Eliza Grace was born on March 15, 2006, at 26 weeks, 4 days, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces and measuring just 11.5 inches long. She is the light of my soul and this is the story of our life in the big city.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Calorie Wars

While most of America struggles to cut calories, I struggle to add calories to Eliza's diet. Thanks to some very thoughtful friends, I now have a recipe for yogurt soup and may actually learn to fry tofu. Eliza's feeding therapy and OT has resulted in some new experiences for her this week. She has decided that licking/biting (but not eating)extra crispy KFC is a good thing and she has a bit of an affection for duck sauce. Not much in the way of "good" calories but I'll take it. One theory is that this interest in KFC and duck sauce is evidence of the addictive qualities of MSG.

After much anticipation, Eliza's new formula has arrived along with a calorie supplement which is an oily/creamy liquid that packs 300 calories into 1.5 ounces. Although the stuff has no taste, it has a nasty, slippery feel to it. My attempt to ingest it (not that I need the 300 calories) resulted in a gag-fest, but guess who seems to think it's just great?! So in one fell swoop Eliza has gone from taking in 650 to 800 calories a day to 1000 to 1200 just by adding this muck to her formula and her yogurt. Now that I know she is getting the calories maybe we can work a bit more on getting her to actually eat some food.

Eliza seems quite interested in watching everyone else eat, particularly other kids. I can't quite figure out her expression, but it is part curiosity and part shock that anyone would willingly put mashed bananas in their mouth. I cannot imagine what is going on in her little head, but she is definitely trying to puzzle through this.

In addition to speech-feeding therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and a sensory gym, the suggestion has been made to try cranial sacral-therapy. As best as I can decipher this therapy involves the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid and that somehow getting this to flow right will result in improved feeding. A few months back I was a serious Doubting Thomas on the Wilbarger Brushing and Joint Compression Protocol, until of course it seemed to work to at least get Eliza to tolerate yogurt, but I have to admit that the cranial- sacral therapy may be a stretch for me (unless of course it works).

On a positive note, this week Eliza has learned to climb onto the couch. Her planning skills are impressive since in order to get up on the couch she must first get a pile of books, put them next to the coffee table, and then go from the coffee table to the couch. Now if she could only remember how to turn and slide off the couch we'd be home free! Until she masters that skill I'll keep the plastic surgeon on speed dial.

Photo: Eliza Grace in Central Park September 2007


abby said...

Funny you should mention the Cranial-Sacral stuff. We actually were desperate ourselves back in June or July and tried this with Hallie (she was in her 14 week snotfest at that point). It might have worked (who knows?) except that she would not let the very nice C-S specialist (an acupuncturist too) get near her mouth and hardly let her touch the outside of her head. Our C-S person had actually managed to help another kid with his/her feeding, but sadly, not Hallie. Still, I wonder whether things might have worked had Hallie not been so damned congested. Anyway, I hope this works for you! And I love Eliza's planning skills--very cool (plastic surgery potentially frightening though!)

Ashley said...


what's the 300 cal supplement (i know you from preemie blog moms)? we're taking our TINY one to the GI tomorrow - any chance you can email me with the name of the supplement so i can ask him about it?


Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...

The supplement is called Benecalories and has 300 calories per 1.5 ounce liquid container. Nasty stuff but hopefully it's effective, we'll see soon enough.

Rebecca said...

That 300 cal stuff sounds like a miracle in a can! I hope it works for you, it'd be a huge weight off your mind to know Eliza was taking enough calories.

Bec, Erin's mum.

abby said...

Hey Anne,

Is the benecalories supplement still working? We just took Hallie in to the pediatrician because she's developed another ear infection (she gets 'em from the source, her cousin who specializes in ear infections). Turns out that she's lost a bunch of weight over the past two weeks---perhaps as much as a half pound (last weigh-in was on a different scale that runs heavy, but still). So our new more laid back approach to eating is now a thing of the past and we'll start out by trying to just add in more calories through food but if that doesn't work, we need a plan b since we can't return to the evil 3-4am bottle and given how well she's doing otherwise, I refuse to contemplate a g tube. Anyway, update if you get a chance!

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...

I am not sure yet if the Benecaloroes is working since Eliza hasn't been back to the doctor for a weigh in yet and trying to weigh her on the scale here never works out right.

That said, I assume it has to be doing something. It is not as easy to add to formula as the GI implied it would be, then again he has never had to do this I suppose. You basically can add no more than .5 ounuces (or 1/3 of a container) to 8 ounces of formula. It gets a bit thick and you may have to use a Y or number 4 nipple. I've been mixing up a batch of 24 ounces at a time. It does not seem to effect the taste and Eliza has not rejected it.

It alson mixes pretty well with yogurt and bananas, again about 1/3 or .5 ounces to a container of yogurt or bananas, etc. If you leave the yogurt/puree in the fridge after you have mixed it, you do have to stir it up pretty well again to mix it up, otherwise it looks kind of disgusting, like rancid butter or some such thing. She does not seem to notice that it is in the yogurt or puree either. 1/3 of a container adds 100 calories, so at the rate Eliza is eating/drinking she gets about an extra 300 to 400 calories a day. She also does not seem to mind the Resource Just for Kids 1.5 calorie formula either.

I'll keep you posted on how she does with it. However, we were just away for 4 days and she ate absolultely nothing ... 2 yogurts in 4 days and about 16 ounces of formula a day. Not good. I have no idea how she is functioning and I can only hope that the Benecalories may have made up for a lack of volume.