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Wits’ end – 13m/o with TT pouches food, gags, vomits, goes to bed hungry, then wakes starving at 5am

(14 Posts)
BearintheBigBlueHouse Tue 16-Nov-04 17:37:14

DS has always been a less keen eater than his elder sister was ( I know I shouldn’t compare), but we’ve been trying to increase the lumpiness for months now with little success. He just stores the lumps in his cheeks and then either spits them out or gags on them and the whole meal reappears. I’m doing my best to stay calm, but as this leads to me having to get up with him (screaming and starving) between 5 and 5.30am, the sleep deprivation is really sapping my patience. When he wakes, he drains a bottle of milk like a yard of ale.

Finger foods are similarly difficult. When he does manage to bite a bit off, if it doesn’t dissolve immediately, it causes the same problem. I don’t want to hamper his development, but am thinking for everyone’s sanity I might have to go back to liquidising everything.

He has a tongue tie which our GP glibly said should stretch and sort itself out in the first 12 months or so. He can get his tongue to his front teeth now, but I’m worried it’s the TT that’s stopping him from getting lumpy stuff to the back of his mouth to swallow, leading to all the problems. Does anyone have any experience of this or useful tips. I know the TT snip is as widely frowned upon as recommended, but can it be done at this age (and is it)? BTW he didn’t have any trouble breast feeding.

coppertop Tue 16-Nov-04 18:23:57

No experience of TT but lots of sympathy. My ds1 also hated lumpy food and did the hamster pouch storage thing too. We spent many nights creeping into his room in the dark trying to scoop it out because he wouldn't spit it out. Ds2 just chews it for a few moments and then spits it out on the carpet. Theirs was/is because their mouths are very sensitive. It's sooo frustrating.

In your position I would be tempted to take ds back to the doctor to find out if the TT is the cause and to ask what happens next. From the sounds of things you can't carry on like this for much longer.

Millie1 Tue 16-Nov-04 22:07:23

Bear ... I've got no advice but am sooo interested in your post cos our DS2 who is now 11 mths has a tt (reaches his bottom lip at most but to me it 'humps' in the middle although doesn't cake food on roof of mouth and both GP and dentist have said it isn't bad). Anyway, over the last what, 2 mths, he has started to gag and bring meals up ... give him one spoonful too many and the whole darn lot reappears. He started off great on solids but now I'm making them less lumpy to try and avoid him bringing a meal up. He has no problem chewing them and doesn't hold onto them but it's as if when they hit the back of his mouth/throat they often cause his to gag. Also, don't know if you have this problem, but when DS2 goes to bed if he doesn't want to sleep we can't let him cry at all cos he'll just vomit - say 5/10 mins crying or giving out and it's enough to bring it up. I'm b'feeding too and to a large extent we haven't had any problems but sometimes he latches on, gags and ... you've guessed it.

Amongst my many theories are that he just has a really strong gagging reflex or the tt is causing the gagging or maybe he had hidden reflux as a baby and has a weak flap on his oesphagus (?sp). I've had him with the GP twice - one thought his tonsils were a bit swollen and gave him medication but it made no difference, the other told me to have him weighed now and then in a few weeks and to see what his weight's doing. When I had him weighed he was only up 2lb from 20w ago but don't know if that was due to him not putting it on or it going on and falling off. Will bring him back in a few weeks to get checked again.

So, sorry but I can't help you and have now off-loaded my own problems but I can really empathise re seeing an entire meal land back in his lap and the early wakenings (I'm up x3 each night and am just beyond wrecked).

I'm going to watch this thread now to see what advice you might get!

BearintheBigBlueHouse Thu 18-Nov-04 20:24:31

Thanks guys.

Going to the surgery tomorrow anyway, so will take up with the HV/practice nurse. Don't think his weight is suffering so he must be getting enough, somehow. Another worry is that the TT will lead to other problems like bad dental hygiene if we don't get someone to have another look. Anyway, we'll see what is said tomorrow.

He woke several times last night, but managed to get back over which is rare, so while I was woken, I didn't have to get up - bonus. But I guess tonight normal service will be resumed.

Hope things get better for you both soon.

Lonelymum Thu 18-Nov-04 20:41:21

Don't know anything about TT but my 21 month old still won't eat some food cut into small pieces so I sometimes roughly blend it (not totally liquid). I don't think it matters as long as he eats some things which require chewing. I realise your son doesn't even do that, bt he is a lot younger than mine. I always think it is a waste of time when ds eats peas and they come out the other end exactly as they went in. He can't have got any goodness from that, can he? Perhaps some things are better off blended.

NatureDoc Fri 19-Nov-04 17:07:24

There is a place in Southampton who do the operation - sorry no more info than that. A friend had her son's tongue done when he was only a few weeks old.

Millie1 Sat 20-Nov-04 16:58:12

Bear, just wondering how you got on yesterday and whether you got any useful advice from HV/Nurse?

Eulalia Sat 20-Nov-04 17:46:09

No experience of this but I did see a prog on telly about a child of around 3 who ate nothing but jaffa cakes and crisps (he would let the crisps dissolve in his mouth) and that was about it. he had to have special fortified drinks. Turned out he had a problem swallowing and wasn't being naughty (as was expected). I think the problem was that the child learned that a bad experience happened with solid food and he started to associate eating with pain and anger from his mother.

I know yours is different case but I think I'd be tempted to stick with softer food as he is still quite young (I know HVs bang on about their milestones) and you need your sleep. At least get him enjoying different tastes for the moment. How does he like soup? What about mushy banana blended into yoghurt. Mashed avocado is very easy to eat and is packed full of nutrients.

