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Feed Me!

Updated: Feb 21

When you have problems swallowing it's called dysphagia. Having had a trach for six months, I have to swallow in order to eat! This process is called the IDDSI diet. I ended up calling it the food ladder

Your SLT will give you different textures of food to eat so you can practise swallowing them. Once you can do so safely, both in front of them and unsupervised you get to progress to the next level. Fair warning, you HAVE to be able to swallow safely so progression takes time.

There are seven levels:

Level one - Thin Liquids (water, juice etc).

Level two - Slightly Thick Liquids - ones that have had a thickener added (able to use a straw).

Level three- Mildly Thick (yoghurt, smooth porridge etc).

Level four - Pureed (macaroni cheese - must be pureed).

Level five - Minced and Moist (finely minced meat with very thick gravy).

Level six- Soft and Bite-Sized (fish with steamed vegetables).

Level seven A - Easy to Chew (soft pasta).

Level seven- Regular (a normal diet).

You MAY not follow the entire ladder. I started with juice and then yoghurt a few days later. From there I went straight to "Minced and Moist", I think those three words will be etched in my memory forever! Foods in this level are things which you have to squash with your tongue (similar to weaning a baby).

I then moved to Level 6 “Soft and Bite-Sized", this is one with food that should be able to be squashed with a fork, is moist and requires chewing. In my case, it involved a lot of grilled fish.

After this comes Level 7A. "Easy to Chew" . This is normal food but softer textures. I enjoyed a lot of pasta.

Getting to level 7 and being able to eat regular food was the best feeling!

I particularly enjoyed being able to go to the supermarket on the high street and buy snacks. Finally fulfilling my goal of eating a cupcake was fantastic. When it comes to level 7, my recommendation would be to still have more difficult things like crisps or nuts with your SLT present.



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