking her head, acting like she wants to leave the bottle. But since she continued to suck during all of these motions, we interpreted these as her having gas pains but still wanting to drink. This meant that we got even better at keeping the bottle in her mouth, despite her crazy gymnastic moves. We now realize that she was continuing to suck when we pressured her to eat simply due to her sucking reflex. The rest of her body was telling us she was being overfed, but we interpreted her discomfort with overfeeding as signs of additional hunger --- which led us to pressure her to eat even more.
When our baby was almost 8 weeks old, everything collapsed unexpectedly. Our girl started not to take the bottle. More than that, she started to scream whenever she saw the bottle. At some point, she was screaming bloody murder when she saw the nursing chair where we used to feed her. My husband and I were freaked out by all of this and started looking for any kind of help we could get. We got an appointment with our doctor, another appointment with a feeding consultant, and my husband somehow managed to get an appointment with Rowena.
Our appointment with the doctor was worse than useless, because she actually prescribed us acid reflux medicine that turned out our daughter did not need. Our appointment with the feeding consultant was useless and got us to focus on the wrong thing (we were told our baby is offended by the bottles we are using). Finally, we talked with Rowena and at the end of our Skype call, both my husband and I looked at each other and said Rowena is absolutely right. In the first minute of our conversation, Rowena guessed that our doctor would tell us to start on acid reflux medication (which she did!) and that in her opinion we should reconsider because based on what we described her, Talya had no signs of acid reflux. In the end, she was absolutely right.
Before our call with Rowena, we answered a 100-question survey, giving her incredibly detailed description of our situation. We didn't know if she would even read all of those things. During the Skype call it became very clear not only she had read them all but also she had already developed a treatment plan completely tailored for Talya. It was such a major contrast relative to our own pediatrician who didn't even want to hear us out the moment she heard the words "our baby is arching her back".
For the next two weeks we worked with Rowena to get our baby through her feeding aversion and start enjoying feeding again. During this process, Rowena also discovered that she wasn't quite sleeping properly. Since her birth, she was almost never seeping during the day. Her naps were no longer than 20-25min, which was incredibly exhausting. We were spending 40-50min to put her to sleep and 20min later she would be up. In response to this we decided to work with her to get our baby to sleep independently, so that she can self-regulate her sleeps. Rowena encouraged us to try the sleep adjustment on our own, but we knew that having her continued support would be very important for us.
Right now our baby is 13 weeks old. The last week has been one of the best weeks she has ever had in her life. She eats so well, only as much as she wants, and whenever she wants. Furthermore, her sleeping has improved beyond belief. She falls asleep by herself within 10min of us putting her into her crib. She takes long day-time naps as well as sleeping great at night. If I were reading these written by someone else, I would hardly believe them. However, going through this myself, I know that Rowena's methods work. Rowena was the only source of the advice we needed, and we would have suffered so much if we had not discovered her. If we decide to have another child and have any kind of Child Health issues with him/her, we would call her in a heartbeat!
Sylvia - New York, USA
We had a range of feeding issues which started when by son was born, including a tongue tie and attachment issues which contributed to feeding being a challenging experience for us both.
At 3 months he refused the breast completely and bottle feeding was becoming increasingly difficult. It was taking over 45 minutes each feed, and we would have to feed him when he was sleepy or swaddled, distracting him and feeding while walking around the house. This was an extremely stressful time for us, as he was not putting on much weight and was not feeding close to enough for his age and weight. I dreaded each feed and worried constantly about his development. We sought help from many health professionals but none of the suggested strategies worked for very long and did not address the underlying behavioural issues.
I found Rowenas website after searching desperately for solutions to our son's feeding issues. After reading the testimonials on her website I couldn't believe there were so many other parents going through the same thing and I felt hope for the first time in a long time that we might be able to get help that would work.
I contacted Rowena and she replied straight away. Although she was busy writing a book she kindly offered to help knowing how desperate I was. She developed a detailed plan for us and talked me through each part of it. I was nervous to start but I knew we had nothing to lose. Rowena was very supportive and responsive throughout the whole process. She replied to all my emails quickly, providing reassurance and advice on our progress and any issues we were having. I felt very supported through the whole process.
I can't thank Rowena enough for her help. Her approach has worked really well for us. My son now feeds well, he is relaxed and feeds a good amount for his age. Feeds now take 10 minutes. e is putting on weight and overall we are all so much happier. My anxiety has reduced and we can now enjoy our son and get out and about much more. It really has changed our lives, thank you so much Rowena. I strongly recommend getting in touch with Rowena if you need help with feeding issues.
Cartriona - NSW, Australia
Things went well for the first 2-3 months of our daughter’s life. H seemed to be getting closer to sleeping through the night, and was gaining weight at a reasonable rate, although she wasn't keeping up with her birth percentile. When she had her 4 month check-up, we realized that she had dropped below the 0 percentile line for her weight. That's when things started to get really stressful. We began to worry about her growth and whether or not it was a real problem. I continued to nurse her like I had been, but she started to wake more and more frequently at night and had definitely regressed in sleep. She seemed to want to eat at a newborn pace, not a 4-month old baby pace. From age 4-6 months, she continued to stay right at the 0 percentile for her weight, despite adding in 1-3 meals of baby cereal a day and continued night time feedings.
The doctor recommended that we switch to bottle feeding so that we could accurately monitor how much food she was actually taking in. We started the bottle transition right after she turned 6 months old. She seemed to get the hang of it by the third day and was taking in a good amount of milk. I continued to feed her before her naps because that is when she seemed most receptive to accepting a bottle (she was sleepy/drowsy). For the first 10 days, she was doing really well. She still woke during the night to eat some so we were getting closer to 27-30oz per day at the beginning. At her weight check appointment on 10 days later, we found she had gained 13 oz in just 10 days!! I was so happy.
Then, just two days after this successful appointment, she became noticeably more fussy at the bottle. It was extremely frustrating because I thought we had been doing so well. She continued to not be very receptive of her bottles, although most of the time she would eventually latch on and eat (but not always very well). That's when I started to be suspicious of silent reflux, because it seemed to me that she displayed quite a few of the symptoms. The doctor prescribed us reflux meds and we began those. They seemed to help a bit at first, which I was glad of. But, shortly after, she started refusing to take a bottle in her room, where she always had eaten her bottles before. If I went into my room, or other quiet rooms, however, she would take it. Over the next few days I noticed that she seemed to not want to take in as much milk per feed. Sometimes just 2-4 oz, when it was normally closer to 5 oz. That is when I started to "top her off" after she had fallen asleep. Pretty much every time this worked. I assumed that her not drinking as well was due to some mild congestion that she was having, and that after a few days I would stop topping her off in her sleep, she'd be more receptive to taking her bottle, and she'd get back to "normal."
Things just got worse. I was feeding her more and more in her sleep after she wouldn't take much while she was awake. Finally, after about 1 week of “topping off”, she wouldn't take the bottle at all while awake before her naps, like we'd always done. I started resorting to "sleep-feeding" exclusively. I stopped even offering her bottle while she was awake because all she would do was cry. I would wait until she had fallen asleep for 5-10 minutes, go back in, pick her up, and stick a bottle in her mouth (and prayed that she would drink in her sleep without waking up). You can imagine how stressful this was! I would feed her during each of her naps, and also have to set my alarm to wake up before I thought she would in the morning so that I could get her to eat before we started the day. This continued on for a whole week…I felt depressed, discouraged, chained to my house, and unable to give the proper attention to my toddler. And, I sensed that if I didn’t start to do something about it she would get inevitably start getting more and more aware of her sleep feeds as she got older and even refuse those.