I used to puree things for my autistic ds who had a thing about lumps for years and then finally age about 4 he just started eating solid food like whole carrots, apples, broad beans etc.

Good luck

BearintheBigBlueHouse Sun 21-Nov-04 22:18:59

Hey again, am grateful for your responses and concerns. Saw HV and a different GP on Friday neither of whom had experienced a TT causing gagging etc and both of whom were a bit flummoxed by DS. His weight and general development don't suggest that he's misssing nutrients. The GP was interested in whether he could drink liquids OK (which he can) as it's harder to coordinate muscles and tongue etc when swallowing liquids than solids.

We're to keep a close eye and go back in 4 weeks and then 4 weeks after that again - at least it's good we're being taken

DS hasn't gagged and thrown up since Friday, but has let us know forcibly when he doesn't want any more (generally way before we think he should have had enough) and he laughs in our faces when we suggest he tries some toast, however warm buttery and soggy. But that's not the end of the world.

Bananas - he had one last week, thought for a bit and since then has refused resolutely. Avos - go through him quicker than a very quick thing and, as such, are largely avoided. He has, however, taken to Petit Filous, which I guess are a step up from runny, so must be some kind of progress.

The GP had a good look at DS's throat and said he had slightly inflamed tonsils and this may have had something to do with his waking - but I find it hard to believe that he's had this for weeks and weeks.

Anyway, spookily, he slept through most of Friday night (DS not the GP) and again last night - although I did wake this morning to find the parent end of the monitor stuffed under my pillow and I had no recollection of putting it there (and I'm on the wagon). But every silver lining.......he's cutting at least 4 teeth at the minute, so Calpol and Nurofen are top of the wine list, the nappies are atrocious and we're braced for a noisy night.

I guess the interim conclusion is that we're to keep trying with different consistencies and foods and give it more time - obviously I'd rather avoid any surgery requiring a general - so I'm happy to go along with it and keep the sick bowl on the dinner table for now (and after what Eulalia said, I'm going to try my very, very hardest not to get at all irked when the puke hits the bib/highchair/floor/wall/primarycaregiver). And the Magimix is going to earn its keep.

Will report back with any breakthroughs. Millie, really hope DS2 sorts himself out soon.

Millie1 Tue 23-Nov-04 21:27:23

Bear - thanks for the update and glad to hear you've had a few vomit-free days. Interesting info and advice. We'd a very vomity day on Sunday .... entire dinner (must've gagged on a piece of pasta he was chewing on) and then 2 hrs later a huge milk feed ... 10 mins later as we scrubbed carpet and bedclothes, both DS's were laughing and giggling on the landing - kids!! Anyway, I digress cos apart from trying to get DS2 to eat only things he's really fond of at the moment, he too waves your hand away when there's no way he's had enough to eat ... what's working for us (today at least!) is giving him his own spoon to dip in the bowl ... keeps him occupied whilst I fill him up.

Anyway, good luck for the next few weeks.

BearintheBigBlueHouse Thu 27-Jan-05 15:39:27

Millie and others - an update - DS was just the same over Christmas and into January. However he got ill a couple of weeks ago - D&V which got quite bad and lasted over 7 days. Since then he's been voraciously hungry, wanting more milk all the time, snacking (which never interested him before) and, wait for it, eating lumps!

He gets near the end of his main course now before he realises that he "should" be pouching and gagging - what a tinker. It looks like it was psychological all along. Maybe it started with TT difficulties and he couldn't get past that, but now he will eat diced veg and crusts and many of the things he couldn't cope with before. We're still going very carefully, but we all feel much happier about the situation. Our GP has been great - taking us seriously and giving us time and attention, when he easily could have sent us packing.

He (DS not the GP) now sleeps through until 7 about 4 or 5 nights out of 7!! Which is bliss for all concerned. If he wasn't teething big time at the minute, we would think someone had swapped him!

Hope your DS2 is making similar improvements Millie.

Kayleigh Thu 27-Jan-05 15:46:01

Have just seen this thread, didn't spot it first time around. Just to say my 3.5 year old had TT and we saw a specialist when he was a year or so old and a speech therapist (she is a relative) when he was around two and made a decision not to do anything. He is now 3.5 and apart from not being able to stick his tongue out as far as his brother we have noticed no ill effects.

Am glad the eating and sleeping has improved for you

Millie1 Thu 27-Jan-05 22:32:17

Bear - that's brilliant news that he's doing so well - such a relief for you all. We've had a huge improvement too and like you, I think it was psychological. DS2 will still gag if he swallows something big but only brings that piece of food back into his mouth. He too has started sleeping better and we've had several nights of him going through til 6am or so - bliss ... except he's got a cold now and back to the old habits.

Great news.

alison222 Thu 27-Jan-05 22:50:16

I too have just noticed this thread. My DS has TT and gagged on lumps for what seemed like forever.
I BF and he was a big baby who put on tonees of wtihg all the time. He constantly brought up milk from one feed to the next (mega-posseting) rather than whole meals) then with food if he had to much or gagged, the whole meal would come up.
AT about 16 months we got referred to an ENT person at the hospital. They said the TT was not severe.
By then he was eating finger food, but I still had to mash vegetables roughtly and chop meat v.v finely. Now he eats normal food!!!
I was told not to worry about the TT but if he ever had to have an operation for anything else to get it snipped at the same time.
HE is now 4, can vomit almost on demand, by gagging or crying excessively - like millie 10 mins is enough to change the bed, but now he understands and makes huge efforts not to be sick.
No real help I'm afraid, but lots of sympathy and just to let you know there is light at the end of the tunnel

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