Sunday, 24 July 2011

Difficulties drinking

Seth gets stressed by drinking. He'll ask for a drink (or at least we're interpreting what he's doing as asking for a drink) but then will tense up and lock his jaw together when you try to give it to him. I know the obvious conclusion to this might be that he didn't want the drink in the first place but sometimes he'll open his mouth for the drink and then still tense up and then his teeth refuse to open to release the spout. Plus the behaviour we're interpreting is Seth putting his hands in his mouth and sucking on them so it's pretty clear that he's asking for a drink. This tensing involves tightening his belly and bringing his knees up; like he's doing a crunch/sit up, and he'll ball his hands into tight fists and shove them into his lower stomach. He does this when he's in pain or when he wants a nap and I haven't realised and taken him to bed and he does it 90% of the time I try to give him a drink. Yet other times he'll drink perfectly well, downing almost a bottle/cup in one go. In the last couple of weeks he'll even use his hands to nudge the bottle/cup to his mouth whilst I hold the handles. So he can definitely cope with swallowing the liquid and obviously enjoys the taste.

We'd moved on from normal bottles, to the bottles with teats that you have to bite to release the flow. Then I'd finally moved Seth onto cups that work the same way. I've actually bought and tried so many different types of cups when I was trying to encourage Seth from using a bottle that now I've got a bit of a phobia to trying new ones. One friend gave me a cup that releases just a few ml of liquid at a time but the spout is hard moulded plastic and Seth freaked out when I tried him with these before and so I'm ashamed to say I haven't even tried him with it. Another friend recently gave me a cup that has no spout but allows liquid to flow from any part of the rim, when sucked. I did actually try that once but most of the drink just ran down Seth's face so that's been consigned to the cupboard as well, for now.

I've finally accepted that it's more important that Seth gets drink inside him, especially with his constipation, than it is for him to be able to drink from a cup. So, we've reverted to the bottles. He still stresses with these sometimes but it's much less frequent. & if he does stress then he usually calms down and drinks pretty quickly. We were recommended to use a thickener in his drinks because Seth tended to cough when he drank and we used that for a while. We stopped though when Seth began drinking fine without the cough - we took this to mean he had learnt to swallow properly. & he didn't used to get stressed by drinking, this is something that has developed and gradually got worse over the last 6 months or so. I did ask to speak with a Speech & Language Therapist who specialised in eating & drinking but she was too busy to see us last term. So now I have to wait til September, hopefully she's be worth the wait!