The day after I started sleep-feeding, I reluctantly started googling to see if I could find anything about why H may be refusing her bottles that I hadn’t already thought of. That is when I found Rowena’s babycareadvice.com website – and I’m SO glad that I did! I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, but the article over Feeding Aversions described EXACTLY the behavior that both H and I were exhibiting/feeling. I couldn’t believe it! Finally, something that explained in detail what we were going through and gave a logical, non-medical cause for it. After some thought and discussion, we decided to arrange a consultation with Rowena. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about it! It was both affordable and extremely comprehensive. Rowena responded promptly and courteously to every email and was very patient and informative during our Skype session. She gave us a detailed feeding plan specific to H’s needs, and suggested that we try it on our own for a day or two before seeking more support from her team. As my good friend said, “she’s like a fairy godmother!”
Since H was an older baby (7 months), I braced myself for a big fight the morning that we started – but it went AMAZINGLY well!! On day one, she took in 25oz, which is more than I got on some of the days that I was sleep-feeding her! She started off slow, but never did totally reject her bottle. She didn’t even lose any weight – she actually GAINED weight!! I was completely surprised, and extremely happy. It took a lot of effort on my part to just trust my baby, to know that she will take what she wants and needs (I like to be the one in control!). We continued on, and day after day, she kept doing very well. It was as if we never even had a problem! Amazing. She did GREAT for about 2 weeks…. Then she started teething. H started losing her appetite and regressed again with her feeds, but after some more reassurance from Rowena a few days later, we continued on with the feeding plan strategy and things got better again. Then, a couple weeks after that, H got sick with a fever and cold. This time though, I knew exactly how to handle it and just had to be patient with her feeds. She wasn’t taking in as much as I wanted and even lost some weight, but I stuck with Rowena’s feeding plan strategy. Since then, she has slowly worked her way back up to where she was before, both in quantity and by weight.
H at 9 months old is still a small baby (around the 5th percentile for weight), but she seems to be happy, content, and developmentally on track. And, most importantly, she seems to enjoy taking her bottles – no more sleep-feeding or fearing feeding tubes!! If you are struggling with a feeding aversion with a baby of any age, I HIGHLY recommend you try a consultation – there’s hardly anything to lose, and so much you can gain!! Rowena was a life-saver (and SANITY saver!!). She is professional, extremely knowledgeable about baby care issues, and very compassionate as well. I finally feel like things are back on track and am not worrying nearly as much as before (although I still have my moments!). If ever I have any baby care issues in the future or have friends in need, I know exactly who to contact. THANK YOU, Rowena!!!
Margaret - London, UK
Winona was born with a complex congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. She started out nursing like a normal, healthy baby. After her first open-heart surgery, at 7 weeks of age, she began having trouble orally consuming the amount of calories the doctors’ claimed she needed to grow. They immediately placed an NG feeding tube to give her more volume. She was nursing or bottle feeding during the day and tube feeding at night. But each day she consumed less orally. The more we gave her, the worse she felt. We went through endless days of screaming, stomach cramps, gas and vomiting. We were told she probably had reflux, and she probably developed an intolerance to breastmilk or dairy, so much to my disappointment, I gave up nursing. That didn’t help. We spent weeks trying different feeding methods and different formulas and her oral aversion got worse. After being hospitalized for 33 days straight, 2 different reflux medications, 6 different formulas and GI consults, the doctors finally decided to replace the NG tube with an NJ tube, bypassing her stomach altogether. This would sustain her until she could grow large enough to handle the full heart repair that she needed.
Winona spent 4 months with the NJ tube, which can only be replaced under x-ray if it comes out, and must be run continuously. We didn’t leave the house all summer. She had to wear socks on her hands to keep from pulling out the tube because the closest hospital that could replace it was an hour and a half drive away. By the end of the 4 months Winona had gained more weight than she needed and was ready for her 3rd open-heart surgery, the full repair.
Following surgery, Winona was miraculously able to handle the NG tube feeding. But, even though her stomach was tolerating food, the doctors and speech therapists thought she would never drink from the bottle again and most likely she would need to have a G-tube surgically placed into her stomach until she could learn to eat solids orally. A few days after being sent home she began vomiting and losing weight. She went from bolus feeds to continuous feeds to no formula at all, only Pedialyte; her stomach wasn’t tolerating anything. The doctors were no help, they said give her a break and start again slowly until you reach the full volume. But this volume just made her sick. We were so frustrated and about to get admitted back to the hospital for more GI consults, when some friends recommended Rowena. They had gotten her help with their daughter and suggested we contact her.
After reading the testimonials on Rowena’s website, and finding connections between those stories and our own, we decided to try it. We paid for a consultation, filled out the detailed questionnaire and waited for the next step. Rowena was quick to respond. From the questionnaire she determined it was too soon after surgery to try and wean Winona from the tube. Rowena offered to give us our money back (the first sign that she was the type of person who really wanted to help us) and wait until she was cleared by the cardiologist, or, she offered to help us get Winona back to bolus feeds that she could handle and set the groundwork for the official tube wean. We moved forward with her advice. The biggest difference in her approach, versus our other doctors, was the volume. Rowena gave us a detailed plan using a lower volume that worked for Winona and instantly we could see it working! At the post-op appointment, the cardiologist was surprised to hear we were working with someone online. She didn’t advise us to stop, but she did want Winona to have more volume. Thankfully, we decided to stick with Rowena’s plan and began the tube weaning process.
We chose the support package and Rowena talked to us, via email, every day. After only 11 days, we pulled out Winona’s feeding tube! After using that tube for more than 8 of her 10 months of life, she was no longer dependent on it to feed! She was expressing hunger for the first time, drinking the bottle (that the doctors said she would never go back to) and eating solids! It took about two weeks following to really see a positive weight gain, but Rowena told us that could happen. Winona has been tube-free for over a month now, and she is so happy! Rowena has changed our lives! If you are reading this testimonial, trying to decide what to do for your baby…go for it! Rowena is great! The process is great! And most of all, the outcome is great! Thank you Rowena, you will always be remembered by our family!
Shelley - Idaho, USA
Things went wonderfully for the first two weeks of J's life then he started losing weight and we were told to supplement his breastfeeds with formula to get his weight back up. Things didn't improve and J started crying and fighting each breastfeed until he refused to open his mouth to latch, so we ended up formula feeding fulltime at 6 weeks old. I was later diagnosed with Raynauds, but we never really found out why he couldn't breastfeed and I felt really guilty about not being able to feed him.
At 9 weeks he started power chucking after his feeds, so we were constantly feeding and re-feeding him. He was then diagnosed with reflux and put on omeprozole. Due to his previous weight loss and my guilt about not being able to breast feed him I ended up feeling like I needed to make sure that he was getting enough formula into him as he was taking a lot less than what was recommended for his weight. He began to fight feeds and would only take 20 or 30mls at a time. He would refuse to take the bottle in his mouth or would take it, but would "fake suck" so he wasn't sucking hard enough to get any milk. It would take us an hour and a half to get feeds into him while he arched and cried and refused his feeds. We put it down to his reflux, but then he stopped throwing up his feeds and his behaviour on the bottle continued. We hardly ever left the house, as I would spend the whole time he was awake trying to feed him. I finally found Rowena's website and after reading her article on feeding aversions was convinced that it was behavioural and contacted her straight away for help.
It turned out that J was really sensitive and the process of getting him to willingly feed, but he now happily drinks, and feeds only take 10 - 15mins. Where we used to spend almost all of his awake time feeding we now spend most of his awake times playing and getting out and about. Rowena was just amazing through out it all. She was so calm and confident about what we needed to do, which gave us the confidence to keep going and get the results that we did. I learnt so much from Rowena through working with her, most importantly I learnt to give up control of feeding to my son and trust him. I can't recommend Rowena highly enough. Her experience and knowledge really stands out, but most of all she is kind and compassionate through it all. Her level of support was incredible and she was so patient with my constant emails and answered them so quickly.
