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"I WAS TURNING TO THE 'INTERNET PEOPLE'..."

I have never met Becky or Olga in person, but they will forever be remembered in my family for being the people who helped my son, eat. Ian was born with congenital heart disease and laryngomalacia and had a NG tube placed at a month old. 

 
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"THERE WAS NO MEDICAL REASON TO HAVE A TUBE"

My daughter got her tube at eight days old and for 12 months straight was tested over and over with no positive results or answers to why she wouldn't gain weight. She was overfed to stretch her stomach and vomited almost daily. In turn, this caused a significant oral aversion. There was no medical reason to have a tube but there were no doctors locally that would support a wean in fear of weight loss. 

 
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"THEY WERE SO WARM AND CARING, MAKING SURE *I* FELT GOOD, TOO"

My daughter had a NG tube for approximately ten months due to Failure to Thrive and an extreme aversion to the bottle. No matter how hard we tried, she would not drink. Our local hospital was quick to place a NG tube, and sent us home.

 
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"THERE IS NOTHING I REGRET ABOUT CHOOSING TO WEAN WITH GIE"

Emil was born with a laryngeal cleft, which was not found until he was four months old when it was repaired. We always knew he had trouble eating though; he was aspirating very consistently with both thin and thick liquids. His G-tube was placed at five weeks old, and it was a joy to finally watch him put on weight... and for a time the stress was taken off our shoulders - feeding had been stressful since birth with his coughing and choking.

 
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"WE VETTED EVERY MAJOR TUBE-WEANING  PROGRAM OUT THERE FOR MONTHS, AND WE KNEW THAT GIE WAS A PERFECT FIT."

At 36 hours old, Winston was postnatally diagnosed with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. After a traumatic intubation and near complete organ failure, he was rushed to the nearest children’s hospital. Winston would spend the next 8 days in a medically induced coma.

 
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"I BELIEVED HE COULD LEARN TO EAT, BUT I WAS ALSO AFRAID, BEING THE ONLY ONE WHO BELIEVED."

My little buddy, Arlo, was born with Mosaic Trisomy 18. Trisomy 18 is a chromosomal abnormality that can be highly discriminated against in the medical community. Many hospitals refuse to do life saving surgeries on these babies, etc. My son came home from the NICU with a g tube at 2.5 months old, and we started feeding therapy right away as that was really important to us.

 
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"After 5-6 weeks, the NG was gone, and we have been tube free for about 2 months."

My daughter, Everly, has HLHS. She was on an NG tube since her Norwood, and we waited for magical eating to take place post-Glenn. It didn't happen. Even though she ate all of her bottles right after the Glenn, she wasn't drinking fast enough and we had to put the NG back in. But, we hit therapy hard -- Speech, OT, Feeding Clinics -- with no change. Her tummy was full from her tube feeds, and she completely stopped taking bottles.

 
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"I wish we had taken the plunge and contacted GIE sooner."

Our feeding journey began when Oliver was born. He was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta at 24 weeks gestation and we knew he’d be facing heart surgery within the first 2 weeks of life. As a precaution and because the doctors couldn't be sure if circulation to his digestive tract was compromised, they didn't allow him to eat until after his heart was repaired. 

 
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"I cannot say enough positive things about GIE. They helped changed Foster’s path."

While initially, it was medically necessary for my son to have the tube, we had no support from our medical team on how to wean him off and how to help Foster understand hunger. But with GIE, I felt supported and validated in wanting to try to help my 3-month-old baby eat naturally.

 
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"Some may call it naivety, but I call it mother's intuition: I just knew Genevieve would and could wean."

Genevieve has developmentally exploded (in a good way!) these past few months, and I believe it's all tied to the independence she has gained with food, off the tube. So thank you, again! We, along with our whole cardiology team, are so pleased!"

 
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"Working with GIE was the best decision we ever made."

My son was born at 29 weeks gestation with Long Gap Esophageal Atresia. At two days old, he had his g-tube placed so that he could grow enough to have surgery to connect his esophagus. Gera’s surgery wasn’t until he was five months old and he wasn’t given the OK to eat orally until he was seven months old. This turned into a major hurdle.

 
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"The day I wrote my first e-mail to GIE was the first day of the rest of our (and Luca’s) life."

GIE guided our family (transatlantic) through the wean. A fast wean! Because the day we signed with GIE, Luca started to eat! They helped us to decrease feeds (safely) again and he took off! He was fully weaned in 4 weeks! He was ready.

 
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"We would not have been able to do this without GIE, namely Olga, Becky, and Elisabeth"

We learned that the hardest part of weaning is weaning yourself, and learning to trust your baby. We were so grateful to be able to build a community around us of people who understand how demanding and frustrating weaning can be. 

 
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I tell everyone who asks how she's doing that GIE saved our family.

Zayda started life eating amazingly. At 3 weeks, she projectile vomited. She had a tongue-tie which was fixed and a casual diagnosis of reflux. By 6 weeks, eating was hard and by 10 weeks, without ever knowing why, Zayda refused milk altogether except when asleep.

 

"A DAY INTO OUR WEAN WITH BECKY AND OLGA THE VOMITING STOPPED..."

My daughter began losing weight soon after birth as she was too weak to suck a bottle well enough. At the hospital they inserted an NG tube, taught us how to use it, and we were sent home. It was followed by months of figuring out what was medically wrong while also struggling with what doctors and dietitians were telling us was the amount of calories to provide her.


What do other families have to say about Growing Independent Eaters?

“The accessibility, patience, and nurturing we received from Olga & Becky was unparalleled to anything we expected or experienced through our journey with our son. I was so scared to wean him, especially since I never felt the medical community ever helped us or listened. GI Eaters actually listened to us and gave us a real plan and held my hand every step of the way. That was what I needed the most!!!”
 
“Having the emotional support to start provided the courage needed to go ahead with a wean. I only worked with Olga and Becky but both were extremely knowledgeable, compassionate, and understanding. Made me feel comfortable following their guidance throughout the process. With out those traits, I’m not sure I would have felt comfortable, and without feeling comfortable, I’m sure we wouldn’t have gone ahead with a wean.”
 
“Being provided with so much information that made me feel confident in making the decision to wean our son in the first place, without the guidance of our medical team. Talking with members of GIE who could empathize because they had been where I was and had also helped so many other families through the exact stresses that we were feeling. Oh, the affordability of the program! A $5,000 program was not possible after all of my son’s medical expenses that year. The combination of experience and knowledge with kindness and genuine concern made me so happy that we chose GIE, in addition to of course being tube free!! I am so happy we chose to work with you and only wish we could have all worked together sooner.”
 
“I appreciated having a step by step plan of tube feed reduction to follow based on my son’s cues and not having to track every single calorie or mL. If our GI team had followed a similar plan, I would’ve had to have frequent appointments before making changes, etc. I also liked being able to get fairly quick answers to questions when I was unsure about whether or not to advance or supplement water, etc. I also appreciated the general assumption that my son would succeed and without a lot of stress. This made it easy to ignore the days he didn’t eat much. I also liked being to ask about various behaviors and report back to my husband, who was a bit more anxious about the process and worried about sticking to our usual routines and discipline. Overall, it was a very positive experience and we have been thrilled with the outcome.”