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.
My son Rohan was born 2 months early. He weighed only 2.5 lbs. He was in hospital for 4.5 weeks & during his time in hospital he was fed via an NG tube. Rohan did come home & was feeding orally, however he was suffering from severe reflux. Eventually at 4 months of age he developed a severe aversion to the bottle. He completely 'shut down' & refused to take the bottle. We ended back in hospital & after a 2 week stay Rohan came home with an NG tube as this was the only way we could get milk down him & keep him hydrated.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
My son Cody has always been a fussy eater. We struggled with nursing, and then with bottle feeding when he was a few months old -- it just always felt like a struggle to get him to drink enough. When Cody was 6 months old, I found Rowena and Baby Care Advice, and she helped us to understand that Cody's fussy eating was behavioral and a response to the pressure we were putting on him to eat, and could be easily improved by following a plan she laid out for us. After a few days, we had a different baby.
After Cody transitioned over to solid foods at a year old, we started having some of the same troubles we had with bottle feeding. Every meal felt like a struggle; it seemed like he would only eat a few bites at a time, and I was resorting to using toys and books to distract him while spooning baby food into his mouth. Again we went back to Rowena for advice. After answering a detailed questionnaire about Cody's behavior and qualities, Rowena again laid out an easy-to-follow plan that has led to a much more peaceful mealtimes in our house. Cody is now on a manageable feeding schedule (instead of us trying to sneak food into his mouth all day long) and is usually happy in his high-chair. We are so thankful to have this resource for solving these babyhood problems! These are issues that our pediatrician just hasn't been equipped to help us with.
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.
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. P lease feel free to contact us directly if you want. firstname.lastname@example.org