Kirsten - Queenstown, New Zealand
N was born a small but healthy baby. At 4 weeks we first noticed that she was having some difficulty drinking with her bottle. She would arch her back, and cry a little. We took her to the GP who diagnosed her as having silent reflux. We were told that she would grow out of it at 3 months and in the meantime we just needed to feed her however we could. As time went on, N's feeds became more difficult. She began to turn her head to avoid the bottle, push herself away from the bottle, cry, bite on the bottle. Feeding was becoming more and more stressful, but we persisted trying to feed her however we could, with the knowledge from the GP that it would all improve at 12 weeks. By the time 12 weeks came, feeding was horrific. I couldn't take N out anywhere as I was embarrassed to feed her in public. We made the decision to start her on Ranitidine. Her feeds seemed to improve temporarily for a few days, but then they deteriorated again. At her worst, N would scream at the sight of the bottle, fight, hit the bottle with her small hands and adamantly refuse to open her mouth. It would take me 2 hours to try and feed her and she would only take 30/40mls during this whole time. I kept going to the GP on a weekly basis desperate for someone to help. They just kept putting the dose of Ranitidine up, but this did absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, although N was not putting on weight, she had dropped by almost 2 centile lines, which was of huge concern to me. At 16 weeks, N completely refused to feed when awake. I was forced to have to rock her to sleep and then try and feed her while she slept, hoping that she wouldn't wake up mid feed.
My stress and anxiety levels were incredibly high, and in desperation I searched the internet for answers. I came across Rowena's article on feeding aversions, and it was as though it was written about my baby. Everything in it related to our situation. I had nothing to lose, so I contacted Rowena and she responded promptly and we arranged to skypein the next couple of days. In the meantime we filled out a very detailed questionnaire. I felt by the time I'd completed the questionnaire that Rowena would have a very thorough understanding of our situation.
We skyped with Rowena and she took us through her feeding plan for N. It was quite a mindshift as it involved giving the responsibility to feed to N. We implemenated her plan the next day. I found that first day so incredibly hard, but Rowena was there and so supportive. She reassured me and helped to keep me calm when I was feeling very stressed. The next day, N was already showing signs of improvement. Through the whole feeding journey, Rowena was so supportive. She patiently answered all the questions I had.
N is now feeding happily, which I never thought I would say. She opens her mouth for the bottle, and hold onto the bottle with her hand as she drinks. She is not taking any reflux medication, and I suspect she never needed it in the first place. Rowena not only had the knowledge and experience to be able to deal with our situation, she is a kind and compassionate person who understands how stressful this process is for parents. I will forever be grateful to her for the difference she has brought to our lives. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending her to anyone experiencing any kind of difficulty with their baby. If we ever need any further advice on any baby care issue, Rowena will be the first person I contact for another consultation. My only wish is that I had known about Rowena earlier, I really believe she was an answer to my desperate prayers.
Grace - London, UK
Florence was born at a great weight and, for the first month of her life, she was a great eater. She put on weight with no problems and life was really easy. When she was five weeks old, she developed oral thrush. The medical staff at the time said that we should continue to try and feed her at the same volumes as previously, by feeding her much more often and with a fast flow teat. The thrush lasted for 9 days and, during this time, Florence experienced a lot of pain when feeding – not just from the thrush but by using a fast flow teat and having really bad wind as a result.
After the thrush cleared up, she was very fussy when feeding and whenever we took her to the doctor, he would confirm that this was just part of having a baby. I spoke with the health visitor who just said she was “colicky” and when I explained what was happening, she said it was just what having a fussy baby was about.
As time went on, she got much worse, to the point where I was the only person who could feed her and feeding times became a stressful and nightmarish experience for both of us. As soon as I lay her down to feed, she would start screaming and thrashing around and we’d both end up in tears. We couldn’t go out over a feeding time, she was hungry all the time from not eating enough and so crying all the time and not able to sleep during the day, she was taking tiny feeds and not putting on sufficient weight and I spent most of every day dreading the next feeding time – this was the most stressful time I have ever experienced in my life, and I spent most of the time in tears, not knowing if there would ever be an end to the problem.
When she was 10 weeks old, she just stopped eating one day and the doctor referred us to the paediatrician that same day. After spending 15 minutes with Florence, he diagnosed a milk protein allergy and prescribed dairy free milk powder. We switched to this and it made no difference at all. At the hospital consultation, I asked the nursery nurse (who admitted to having nearly 40 years’ experience) if she thought it might be a feeding aversion and she laughed and said that ‘you can find anything on the internet if you look hard enough’. I started researching “cures” for feeding aversions – I had been convinced this was what the problem since she was about 8 weeks old. I found Rowena’s website and read the testimonials in tears – they completely matched my experiences and I was finally hopeful that there may be a way out of this.
I booked a consultation with Rowena and she was incredibly informative and detailed in her advice and the way to resolve this situation. Florence ended up being a complex case and so it took longer than Rowena or we anticipated that it would to resolve her situation. Rowena was there every day throughout the whole process; she provided advice on how to progress and offered support when I was feeling emotional. Rowena has, and this is no exaggeration, changed our lives. A month on from the first consultation, Flo is happy and relaxed when feeding – she actively looks for her bottle and reaches for it when I’m getting it ready. She laughs when she’s feeding and plays with my hair and face. The transformation is amazing and, if anybody is having feeding aversion issues, would recommend that they seek Rowena’s help as soon as possible.
Rachel - Carolina, UK
From birth my son was a fussy feeder and was desperately unsettled. At 5 1/2 weeks he was diagnosed with silent reflux and started on medication. He became more settled but his feeding issues continued. I started expressing to see if using a bottle made any difference but it didn't. I tried numerous different bottles and teats, feeding while sleepy, feeding small and often, spacing feeds further apart to entice a greater hunger, distraction, walking around whilst feeding, etc.
People were full of advice and kept informing me how much he should be drinking in order to put on weight. As he was born a small (but healthy) boy, I was constantly nervous that he would not gain the weight he 'should'. As time progressed feeding got worse until it got to a point where it took my husband and I an hour to feed our boy, with me feeding him while my husband distracted him. My son would arch his back, cry, move his head from side to side, wriggle to get away, chomp on the teat as if to fake sucking, and eventually get upset when even seeing the bottle.
I saw numerous health professionals who advised everything from increasing his medication, to wait it out, to start solids early, to pressure him until he got used to the volume of milk in his tummy to know it wouldn't cause pain. In my heart I knew the feeding issue was not now because of reflux as otherwise he was very settled and happy. I was petrified that he would end up being tube fed and could foresee this arising as the volumes he was drinking were dropping. I found myself isolating myself from friends because my days revolved around feeds.
I scoured the internet in search of advice and found Rowena's website. I read the testimonials and was filled with excitement for the first time since our son was born. However, I was also a bit skeptical. These stories seemed so genuine but part of me was afraid of 'miracle cures' on the internet. After talking with my husband and corresponding briefly with Ruth from the USA (one of Rowena’s clients), we decided we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I set up an appointment with Rowena and filled out her thorough questionnaire. Rowena explained to me about a healthy baby's feeding abilities which made such logical sense that I could not understand why so many other health professionals do not know this.
