Homemade BLENDARIZED TUBE FEEDING

INTRODUCTION

Feeding tubes have been around in some form since ancient Egyptian times. With improved understanding of anatomy, the digestive system, nutrition, and tube delivery systems, the feeding offered through these tubes have changed considerably. Several decades ago gastrostomy tube feedings were all homemade with blended whole foods and liquids. Tube diameters were bigger, allowing thick homemade mixtures to be offered successfully. Today, feeding tubes have become narrower, and technology now supports more efficient bolus and continuous drip delivery systems.

Improved nutrition research provided the basis for the production of commercially produced formulas. These formulas became the nutritionally balanced., convenient, and safer formula option for most tube feed individuals. For years commercial formulas have successfully provided most of the nutrients and energy needs for children and adults with feeding tubes. However, there are a number of families who have asked. “Why can’t I make my own food for my child? Why can’t I provide meals for my child just like I offer the rest of my family?” This article explodes some answers for those families who wonder why.

TUBE FEEDINGS ARE MEALTIMES

Tube feeding are mealtimes, too!

Parents and health care professionals are beginning to look past the medical, procedure-oriented aspects of these feedings in an effort to create tube feedings that incorporate the closeness of the feeding relationship, as well as the social and “togetherness” aspects of mealtimes enjoyed by orally fed children. One way to help families who are endeavoring to accept the feeding tube as a method pf providing some or all of the needed nutrition for their child, is to help them find the similarities with oral mealtimes…rather than the differences. They CAN:

  • Hold the baby close and look into the baby’s eyes while giving the tube feeding
  • Pace the feeding by watching the baby’s cues
  • Tube feed the toddler in a highchair at the table with the rest of the family
  • Provide the tube mealtimes in a variety of different settings just as oral meals and snacks are offered in different places
  • Consider offering some or all of the tube feedings from foods prepared with love at home