Jan 15, 2009

What's a toddler eat?

Ok ladies, I need your help. All this time, we've been feeding Addyson formula through her g-tube. New plan: offer her a meal typical of what a "normal" 20 month old should be eating. What isn't consumed goes in the blender and then "fed" to her in the g-tube. Ok, so since I've not had to be a "normal" mom before I have NO CLUE what a "normal" 20 month old should be eating. Types of food, meal suggestions for a complete diet, and amounts or serving sizes. Keeping in mind she weighs just under 20 lbs. She probably won't actually be able to "eat" any of the food due to severe oral aversion, which is why she is g-tube fed to begin with. This is mostly for practice and soon enough, maybe she'll get the hang of it! I'd love to stay away from pre-packaged "toddler" meals as much as possible, creating meals from scratch or utilizing the same foods my husband and I are eating. I've been doing some research, but it seems that this is one of those things that should come naturally as your child grows from a baby to a toddler. I missed out on that and now have to learn immediately. Please please please help me!!! (She'll still be getting a full nutritionally balanced diet because she'll still be getting a formula too, but the more balanced the food, the better!)


JessieLeigh said...

I wouldn't worry too much about serving sizes at this point-- just offer her a few bites of several different foods. You don't want to overwhelm her or waste food! And, since she will probably feel a little "full" because of the formula, it's likely her appetite will be pretty small to start.

Definitely offer her bites of what you and your husband are having for your meals-- rice, small (or cut up) pasta, bites of toast or potato are all good choices. Let her try small bites of (well-cooked) veggies and meats-- diced ham, chicken, and even fish are usually easy enough for toddlers to handle.

I think it's important to offer lots of different textures. Some of the first things our occupational therapist offered C. were graham crackers and cheese puffs (believe it or not!). Both essentially "melt" even if they don't have chewing and swallowing down yet.

Easy (and often popular) choices for toddlers include: diced cheese, cheerios, banana, small crackers, scrambled egg, cereal bars, and cut up berries or grapes.

C. detested baby food and "toddler meals" but did great with table foods. Good luck and congrats on this milestone!!!

Ryann said...

Thanks for your help. I guess the reason for my need to know serving sizes... what she doesn't eat will be put in the blender and given to her through the g-tube, so I don't want to give her too much.

Addy has been offered food multiple times a day for over a year now and she still won't keep food in her mouth or swallow. We've had the best luck with natural cheetos. We've just always offered a cheeto or a cookie or a few pieces of cereal as not to waste it. Since it'll be part of her meal plan though, we need to be offering more complete toddler meals now.

I love the suggestion of diced cheese, scrambled egg, cereal bars... etc. I think these will be added to our list as well as the others you suggested.

Thanks so much for all your support!

JessieLeigh said...

Oh gosh, I hadn't even thought about the tube feeding when I was typing that up...

Honestly, I think the doctors should give you some guidelines in that case... e.g. how many ounces blended she should be getting for each meal... or how many total calories she should receive.

I can see why portion becomes more critical for you!

Tara aka "Mama Koala" said...

Bananas and avacado have been a couple of my son's favorite! I hope it goes well.

Heather Benza said...

My son just turned 2 years old and is 22 pounds. He eats portions so small sometimes it seems it can't possibly sustain human life. Other times he eats practically an adult portion! Given his druthers he would live on banana, cheese and meat and pasta with red sauce. But he actually hated banana for a long time. For your family's convenience it's probably best to offer your toddler a little of everything you are eating, so you don't start the precedent of "special" meals for any one eater. Of course any special dietary needs must be taken into consideration. My son started out with scrambled eggs (about half of one) seasoned with garlic powder and "healthy heart" spice mixture--the grandmas were a little neurotic but unless your child medically needs it, no need to make them eat bland tasteless yucky food--the goal is to entice her right? One of the first foods he gobbled with relish was fresh blueberries----I cut them into about 16 pieces at first, maybe overkill. He loved raspberries until he tasted a really sweet strawberry then he never went back to the tarter berries. Noodles with butter and Parmesan cheese. diced carrots (cooked), broccoli, peas and grean beans are sometimes acceptable to my son. He will try essentially everything I give him--even brussel sprouts---he just doesn't always swallow. I recently discovered he loves raisins. A small portion of your meal helps minimize waste too.

Also I just stumbled upon the RSV post from J.L. it's probably too late in the season to matter but we used a home infusion company to get synagis so we did not have to go into the hospital. An added benefit was that it only cost a co-pay ($20 per) whereas the children's hospital was going to charge $1000 for our out of pocket on the first dose which would increase as his weight increased.

Good Luck with the transition to eating solids-----and don't feel bad about being behind the curve, I think all of us first time parents with preemies are not up to speed on "normal" milestones.