It took a real leap of faith but we immediately implemented her strategies. It was very hard after trying for so long to get our boy to drink a certain amount to just relax and let him what he wanted at each feed. However, it took the pressure off both of us and immediately I could feel myself relaxing. Life no longer revolved around feeds. I was still nervous that our son would not take enough volumes but after a few days he was taking within his range per day. Feeds went from an hour of real pressure requiring 2 people to now taking 10-20 mins. I'd love you to see a video of our boy now before a feed- he gets so excited he almost hyperventilates. His mouth is wide open, he reaches forward for the bottle, he holds on to it, and he often fusses inconsolably with hunger before a feed. I'm finally enjoying my little boy and we are engaging with friends again and getting involved in activities outside the house. I wish I'd known about Rowena earlier. Please if you have any similar issues, contact Rowena. She is thorough, knowledgeable, baby focused, and a miracle worker. Feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are hesitant, as I know it is hard to take that leap of faith.
Avril - Auckland, New Zealand
My son started to have feeding problems when he was about 2 and half months old. He was becoming very fussy with the bottle, and progressively got worse week by week. I took him to countless pediatricians, none of whom really could tell me what was wrong. One doctor suggested that he might have silent reflux; another told me that his feeding problems were possibly related to pain from teething. When that proved not to be the case, she then suggested to change his milk, owing the fussiness to milk protein allergies. I tried everything, from changing his milk several times to teething gels before feeding, but nothing worked. I never felt comfortable to put him on a clinical trial for reflux – and looking back now I am so happy that I stuck to my gut feeling and refused to medicate him. But my situation was getting pretty desperate. A few weeks went by and soon enough the only way he would drink his milk comfortably was when he was half asleep during the night feeds or when I would resort to dream feeding him before he woke up in the morning.
As his intake started to drop day by day, his behavior started to change as well; naturally, he was much more irritable and cried a lot more. Trying to get him to feed the way he used to was proving to be impossible. It was an extremely stressful situation and I started to have constant anxiety about how I was going to feed him. With his constant bottle refusal and lower intake, I started to have to try to soothe and encourage him to take the bottle by simultaneously standing and rocking him while feeding. It was very stressful and exhausting, and sadly, even that didn’t work all the time. I was desperate for an answer and started to do a lot of online research until I found the page about feeding aversions on Baby Care Advice. I read Rowena’s description of bottle-feeding aversion and actually began to cry – shocked by how well it described my son’s behavior. I knew she was the right person to help us get through this problem and contacted her immediately.
Rowena’s assessment of my son’s feeding problems was extremely thorough and informative. I must admit that I was quite nervous to start her plan at first, but I knew that I needed to follow through. She was always incredibly supportive, and her extensive knowledge and understanding of feeding problems pushed me to continue. My son feeds completely normally now, excited to drink his milk, just like any other baby. The transformation was incredible. I know with all certainty now that following Rowena’s plan was the only way to get my son to feed normally again. It still amazes me how a behavioral condition can cause a baby to behave the way my son did, and that medical professionals are at a complete loss when it comes to this type of a problem. I feel incredibly blessed to have found Rowena and to be able to turn things around for my family. I could not be more grateful for her support and advice, and highly recommend her to anyone with baby care issues.
Sarah - From London, UK
Our baby girl was born a healthy 3.5kg and she was always a bit fussy on the bottle but nothing too worrying. She never drank the recommended amount of formula for her weight but her weight gain was fine. Then, at around 3-4months she started to refuse the odd feed and would scream/cry when I persisted. I would reheat the bottle and try again and the feeds would drag on for an hour until I was forced to throw out the contents. When she would refuse a feed I would try again with a fresh bottle an hour or two later thinking she must be starving by now. We could not feed her in public anymore as her screams of refusal would be blood curdling.
At just over 4 months she started refusing to drink when she was awake altogether and we became terribly stressed. The doctors thought it might be silent reflux (she never regurgitated milk) so we started her on Losec and Zantac. After a 24 hour period where we could only get 100ml into her, we did a 4 day stint in hospital where she was observed but would still not drink a drop for anyone when awake. She would only drink when we put the bottle into her mouth while she slept in the cot. We thought we would have to resort to tube feeding her because of her low milk intake and the stress of trying to feed her when she was asleep had become all consuming. She had lost about 200g and the dietician recommended fortifying her milk. However when the paediatrician explained the negative repercussions of tube feeding (i.e. losing the swallowing and sucking ability, not taking to solids, difficulty in getting her off the tube later on etc) we held off and kept dream feeding her whenever we could. There were many failed attempts when she would wake and scream/cry. We also have 2 year old twins and trying to keep them quiet so they didn't wake the baby and ruin a "dream feed", was hugely stressful. We then went to Tresillian Centre and she sucked a tiny bit when awake for a few feeds but it was still a battle involving much crying.
We came home and were still living on eggshells where she took most of her milk at night. She wasn't sleeping well (we think because she was hungry) and if she was too awake she wouldn't drink so we would often have to resettle her, wait until she was asleep and try again. We were living on 3-4 hours sleep a night and it felt as though it was a huge struggle to keep her hydrated let alone gain any weight. This was exhausting and it was also cutting into her sleep. I had never been so stressed in my life. We realised at this point (when she was just over 5 months) that she was good at taking solids, specifically vegies, but she still took no milk when awake.
I stumbled across Rowena's website when I was trawling the internet looking for any information that may help. The testimonials on bottle aversion sounded very much like what we were experiencing, especially Ruth from the USA, and the website clearly explained how to differentiate between pain and an aversion. It was then we realised that our little girl probably did not have reflux at all but a behavioural issue. We were desperate to do anything to get her drinking so we contacted Rowena and completed the questionnaire. We then spoke to Rowena and had faith straight away that she knew what she was talking about and could help us. After we implemented her recommended strategy our baby started drinking the second day when awake and then her volumes increased during the day throughout the week. Happiness and amazement!! We weaned her off the reflux meds, our stress levels plummeted and we started getting so much more sleep. We are extremely grateful to Rowena as she solved a problem with a strategy that made so much sense and no one else had ever suggested. Bottle aversion is hell on earth so we suggest getting in touch with Rowena if you are experiencing similar issues.
Alison - Sydney, Australia
Harry was born a bigger baby and had some fussy feeding behaviours from the outset. He was diagnosed by a doctor at 5 weeks with Silent Reflux and prescribed various medications for this. At 12 weeks Harry's fussy feeding behaviours really exacerbated. He drank less and less milk despite showing hunger signs, he would cry and fuss during all day feeds, arch his back, turn his head away, hit the bottle, kick, would not latch onto the bottle, only feed when drowsy and refuse some feeds all together. After a month of this behaviour I took Harry back to a doctor seeking answers for his fussiness only to have my concerns dismissed due to that fact he had still continued to put on weight, albeit minimal, and he still charted in a higher range for his weight growth . A month later Harry was seen by a Paediatrician who suggested he may have been lactose intolerant or suffered from Silent Reflux and recommended trialling different treatments, none of which resolved Harry's feeding issues. I was given lots of differing advice from the various health professionals I had sought assistance from, none of which proved helpful.
I had nearly settled for the fact that Harry was always going to be a fussy feeder and this was his norm but I never felt entirely convinced that his feeding issues were due to a medical reason. I then came across Rowena's website, read her article about bottle aversion and read the testimonials and knew I had to contact her about Harry's situation. Rowena responded to me promptly and even though she was on an overseas holiday at the time, Rowena generously offered me a consultation and following this she provided me with daily ongoing support all whilst she was on holidays!
Rowena's assessment process was extremely thorough and her explanation and reasoning for why she considered Harry's feeding aversion to be behavioural was well informed and exactly right! I finally felt that someone actually knew this time what was happening for Harry and how to fix it. Rowena's child focused recommendations, knowing she could be there for every step of the journey and her confidence that Harry's feeding aversion was resolvable relieved a huge amount of worry and stress I had been experiencing for several months.
