May 7, 2008

Ainsley Drinking From a Bottle

Yesterday I was talking to Ainsley's speech therapist about how Ainsley's tongue has been moving so much more, especially when she's wearing the PMV. It's a curious thing and who knows why or what it means. I like to analyze things but even I get frustrated trying to figure it out. But it did lead to discussion of oral motor skills and feeding and the part that the tongue plays in both speech and eating. And got me thinking...

I've often wondered if it might make more sense to focus on bottle feeding before learning to use a sippy cup and eat baby food. I know society says that once a child reaches a certain age they should be using a cup. But is that more for our comfort or the ease of the child? The therapist has told me she's past the age of using a bottle. But I think a sippy cup is harder to draw from and requires stronger lip closure. And perhaps one must progress through the stages of eating because one skill builds upon another. That the bottle is easiest to control and mastery of that control is essential to moving to the next stage of being able to move food around in your mouth. Perhaps Ainsley has not been developmentally ready. She is only now just starting to be able to move her tongue around and I've recently learned that tongue "lateralization" is key to being able to move food around in your mouth. So it makes sense that if she was having trouble controlling the food that she would not do well. Perhaps as she makes gains with motor skills she will also do better with drinking and eating . So much is unknown about what she will be capable of because of her cerebellum.

So as a result of this conversation I decided to give the bottle a try again and she did surprisingly well. She was doing even better before I pulled out the camera, as often happens with kids, but I still got a little good video footage. I'm wondering if giving her practice with the bottle could help by giving her more opportunities to practice controlling fluid in her mouth and the timing required for swallowing. I think sucking from the bottle also might help her with tongue movement and controlling the urge to gag when the tongue raises in the back of the mouth. Water seems like the best choice since we know that as the swelling diminishes she will aspirate based on the FEES and swallow studies. So this was yesterday.

Today while I was trying to type this post I tried again. Today, not so hot with the bottle. Such is life with Ainsley. Confusing. Frustrating. Always changing. Never knowing what to expect.


  1. Good girl Ainsley!! I would use your Mom instincts as they are usually right. Things happen in stages such as crawling before walking. Who cares that at Ainsley's real age she should be past the bottle. She's never had the chance to try. Go for it!! Little steps make big strides. My little angel is sooooo cute!!

  2. Wow! It looks like she likes it! I have heard that the PMV helps a child swallow better. I hope she continues to improve. You may want to color the water so you know the second she aspirates (if she does)


  3. What a big girl! I have seen older kids using bottles all the time, and most of them were not even special needs! I say go for it, if she likes the bottle keep trying. What an amazing job she did. And what a cutie to watch. Good luck!