Feeding a Tubie…

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I love this post from MamabytheBay because feeding a baby….or a child…..is about feeding with love….no matter if is is from breast….bottle….or tubie…..

Our journey in learning how to best feed Audrianna has been (in complete honestly) extremely trying…

When Audrianna first came home from the hospital…..she was “tube” fed breastmilk fortified with formula to ensure that she received additional nutrients required to promote her growth and development……and threw up ALL OF THE TIME…….EVERY FEEDING…….

Over the course of the year, I eliminated several (many) foods from my diet……..we tried several different formulas to reduce the vomiting……

To promote digestion, Audrianna spent HOURS in her bouncy seat…..up to two hours at a time……we bolus fed her SO SLOWLY……venting her (keeping her tube open each feeding to allow her to push extra air from her stomach)……and keeping her upright to promote digestion after every feeding……(we even had to go out and buy another bouncy seat….because one cover was almost always in the wash……)

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But nothing worked…….

(NOTE: Surprisingly, even with all of the vomiting, Audrianna always gained weight appropriately and followed an upward trend on her own little growth chart……and actually…..stayed fairly close to her twin’s weight…)…making her health care team a bit less concerned about the vomiting….

But that didn’t make the day to day living any easier…..

We timed errands…..trips out of the house…….appointments…….and car rides around her feeding schedule…..because, well, that lesson was learned relatively quickly……after walking through Target completely covered in vomit…..with a baby drenched in vomit…..in a carseat soaked with vomit….

An upper GI endoscopy done around Audrianna’s first birthday showed that a year of vomitting (several times a day) had taken a toll and had begun breaking down her esophagus….

And so, clearly……what we were doing was not working

And so, after a year of struggling to keep anything in her…..we researched and researched (see the resources page for amazing resources related to tube feeding and homemade blended diets)…..and found an amazing dietician to support a new way of feeding…..

Under the guidance of a dietician and an amazing feeding team…..we switched Audrianna to a Blenderized Diet….

And….although it was a gradual process….with gradual improvement…….

Audrianna stopped vomiting……completely……..

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And….surprisingly……we started noticing….how much more quickly her hair grew…..her energy levels increased…..she made amazing gains in her motor development……

The recipe for her “diet” has changed throughout the course of the year….to continue to meet her needs as she gets bigger……and can tolerate more volume…….but the basic principals remain the same…….

Real Food…….blended…….put through the tube……..

So, here are some things that work for us……in feeding our tubie…..

Our recipe (which I am not posting….because it is specifically designed to meet Audrianna’s 27 month old needs…..) and process includes:

(1) GRAINS: (I have used Cheerios, baby cereal, regular oatmeal, sprouted toast, quinoa, and rice) but today, it’s a mix of Cheerios and Baby Oatmeal

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(2) PROTEIN, FRUITS & VEGGIES: The possibilities are endless…..but we always stick to chicken as our source of protein….because that works best for her…….and in the mix today…..kale, green beans and banana (which usually appears everyday given it’s wonderful nutrient profile & high calorie composition)

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(3) LIQUIDs, FATS, AND SUPPLEMENTS: Our base is formula (NEOCATE splash) because that works best for Audrianna…..so far, we have been unable to use any dairy, soy or milk based products in her blends…..so……we stick with it…..in a small amount……and add ground flax, sugar (carb to boost calories/balance carbon dioxide), extra virgin or fish oil, and avacado. Plus, a multivitamin…..and…..although we don’t actually blend it…she gets a dairy & soy free probiotic….

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(4) THE EQUIPMENT: A high powered blender…… we use the Vitamix…..and LOVE IT! But other families we know use other brands…..but you need something that will pulverize everything into a COMPLETELY smooth mixture (any lumps, grains, etc. can clog the tube)….and something that can stand up to daily use…..

I dump everything in…..and blend…..on high….usually for 2-4 minutes…….

And then I stop the blender and pour it into a mason jar……..(making sure to check to make sure that the blend is COMPLETELY SMOOTH)…..if I notice any lumps…..back to the blender for another whirl….

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Overall….the consistency is slightly thinner than that of a jarred baby food……or pudding….

And eventually…..it goes into the fridge……where it stays until we’re ready to feed her…..

We feed her using a 60 cc catheter tip O-ring syringe (available from a squirrel rehab supply company [yes, really…..]: http://www.squirrelsandmore.com/ along with a few other blended food websites….)

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The catheter tip allows us to connect it right into the large port of her mic-key extension (we do not use an adapter)

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And the O-Ring allows the syringe to be used….and reused….over and over again……without the rubber breaking down….and making it harder to push

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And so, we insert the catheter tip directly into the mason jar and draw the “blended diet” up into the syringe…..

Then I turn it over…..tap it on the counter to remove any air bubbles…..and stick the per-filled syringe in warm water for a few minutes….

And then……we bolus/push it……semi-slowly…….(2 ounces in a minute)

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AND MAKE SURE TO HOLD THE SMALL MEDICINE PORT CLOSED AT THE SAME TIME so that it doesn’t explode out……..another lesson learned quickly…..

And that’s it……

Blended…..and fed…..with love……..

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One thought on “Feeding a Tubie…

    Tell the World that I’m Coming Home « Breathe... said:
    November 12, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    […] on plastic pieces…with no functional airway (without the trach)…who received all nutrician from a tube…who (in the most loving way) turned our world upside […]

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