Changes in Harry's feeding was evident after only a few days of implementing Rowena's recommendations and every day thereafter he progressed in someway and after approximately 10 days Harry really showed consistent progress in terms of his milk intake and the level of fussy feeding behaviours he displayed. Harry now shows excitement at feed time, he waits with a wide open mouth for the bottle, he is quite relaxed throughout the feed and often finishes an entire feed. He also no longer takes any medication for reflux (and probably never needed this in the first place). I am so thankful for Rowena's expertise and the service she provided, she is the only person to have had the right solution and that really worked in such a short time! I have no hesitation in recommending Rowena's service to anyone and would very readily call on her support again for any baby care issue.
Sophie - Adelaide, Australia
Our daughter B was born about 10 weeks premature. She was in NICU for about 90 days. During her stay in NICU, she was tube fed through a nasal gastric (NG) tube and was gaining weight at appropriate levels. We were feeding her using a combination of NG tube and feeding bottle. Feeding was the least of her problems. Within a couple of days of coming home, B started developing an aversion to milk. Initially, we suspected that it was due to lactose intolerance and got it checked. Our weekly visits to the pediatrician was fraught with anxiety and fear. On one hand, the pediatrician was pushing us to feed whatever it takes for our daughter to gain weight. On the other hand, we were struggling as our daughter refused to even bring her mouth anywhere close to the bottle. We started force feeding her following our pediatrician’s inputs. On top of it, B had a bad case of reflux resulting in her throwing up more than 60% of what her intake was. She was already on Prilosec and Zantac. The only time, we would get to feed her was when she would go to sleep and would offer the least bit of resistance to our attempt to feed her. To this end, we used to put her in the car seat and drive around for an hour or so. We were exhausted and had consulted her pediatrician, developmental pediatrician, speech therapist and gastro intestine (GI) specialist. The speech therapist taught us several techniques and had seen B since her birth. The GI specialist had prescribed an increased dose of Zantac and Prilosec. While each of these actions had some effect in controlling her acid reflux and in reducing the stress in feeding, we had given up hope that B would ever feed like “normal” kids and would gain weight.
Out of sheer desperation, we started googling and came across Rowena’s website. We read through the testimonials that others had written and discovered that there were parents who went through what we were going through. We contacted Rowena. The first thing we did was to thoroughly answer the 100 questions that Rowena had sent us. She was accommodative to squeeze us for a consult before she left on vacation the following day. Our first impression was that Rowena was thorough, listened carefully to our problem and logically explained every one of the symptoms that we faced with B. Then she offered us that she would work with us till our daughter started feeding normally. There was no pressure or a decision to make on the spot. But, we made a decision to trust our instincts and go with Rowena. Rowena worked with us via email. She gave us clear advice to each of our observations. We communicated every bit to her. Her sincerity has to be applauded that she would respond to us multiple times even during her vacation. We felt like a mentor guiding us in every step of the way and that gave us immense confidence.
We saw only a marginal improvement by Day 3. But, from the Day 4, the improvements in B’s feeds were visible. She had started taking the bottle while awake with minimal to no resistance. She had turned a corner. The difference was as clear as black and white. Both us and our daughter were happy and much less stressful about the feeding episodes. There was no more driving around or putting B to sleep and no more anxiety to meet the “quota” for her feed. It has now been well over a month. The therapy and the method still works.
What a relief! We are thankful and grateful to Rowena. We would highly recommend her to anyone who is going through this oral aversion/ feeding issues. We have also given her name to our pediatrician to pass it on to other parents who might be going through a similar issue.
Laghima and Gayan - Fishers, Indiana, USA
My son, Andrew, has always been difficult to feed (unless asleep). He entered the world a little early at 36 weeks, but weighed a healthy 6 pounds. I noticed he had trouble breathing and eating at the same time. If he choked, it was nearly impossible to get him to latch back on. It would typically take me 45 minutes to an hour to feed him. By the time I would finally get him to eat, there would be milk everywhere and I was usually in tears. I fed Andrew every 3 hours, so I spent most of the day trying to feed him. He was a very happy baby, except when I was trying to feed him. I assumed I had a heavy let down, so we started giving him a bottle. Even with the bottle though, he would get distracted easily or cry and arch his back and refuse to eat. I thought maybe he had a tongue tie, or acid reflux because he would get so upset when I tried to feed him. I would have to take him in a quiet room to get him to eat, which was really difficult with an energetic 16 month old daughter running around.
At 4 months old, I started giving him cereal. Andrew did great the first week, but then began refusing to swallow once I would give him cereal by spoon. I took him to the doctor because he refused to eat for several days in a row. At this point, I could only get him to eat if he was drowsy or falling asleep. Our pediatrician diagnosed him with acid reflux, delayed gastric emptying, and failure to thrive because he was losing weight. We ended up seeing a specialist (pediatric gastroenterologist) at a wonderful children’s hospital. They believed he had a swallowing issue, and ordered a swallow study. Of course, he refused to eat during the study and recommended that we use a feeding tube. They wanted us to feed him with the tube if he didn’t eat a certain amount every day, which caused me to have severe anxiety. Over the next 6 weeks, I would wake up at 5am every morning to feed him before he would wake up, then we would rock him to sleep before giving him a bottle during the day. It was extremely stressful and overwhelming because I felt that I was the only person who could get him to eat.
I was constantly looking on the internet for help. One day I came across an article on BabyCareAdvice about bottle aversions. Then I read a testimonial (Ruth) that made me burst into tears. This mother had a similar feeding issue with her daughter and Rowena was able to help her in a matter of days. Honestly, it sounded too good to be true. I didn’t feel comfortable sending money over the internet for an assessment, but after talking to my husband, we had nothing to lose. We had already spent thousands of dollars, so why not see what this nurse had to say. I filled out the questionnaire and within a few hours, Rowena emailed me and said she could help me with Andrew’s aversion to eating! We set up a Skype account and talked to her the next evening. We started Rowena’s plan the following week, and within 24 hours he was eating AWAKE, and within a week he was eating solids.
Words cannot describe how grateful and relieved I am for her help. No one (pediatricians, therapists, or specialists) could tell us what was wrong or how to help our son until we talked with Rowena. She was confident that she could help us, and she did. If any of my son’s issues sounds familiar, I would have you contact her immediately.
Terri C - USA
Our baby L was born 5 weeks premature and spent the first four weeks of her life in special care being fed with a nasogastric tube and was weaned to bottles. Even when we left hospital with L being soley bottle fed, she never seemed to really enjoy eating and rarely seemed to drink the amount everyone told us she should be having. At about 7 weeks of age she started to projectile vomit about once every second day, with the whole feed coming back up. Three months after her birth, at two months corrected age she started to refuse the bottle. Initially we thought she had reflux and started on medication for this. Gradually it became more and more difficult to feed L. She would scream and kick as I sat down with her in the feeding chair. Our worst day I was only able to feed her while she was sleeping. The doctors thought she may have a cow’s milk intolerance and asked us to try a special formula, which didn’t help. Their only solution was a feeding tube.
In desperation I searched the net about bottle refusal and found Rowena’s article on feeding aversion. At last something which made sense and fitted our picture. We had a skype appointment with Rowena and she explained her behavioural approach to treating the feeding aversion. It was such a relief to find someone who seemed to fully understand the situation and who had a solution. She was able to help us when nobody else could.
After a week of following the guidelines, we had made some progress but were still struggling with some behaviour. Rowena revised the plan and on we pushed. Gradually things improved and now I am able to feed L sitting in my lap and at last she is taking good quantities and putting on weight well. The projectile vomiting has settled a lot and happens only very occasionally now and we have been able to wean off the reflux medication.
Rowena was very prompt with email support to help guide us through an extremely difficult time. We found her to be knowledgeable, professional and caring. We are very grateful for her assistance and recommend her highly. I have also found the routines in her book to be very useful.
