Saturday, May 16, 2009

Occupational therapy for babies

Occupational therapist C. visited Max today; this is only the second therapeutic visit Max has had since coming home. Carolyn is slowly figuring out the bureaucratic maze surrounding service providers. It's particularly troubling that Max has yet to see a speech therapist, given that his primary problem right now is eating by mouth.

C. specializes in baby massage. Maybe I was skeptical; now, I'm a believer. C. used something like a beneficent version of the Vulcan nerve pinch on Max. A couple of simple strokes and suddenly Max is smiling and gurgling happily.

C. also watched Carolyn give Max a bottle. It was shaping up to be another dud session, but C. applied very slight pressure to Max's temples and cheeks and he eagerly gulped down most of the bottle. He did so well, in fact, that his stomach rebelled and he vomited back about half of the feed. But no matter!

I wonder if perhaps Max's new friends can have great success feeding him at first, before he begins to associate them with food. Max long ago figured out that when Carolyn or I prop him up in the crook of our arm, we're going to try to feed him. But when these new people (the baby whisperer, C. et al) try, Max is caught off guard and he is anyway too polite to throw a tantrum in front of a stranger. Perhaps the secret to feeding Max will not be, as all the books advise, to put him in a calm familiar place but rather to surprise him with an unexpected bottle in novel surroundings.