Blending like a pro.

It was a little over a year ago I wrote this post about my early adventures in making Ava’s food from scratch instead of giving her cans of Pediasure, which was not working well for us.

This morning I went to get something out of the freezer (which is working great again!), and suddenly realized we are almost out of Ava’s food again. I make it every 45 days, but the hurricane seemed to just blow the month of September away along with its wind and rain.

I fornlornly looked at the calendar and realized that today had to be the day.

After an appointmentpalooza week (my name for weeks that include more than 4-5 medical/therapy appointments–this week it was 7)…this was not-so-much what we were looking to do today.

12 hours later, all 3 kids are in bed, 45 quarts of food are in the freezer, and my mom and I are basically ready to collapse. Poor Craig is…working.

But the great news is that we knocked out Ava’s next 6 weeks’ worth of food in record time—a little under 8 hours, taking turns. It wasn’t long ago that this was a three-day process for me. Every time I seem to figure out something new to make it go quicker, and try to make a game out of it to beat my blending times. (It used to take me 2 mins. 5 seconds to blend each quart; I was down to 1:35 today. Because I’m that awesome. And that nerdy.)

When we were without power a couple weeks ago it occurred to me that we’d avoided an extra source of stress by making Ava’s food like we do. For half of 2016 we used a battery-powered pump to feed Ava every day—a pump that must be plugged in and charged. I’m thankful for her “low tech” diet that we can give her without power, and for our big old freezer that is once again doing its job.

Blended diet, week one.

So how is Ava’s new blended diet going so far?
Well, this happened:
Yes, that’s our ceiling, courtesy of Melissa Burton an incredibly kind friend who’s been helping with Ava’s new feeds.

You could say it’s been a smashing success:

Yes, that’s Gerber chicken and gravy, 2.5 ounce jar.
This one was my fault courtesy of someone besides Melissa.

Although I didn’t smash the baby food chicken jar on purpose, I’m still eager to get on with making our own blended food…once we get this new feeding routine down. We are still adjusting, and it made for a fairly laborous Labor Day weekend.

But more importantly, Ava has been a happy girl with her new diet. So far, she’s keep ALL of her food and water down since we started on Saturday, and her system seems to be taking it very well. She’s been sleeping better, too.

Here’s to less puree around the house tomorrow…

Baby steps with baby food

Sure, Ava has Angelman Syndrome and hearing loss, but our biggest challenge overall has been helping her to eat.

We’re almost a year into her feeding tube, and it’s been a good step forward. But after 4 months of reflux and trouble keeping her formula down, it’s time to step out behind the ease of canned Pediasure into the wide world of blended food.

I’m actually super excited and hopeful about this, because I’ve been less than thrilled with her 100% formula diet. I can’t wait to see how putting REAL food back in her system will help her health overall.

So, when I got the initial recipe we’re to try from her dietician today, I was disappointed. It’s all packaged baby food (even the meat) and other items that are less than the ideal menu of healthy fats, brain food and organic veggies I was dreaming of (and have been reading about). The recipe is designed to be easy to make, and I can appreciate that. But I’m willing to do the work of making my own food, so it’s not what I really want.

I feel like I have to stick with the recipe at first because I’m worried that if I go off on my own right away, the texture won’t be smooth and runny enough to get through her tube. And we see the value of working under our dietician’s supervision, too, especially while we transition her and learn.

So off I went to Publix. For the first time as a parent, I even bought this:

 

I felt like I was judging MYSELF while I put 6 jars of meat on the checkout conveyor belt. (If you’ve bought this for your children, I apologize for being judgy about canned baby meat. Apparently I ate it as a baby, and totally survived. It’s just not my thing now.)

Anyway, this recipe is not what I want, but alas, it’s the baby step I’m taking tonight. We’ll adjust the ingredients as soon as I figure out what I’m doing and we invest in a Vitamix to really blend it down right.

I thought it would be good to blog this so I can track her progress from this initial recipe toward healthy, homemade food and ultimately, I hope, to a ketogenic or low-glycemic index diet to help with her seizures and brain health.

And before you begin hating on our dietician: she told me she’s totally on board with us adjusting the ingredients over time. There are complex factors that play into the recipe for Ava and I agree with her that we can’t make all the changes we want at once. For now, here’s to a good start, and less upset tummy for our sweet girl.