Roslyn - Brisbane, Australia
Our son had been a difficult baby from the start, colicky and a extremely gassy, already on reflux medication, but still seeming to be in pain when drinking. But he continued to gain weight and we were able to work our way through it for a while. However, when our son was right around 8 weeks old, he began exhibiting some symptoms of a feeding aversion- screaming when we would sit down to feed, turning his head after a few sips, refusing the bottle and screaming. Having previously been through an agonizing 18 month struggle with our first born's feeding aversion (for which we didn't get sufficient help in time), I recognized the symptoms right away.
While it was certainly helpful that I realized what was happening so quickly (unlike with our daughter), I also knew that time was of the essence in getting it resolved before things become a living nightmare yet again. I desperately began researching on the internet to see if there were any feeding clinics that I hadn't consulted with the first time around (since we didn't find much useful help with our daughter). I came across babycareadvice.com and began reading. Then I saw this:
"A feeding aversion is one of the most complex, confusing and stressful baby-care problems a parent could face."
When I read Rowena's words, I KNEW that this was someone who had either personally experienced a feeding aversion or had a lot of experience dealing with babies with this problem, and if nothing else seemed to understand what I was going through.
To an outsider, a feeding disorder or aversion in a baby may not sound that horrible. After all, it's not cancer or a congenital problem or any host of other things more well known by the general public, etc. However, after having survived it with our first born, I can tell you that once you've actually experienced it, it's completely traumatizing to the care giver. On top of making you feel like you can't provide one of the life necessities for your child (drinking/food), there is a lot of conflicting and incorrect information out there- so that you spend a good deal of your time feeling not only like a failure, but also hopeless. It can be an extremely isolating problem. People who have no experience with a feeding aversion don't understand all of the areas/quality of life it can affect. It controls everything in your world, not just the feeding of your baby. You can't take your baby out and about for very long, and you yourself can not be gone away from the baby more than between feedings (which may not be long at all, considering how little or how often your baby must eat). In many cases, you can't travel or feed baby outside of a specific spot in home (sometimes change of environment and distractions make the aversion worse). Any sort of sleeping patterns go out the window, as you may have to feed baby throughout the night much longer than planned, as a lot of these babies feed better during "dream feeds". You may find yourself constantly holding your child so they aren't screaming/distressed as that can make it harder to feed them. You worry about your relationship with the baby as he is trying to tell you he's hungry but its hard if not impossible to feed him. You live under a huge umbrella as stress as this kind of problem exists all day and night for a baby- after all, feeding occurs every several hours.
Our daughter had been hospitalized 3 times in her first year, and fell to and remained at 3% for weight. Truly the only reason we held on without a feeding tube was because of a miracle lady (who had since retired) who was the one person who could feed her without any aversion. The suggestions we had from Pediatricians, Feeding Teams, OTs, etc varied from- just feed her an ounce every hour 24 hours a day (Can you imagine?! How could one person do this? We had no family in town to help, and both had full time jobs); just let her fall off the curve and get diagnosed as Failure to Thrive, then we can help you; get the formula in her however you can- keep doing what you are doing. What we were doing, as I later learned, was essentially perceived by our daughter as force feeding and pressuring her to eat. Tricking her into drinking at times. We continued because we were told this is what we should do. Now, of course, we know that this only made the problem worse. Mind you, NONE of the specialists who were giving us this advice were EVER able to feed our daughter one drop of formula. I spent 18 months crying on weekends when our miracle lady wasn't working and couldn't feed our daughter, as I struggled desperately to keep her hydrated during the day, then crying tears of joy when she was sleeping and I was able to feed her. So many hours spent praying she'd gain weight, wondering what would come of all of this some day.
Due to all of the trauma, and the aversion not being handled quickly enough and correctly, at around 5 months of age she ended up classified with a motor planning delay in drinking and sensory defensiveness and we had to put her in sensory therapy 4 days a week. Finally, around 18 months of age, I was able to stop feeding her at night and she was able to drink out of a cup on her own. I'm happy to report that today she is thriving, no longer in therapy, and shows no ill effects from her feeding aversion as a baby. However, my point in explaining my daughter's issues is to show that when an aversion goes on untreated, the problems mount. So you can imagine my fear when my son began exhibiting a feeding aversion as well. I knew that it was of the utmost importance that he didn't feel force fed in the meantime while I searched for answers. I found Rowena just in time!
Rowena did an evaluation with me over the phone, and we set out on the aversion management plan. Though it was a bit scary, Rowena really explained things in a way that made sense. She helped me to understand what my responsibilities were as the feeder, what my son's were as the baby, and what was going on both physically and mentally with this struggle. I must have emailed Rowena 100 follow up questions as I thought of different scenarios or as different things played out during the plan. She always answered me back very thoroughly and very promptly. We saw a great improvement in our son within one week's time, and he's continued to maintain his weight over the last several weeks, with very few instances of aversion.
We wish we had known about Rowena with my daughter. It would have saved a year and a half of heart ache. Now we know there IS something you can do, and someone who can help and offer a plan that really DOES work, and it's such a weight off of our shoulders.
Jamie - St Louis, USA
Our baby Lily was born 5 weeks premature and spent the first four weeks of her life in special care being fed with a nasogastric tube and was weaned to bottles. Even when we left hospital with Lily being soley bottle fed, she never seemed to really enjoy eating and rarely seemed to drink the amount everyone told us she should be having. At about 7 weeks of age she started to projectile vomit about once every second day, with the whole feed coming back up. Three months after her birth, at two months corrected age she started to refuse the bottle. Initially we thought she had reflux and started on medication for this. Gradually it became more and more difficult to feed her. She would scream and kick as I sat down with her in the feeding chair. Our worst day I was only able to feed her while she was sleeping. The doctors thought she may have a cow’s milk intolerance and asked us to try a special formula, which didn’t help. Their only solution was a feeding tube.
In desperation I searched the net about bottle refusal and found Rowena’s article on feeding aversion. At last something which made sense and fitted our picture. We had a skype appointment with Rowena and she explained her behavioural approach to treating the feeding aversion. It was such a relief to find someone who seemed to fully understand the situation and who had a solution. She was able to help us when nobody else could.
After a week of following her guidelines, we had made some progress but were still struggling with some behaviour. R owena revised the plan and on we pushed. Gradually things improved and now I am able to feed Lily sitting in my lap and at last she is taking good quantities and putting on weight well. The projectile vomiting has settled a lot and happens only very occasionally now and we have been able to wean off the reflux medication.
Rowena was very prompt with email support to help guide us through an extremely difficult time. We found her to be knowledgeable, professional and caring. We are very grateful for her assistance and recommend her highly. I have also found the routines in her book [Your Sleepless Baby] to be very useful.
Kate - Brisbane, Australia
My son turned 6 months old when I found out that he was not gaining enough weight. He was very distracted when I fed him, and didn't seem to enjoy eating at all. He would not let me hold him and would never finish a bottle. My daughter had similar problems when she was a baby, and I felt there must be something drastically wrong with the way I was taking care of my children. I desperately searched the Internet for help and found the Baby Care Advice website. I scheduled a consultation and after answering very detailed and specific questions about my son, I knew immediately that Rowena would be able to help me. Doctors never asked about my son's routine or behavior. The support and guidance Rowena provided everyday was priceless. She helped me to understand my son's needs and we established a daily routine to get his feeding and sleeping under control. Rowena helped me to feel better about myself as a parent and gave me the confidence I needed to ensure that my son is healthy and happy. Thank you, Rowena!
