Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Get-out-of-guilt free pass

Max has always loved to eat, from the first time we gave him food (pureed peas) to the ravioli he downed with gusto tonight. But it's never been easy for him. Those pureed peas wouldn't stay in his mouth; he had trouble moving his tongue, and he'd end up thrusting food back out. I remember being so surprised—I never imagined eating could be a challenge. Meals could take a good hour, hour and a half.

Early on, a speech therapist recommended food thickener, flavorless powdered starch that could instantly thicken up liquids or foods. I never bought it, and I'm not sure why. Probably because it was just another thing to do, and we already had a lot on our list. Probably because I thought/hoped Max would outgrow his eating challenges. Probably denial.

Max has gotten better at food retention, as it's called, but liquids are a serious challenge. They dribble right out of his mouth and soak his clothing.

Last month, a speech therapist sent home a can of this stuff (I think Andy Warhol would have been proud of this shot):

And, wow. It really is like magic. I put several tablespoons into Max's chocolate milk, and he was easily able to spoon it up. We've been using it regularly ever since, even in stuff like ravioli, and it's made eating so much easier for him.

I guess I could beat myself up for not trying it sooner. But I'm not going there.


  1. Hurray for things that work - no matter when you begin using them.

  2. The picture makes that stuff look like a paint can.

  3. I had a roommate getting her masters in sppech path several years ago. She was doing an internship in a nursing home focusing mostly on feeding therapy so she decided to bring some home and try it so she could tell people what it's like. She put some in a can of coke. You should have seen the look on her face. I'm glad Max likes it. She thought it was nasty...

  4. Am I a pervert for thinking the name of the product is funny? I want to make jokes like "Thick and easy- just like I like my men!"?

    Anyway, is this essentially corn starch? My dad loves using corn starch for thickening up his sauces, especially chinese style sauvces - he says that's what they use in restaurants.

  5. You tried it. It worked. Hooray!!

    Why focus on anything else? I want you to go back and read the post about our kids being lucky to have US, okay? :)

  6. Glad it's working for Max! Liquids are Isaiah's nemeses as well. We might have to give it a shot!

  7. Does it add calories? My little munchkin is an eater, but a picky one, and we are always looking for ways for her to bulk up . . . adding olive oil to things, etc.

  8. We have Duocal to add calories to food or beverages (check it out Momttorney.) But the only thickener we have used is Simply Thick for liquids. Glad it worked well for you and Max likes it.

  9. We use simply thick. Its a gel that comes in packets. Super convenient! We tried the thick and easy but I could never get it the right consistency. It always ended up being way too thick. Glad its working for you though!

  10. Good for you! Moving onto even better eating for Max. Barbara

  11. I agree with pixiemama! If it works, great! Of course, Max might prefer you thicken everything with chocolate ice cream in a blender, but oh well!

    I am curious as to what it is, too--corn starch, like Danielle said? (Too funny about the name comment, there!) or something else? Potato starch? Hormel are the ham guys--when I think Hormel, I think ham!

  12. Danielle: If you're a perv, I'm a perv because I've been thinking it's a suggestive name, too!

    This stuff is really just corn starch with one other additive, so I wonder if I could just use corn starch? It doesn't add a whole lot of calories, just 15 a tablespoon.

    C: We are still in the experimental stage, so I'm going to look into Simply Thick.

    And, yeah, hooray it worked.

  13. I am a developmental specialist in Early Intervention and also a mom of a child with PDD. I love this blog because it makes me feel better about the times that I didn't follow through with EVERY suggestion for the same reasons (overwhelmed, in denial, just plain hoped it would go away.)

    I also forwarded to all of my therapist friends to help them understand the perspective of a parent.


Thanks for sharing!

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