20 July 2011

Results of the Swallow Study

Well, we now have proof.  Our little guy is a champ at swallowing.  Any refusals or coughing after fluids is due to a learned behavior, not due to pain.

Bennett did a *fabulous* job during the swallow study this morning.   The study consisted of Bennett sitting in a special seat near the Xray machine and my feeding him several familiar food textures mixed with barium.

Since we feed Bennett using a special protocol, it was super easy for me to get Bennett to eat in an unfamiliar situation.  It was like I was able to almost charm him to eat.  I found myself incredibly patient during a very stressful situation (something I'm used to since I've been trained to not be excitable, even during refusals). 

I just put the spoon in front of him, fully confident that one way or the other he would eventually eat (he always does).  He began to cry, fearful of the surroundings and of the people standing around.  But I comforted him and refocused him with a reward for eating.  (I had forgotten to bring any toys with me but I remembered, from previous visits to the Radiology Department, that, thankfully, the staff had a plethora stickers.) 

It took just a few Thomas the Train stickers to get Bennett to eat up.  I offered him chocolate milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast (what he normally drinks) and water - each separately mixed with barium.  Then, I offered him pureed Mac and Cheese with barium.  Lastly, I gave him a bite of a Nutrigrain bar with barium spread across it like peanut butter.  I'm pretty sure (although not fully sure) that barium is nasty.  So, I was quite impressed he ate so well.  Barium looks a bit like office White-Out.  It makes your lips look like you've just enjoyed a big bottle of White-Out...and it comes out the other side decorating your poo in all white, as well.

Nonetheless, Bennett's cooperation gave us excellent results, results we can be confident in.  In the room with us was a Radiologist, a Radiology Tech and a Speech Therapist.  It was the Radiologist who was able to confirm our results.  But it was the speech therapist who explained to me what happened.  Basically, she explained that his swallows looked absolutely normal and nothing seemed even a bit concerning (although she did find his 5ml sips to be SO LITTLE!).

After our Swallow Study appointment, we ran by the Pediatrician's office to get our weekly check on Bennett's weight.  It turns out he weighs 26lbs, 8oz up from 25lbs, 10oz from two weeks ago, which is good. 

So, good news all around.  I'm really happy we don't have to stress out about the drinking thing.  Now, we know with confidence he just has to learn how to drink more at a time.  We will continue to encourage his drinking between meals and offer Chocolate Milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast every 4 bites during his feeding protocol.    Little guy isn't getting out of drinking anymore any time soon!


  1. So glad that the swallow study went well and now Bennett can drink lots! I am sure this is against what you were taught at Baylor but could you offer him water? Madeline refuses to drink anything other than water. She was CHUG water though. It is sooo frustrating but she has been like this forever. We have tried diffeent sippy cups, straw cups, etc. She LOVES the water more than anything. We have flavored milk, tried every juice and juicebox imagineable. It is and was a lost cause. We manage to get all her calories in via food instead. Congrats on his weight gain!

  2. Wow, that's great to hear! That is amazing how much both you and Bennett have accomplished, and how awesome it is that you were able to get him to eat and refocus even in a scary, new environment. Fantastic!


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