Joan - USA
Our little girl Aanya was born a petite baby at 3.1 Kgs. At about 2 months of age, Aanya developed a very strong feeding aversion. One look at the bottle or the bib and the usually cheerful baby would transform to a very fearsome one. She would cry, arch her back and push the bottle away. She would try to kick us away and there were many occasions when we had to physically restrain her lest she fall from our laps. Her volume of feed went down drastically and our already thin baby started losing weight. The doctors had no solution. They advised glucose supplements and starting solids early. But including them actually brought Aanya's feed volume to barely 350 mls per day.
At 4 months of age, our little daughter was having less milk than she was having as a newborn. We tried everything we could think of: different bottles, different formula, different cradling positions, walking while feeding her and even different milk temperatures. Nothing worked - my husband and I were at our wits' ends. I started having a lot of doubts on my ability as a mother. I loved my daughter but could not bear her anguish when she would sob bitterly after every feeding session. I started dreading feeding times more than Aanya was. I had no social life as I was scared to take her out. I could not relate to people who said that motherhood was a "glorious" time. It was at such a sad juncture that my husband and I stumbled on Rowena's website. We read a few of the testimonials. So there were other people who actually had gone through the same situation! We had tried everything, so thought why not give this a shot.
Rowena was very prompt in her response and I loved the way she was able to understand our situation. No one else had understood …or asked us questions as relevant as she had ...none of the doctors ... We started noticing a marked difference in Aanya's behaviour from the very next day of implementing Rowena’s program. There were no tears! Rowena was with us throughout the process and was guiding us all through . By day 5, Aanya was drinking volumes optimum to her age. She was actually pushing my hand away and was trying to grasp the bottle to feed herself! She was finishing her feed within 15 minutes, compared to the 90 minutes she was taking earlier. We feel that we are truly blessed to have met Rowena. She gave us our sanity back and most importantly… she gave us our cheerful daughter back.
Vineeta - Melbourne, Australia
My four month old son (corrected age) was born at 27 weeks, he spent four months in hospital being fed predominately through a feeding tube and later on with bottles as well. When he came home he was mostly feeding with a bottle and whatever he didn’t finish we’d put down his feeding tube. Four weeks after discharge our paediatrician told us it was time to remove the feeding tube and let him feed solely via bottle. This put a lot of pressure on us to make sure he was meeting his daily quota as he was never really good at finishing his bottles and we no longer had the feeding tube to rely on. Over time the pressure we felt to feed him his daily quota caused us to pressure him to feed. It got to a point where he would scream and cry every time he saw the bottle. The only time when I could feed him a decent amount was when he was half asleep.
We sought help from a speech pathologist but the ‘tips’ she gave us didn't work, the other suggestion was to see a dietitian, I knew that this was not really a solution to the problem. At this point I was truly at my wits end and desperate to find a solution as my son wasn’t gaining much weight. I came across Baby Care Advice website and read the testimonials. There were some similar stories so I decided to give it a go. I signed up and Rowena sent me a detailed questionnaire which I filled out, then she came up with a plan for us to try. The first three days after implementing her plan were by far the hardest but she was always available and quick to respond with advice and support. It took about a week and a half for his feeding aversion to be fully resolved and he was taking really good amounts, often even more than what the paediatrician had recommended! We couldn't believe it! ALSO in addition to resolving his feeding issues, after reading Rowena’s sleep book and trying one of the sleeping techniques he is now able to settle himself to sleep! Very little crying, no more rocking or pacifier to get to sleep. We feel like we have our lives back, it’s like we have a different baby. We really cannot thank Rowena enough.
Ashley - Sydney, Australia
We had difficulty feeding Rose from the beginning. She never nursed well (later we found out she had a tongue tie) and was resisting the bottle at 2 weeks of age. Now we think she was in pain from swallowing huge amounts of air due to her poor latch - her belly was so distended I thought I’d have to go up a diaper size right away. Also we now think she later developed a bottle aversion due to force feeding. But at the beginning we were convinced she was in pain from acid reflux. She would scream and cry at most feeds, arching her back and flailing her arms and legs. We’d pat her back until she finally shut down and took the bottle, often asleep. What a horrible way to feed a baby! My other two older children had always cried when hungry and liked to eat. Whoever heard of a baby who didn’t eat? I couldn’t read her cues and had no confidence Rose was able to regulate her calories. She seemed to want to sleep all the time and I had to wake her for most feeds.
By the time Rose was 1 ½ months old we had seen multiple heathcare providers for her feeding difficulties including our pediatrician, GI specialist, a nurse practitioner, lactation nurses, La Leche League, oral surgeon and a speech pathologist. Everyone had a different opinion from reflux to breast milk intolerance from something in my diet. No one would prescribe medicine for the reflux because of the side effects. I was told to power through her pain until 6 months when the reflux would get better. I was also told she had to have 2 oz in her every 2 hours or she’d lose weight and be hospitalized for “failure to thrive.” I was in a constant state of extreme anxiety - would she eat or wouldn’t she? The anxiety was so intense at times that I was barely functional. I prayed and prayed for a cure and my mom prayed every novena under the sun.
Sometimes Rose seemed to get better and then she’d revert back to resisting the bottle. Finally at 3 months I could only get milk into her by oral syringe and she was hospitalized for “failure to thrive/feeding aversion.” An N-G tube was inserted to feed her whatever she didn’t take orally. We did studies with barium and everything checked out ok with her structurally. We were told it might be months of therapy and I was being trained how to do the tube at home when she suddenly started doing better and was taking everything orally. We were sent home without the tube and with instructions not to force feed her and with some Pepcid (finally!) for reflux.
After a couple of weeks though she again started resisting the bottle. I was in a panic searching online for answers and stumbled across Rowena’s website. The testimonials exactly described our life with little Rose. We decided to contact Rowena and after a week on her plan Rose was willingly accepting milk, sometimes even excited to see a bottle. We whole heartedly recommend Rowena if you are suffering from a bottle aversion! She was a godsend and her plan really WORKS! She called us for the first consult and was available every day via email to give us advice and support. Thank you Rowena - we can finally enjoy our precious little baby without the constant worry!
Tina - Illinois, USA
Our 3 month old son started having feeding difficulties from the time he was a month old. It was very difficult to get him to complete his feeds. Over time, the situation simply deteriorated. His feed durations stretched up to 1-2 hours. We went to seek medical advice in the hopes of resolving his feeding difficulties. All we came away with were targets that we needed to hit for his daily milk consumption. We were told that if he didn't hit these targets, our son would end up being tube fed. This was upsetting to hear and made our situation worse. We felt even more stressed about getting him to finish his feeds. Our son would cry, arch his back, kick his legs or yell every time he saw the milk bottle. Soon, we were unable to feed him while he was awake and thus resorted to dream feeding him. This had the effect of making him more tired. We were really at our wits end and it felt like our lives revolved around just feeding our son.
We were lucky enough to stumble upon Rowena's website & the services that she provided. Within a few hours of sending her an e-mail, she got back to us and gave us a detailed questionnaire to fill in. Through this, Rowena got a comprehensive history of our son, our feeding practices and our difficulties. She then provided us with a programme to follow in order to change our son's feeding behaviour. Rowena was always on hand to guide us, answer our questions and address our concerns.
Within 4-5 days of implementing the program, our son started to accept the bottle while he was awake! He did not always finish his entire feed but he started consuming milk willingly. We never thought that this would be possible again. It was such a sense of relief. It has now been two weeks since we started the programme. Our son is consuming adequate volumes of milk. He still needs to be carried while being fed but this is something that we will be working on in the next few weeks. We are just so relieved to see him understand the need to feed from the bottle. He is putting on weight and growing well!
Rowena has most definitely given us back our lives and sanity. We feel so blessed to have found her. We owe her so much for helping us through this incredibly stressful period in our lives. We strongly recommend Rowena's services to any parents out there who have children with feeding difficulties.
