My journey was a trying one. I do believe in the end, there is always a gift. For me, indeed there was. I found my mission: to help families who are facing feeding aversions to nourish their young. I discovered my passion: to provide support, guidance, and knowledge to families facing feeding aversions.
I uncovered my passion and personal mission because of the hell I went through with my family. I candidly share this with you so you're clear: I understand what you are going though. I was just there.
My beautiful daughter, Rigby, was born perfect. She was a healthy 9.2 lbs and managed to regain her birth weight within three days. Being our second, I was confident that breastfeeding would be easier this time. Despite my struggles with my first born, my son, I was going to make it work. Rigby latched onto my nipple straight away. Unfortunately, at her three-week checkup, it appeared she hadn’t gained any weight. I was confused. Tongue tie was the culprit (again, something we were familiar with our son). A little discouraged, we got the tie snipped at one month old and expected everything to return to normal. I thought she would start to gain and we could breastfeed peacefully for the years to come… Boy, was I ever wrong.
After five weeks of no weight gain, the appointments were many, including pediatricians, breastfeeding clinics, and a gastric pediatrician. They all had their opinions: suck and swallow under development, silent reflux, teething, sensory sensitivity, thrush... the list continues. There was one consistent message, however: she must start to gain weight, no matter what.
Feeding became very hard, breastfeeding was pretty much no more because we needed to see what was going on. So full-time pumping began with bottles. However, Rigby was refusing the bottles, she would protest, refuse, cry –- you name it. Just writing this now, brings back so many emotions to those early days. I was terrified. We resorted to feeding her while asleep, which brought its own challenges. During this time, we visited the ER a number of times, scared for dehydration and simply not waking up for hours at a time. Keep in mind, Rigby was only five to seven weeks old and already had taken in four different medications and seen seven different medical professionals.
At eight weeks old we had a breaking point when Riggs started to refuse the dream feeds too –- she was having a maximum of 300ml in 24 hours. It was decided with our PED at the time that we would have to be admitted to hospital for a feeding tube to be inserted. We were told initially it would only be in a month or so… just so she could see what a full belly feels like. It was scary but felt good to know that we were going to gain a bit of control back.
It took one week at the hospital for the word AVERSION to be introduced. Rigby was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive. An NG tube was inserted into her nose, and a new ‘normal’ for feeding our girl was born. We were sent home with some training and a pat on the back. Good luck, folks!
It did not take long to see that the tube was going to be a messy and unpleasant experience. After two days home, she pulled the tube out, thankfully this one at the hospital where they helped me get it back in. But many, many, many times after that… more trips to the ER, nurses coming to the house... Finally, after one month we decided to give the re-insertion a try ourselves. Thankfully we managed it, however unpleasant… the tears, oh the tears. So much crying.
At the 1.5 months with the tube in check-up and the same doctor who said it would be one month, is now saying for us to expect the tube to be in for about one year. I was outraged. This cannot be Rigby’s life. She is a healthy baby girl! I was certain that there had to be another solution. After searching endlessly, we found support through a woman called Rowena Bennett. She had extensive experience with feeding aversion, and it was the testimonies on her website that got me initially. I cried and cried reading the stories -- they all sounded so familiar. We were sick of living in the past and as much as we couldn’t believe it, a lot of our past could have been avoided. We were ready to look to a bright future.
We got the help that we needed. Ribgy was strong, resilient, and brave. The tube came out and she began to eat. After I was out of the woods with my family's personal hell, I began to ask myself how I can help other families going through the same pain we just endured. I knew this work, this healing, is my calling. Nourish Consultancy was born.
It was astounding how everything shifted. I began to work closely with Rowena, learning how to help families like mine. I began to take my very own clients and more and more families contacted me, begging for help. I would feel their pain but this time, I knew how to help them. Now my testimonials began to mount and I heard the same relief in the voices of the mothers over and over. It truly hit home: they are just like me.
I live in Suffolk, UK with my two hungry, wild children and my loving husband without whom I couldn't do what I do. I am excited to share my work and help families just like mine.