Haresh - Singapore
Our 4 month old baby girl Myla developed a severe bottle aversion at 2.5 months old and we had to resort to feeding her SOLELY in her sleep, she would refuse the bottle awake every single time. Myla has been through various reflux diagnosis from multiple pediatricians where she has been on Omeprazole, Carobel (thickener) etc... her "reflux" got that bad to the point where one day she refused to eat awake so we resorted to sleep feeds as it seems harmless and she would willingly take milk while sleeping. This went on for 2 months where she would not take any of her feeds awake. We struggled to the point where the hospital suggested possible tube feeding if things got worse because her intake plummeted to around the 14oz mark. We even put her on higher calorie milk to get extra nutrients. As soon as Myla went over for a nap we lifted her and fed her during the day, night, anytime we could. We even set alarms to get up in our sleep to feed her. If she woke up while feeding she screamed so bad that sometimes she vomited her feed up. We were convinced Myla had developed a behavioural issue with the bottle and was afraid of it as she related it to pain. We had to disturb every single one of her naps to feed her making her very hungry and irritable.
We had no where to turn, we scoured the internet daily to find if anyone had successfully resolved a bottle aversion. This had taken over our lives and turned into a full time job to try and feed our baby girl. We didn't see friends, go out shopping etc... our lives were based in the house. We tried everything from changing bottles, teats, cups, milks and nothing worked. Then one day we came across Rowena's website. We started reading the testimonials and found one which was identical to our story (Bonita Osgood) and thought no way this can be true. Surely someone on the other side of the world can't resolve something so severe that even our top pediatricians couldn't resolve? So we decided what the heck, lets give it a shot, we have nothing to lose any more. We would do anything to avoid going down the tube feeding route which would break our hearts.
As soon as we emailed, Rowena got back to us the very same day, she asked us to fill in a detailed questionnaire which helped her build a profile of Myla and her experiences so far. The very next morning, Rowena had emailed us a full diagnosis of her view on Myla’s situation and a full plan of action on how to deal with it.
We started the plan that very same day and within in one day Myla’s bottle aversion had broken and she was feeding awake. This is the honest truth from the bottom of my heart. We were speechless and could not believe what was happening. She was initially strange with the bottle but was taking her feeds awake and she went from strength to strength. Rowena emailed us daily with encouragement and tips on how to progress further and further. By the end of the first week Myla’s intake had increased and she was so much more happy as she was very well slept (not having to lift her) and full of energy. Myla is still taking all her feeds awake and we can enjoy feeding her on our lap again, we never thought this would happen again. It's as if she never had any bottle issues before.
Thank you so much Rowena for all your help and guidance. We cannot express enough gratitude for the turnaround in our lives.
I urge you if you reading this to get in touch with Rowena. We don't know where we would be without her and our lives are so much happier now with Myla enjoying all her food. Please feel free to contact us directly if you want. email@example.com
Ruth - USA
Our 4 month old daughter started to refuse her bottle when she was 10 weeks old and after struggling on for 2 months and having contradictory advice from our health visitors/doctors (none of which managed to fix the problem), my husband and I were at our wits end - with things degenerating so much that she screamed every time she saw the bottle and refused to feed in any position (walking, sitting, etc) so we resorted to dream feeding her during every nap and still not reaching the milk intake targets set for us. This had the knock on effect of upsetting all her nap times so any routine we had totally disappeared. Within 24 hours of contacting Rowena and completing her online interview, she came back to us with her assessment and clear and comprehensive advice on how to rectify Jemima's feeding adversion. Throughout the following week Rowena was always on hand to answer my every query and concern (her knowledge far exceeded our local healthcare professionals) and adjust Jemima's program accordingly. Within a week (with Rowena's advice, support and encouragement) Jemima was no longer screaming at the bottle and was willingly taking milk. By week 2 we had settled into a routine that had Jemima consuming all her required milk at times that set her up ready to be weaned onto solids.
It is a month since we contacted Rowena, and Jemima now takes a full feed roughly every 4 hours and is even willing to sit on my lap and drink milk, something I thought would never happen again. Our correspondence with Rowena coincided with mornings getting lighter and being a winter baby and used to sleeping when it was dark and waking when it got light, Jemima started to move from waking at 6am to waking at 4am ready to play. A gain Rowena sprung to the rescue and advised us on how to shift Jemima's body clock to encourage her to wake closer to 6am. Again within a week we were making great progress and sleep was restored in the Osgood household. I wholeheartly recommend Rowena to anyone struggling with feeding their child (or having sleeping issues) and just wish that we had known her when Jemima's feeding adversion started to show itself rather than struggling on alone for 2 months. I will certainly be recommending her to all my friends.
Bonita - London, UK
God bless Rowena! I'm writing this testimony in hopes that you will contact Rowena without hesitation. I searched all over the net for help with my baby's eating problems and stumbled upon Rowena's website. I was skeptical at first but she seemed to have so much good information on the site that I emailed her. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful, caring, and knowledgeable Rowena is. After the first email, I decided to get her help. My son's pediatrician was wanting to send us to a specialist to have all kinds of tests run because my son had "reflux". This was diagnosed without any testing mind you. Anyway, we were at our wits end not knowing what to do.
Our son was born 3 months premature weighing only 1 pound 5 oz. but was completely healthy. After going through 3 months in the NICU it was very difficult to even think of going against what the doctor was saying. At 9 months (corrected age 6 months) he developed an ear infection. The doctors suspected this was due to reflux. They wanted us to give him reflux medication which seemed to be making things worse but they wouldn't hear of that and kept insisting that he needed the meds. Soon after we started the medications he would scream and refuse to take his bottle -- he'd go an entire 24 hours only eating 5 oz. of formula. I was so worried.
Rowena was so great, she provided a tremendous amount of information and asked many, many specific questions about my son so much more than any of the doctors that we'd seen. She devised two separate plans which allowed ME to choose which one would work better for my son and our situation. And then she followed up -- truly concerned about how he was doing. I don't know what I would have done without her guidance. If you are reading this, you obviously are having some trouble that Rowena will be able to help you with. Take the leap of faith - you won't be disappointed!
Angel - From Eunice. Louisiana, USA
5mths ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was so happy when I finally gave birth following fertility treatment. Everything was going so well with my daughter up until feeding times. She is bottle fed and would scream and cry at every feed. I was beginning to dread her next feed as she was so upset. I felt so anxious that I did not know what was upsetting my baby so much, and a failure that I couldn't feed her properly. She would tense up and scream after even just one ounce. After contacting my own health visitors who said I'd just have to persevere with her, I felt so alone. I had spent so much money on different bottles and teats, determined that "this one will work", thinking it must be the equipment I was using.
I searched the Internet one night after 2 months of my baby fussing every feed. I found Rowena and I contacted her. Contacting a complete stranger I wasn't even sure how they could help. After only one day, Rowena e-mailed me back in a friendly, professional manner, and straight away I sensed she would help me. She asked detailed questions, specific to my baby's routine and behaviour. I knew her help would be personalised to my daughter and not just general advice. I followed Rowena's routine, where she noted that my daughter was not sleeping enough during the day, making her too tired and upset some days to take her bottles. I followed this advice along with others of Rowena's suggestions for my daughter and the very next day, she took her feed without any fussing at all. With more sleep she continue fed fuss free and was generally a much happier baby. I even felt I could get out as much as I liked without having to worry and be anxious about feeding her in public.
I am so grateful for a complete stranger taking an interest in my problems. It has made such a difference to the important first few months with my baby. Rowena even e-mailed me regularly so make sure everything was still going ok. I will always be grateful to her for her kindness.
Angela - From Glasgow, UK