Day 6 Topic:
What do you want clinicians to know about the day-to-day life with a feeding tube?
For today’s topic I’m going to veer slightly off topic and talk about using homemade blended food, instead of just feeding tubes in general. A few months ago our wonderful dietician asked me about helping her with the creation of hospital resource materials about blenderized diets. She had some ideas in mind, but wanted to know… what would have made it easier?
What a great place to start!
Easier would have been someone saying… “sure, I know a bit about homemade blenderized diets… but there’s another dietician you should talk to, she can work with you to see if it is the right option for your family”.
Instead I got people telling me all sorts of reasons why it wouldn’t work… reasons that time has shown to be incorrect; given by people who didn’t have enough experience to make that judgement.
I fully understand that not all children can have a fully homemade diet. Blenderized diets are like a continuum… on the one side – simply adding a bit of baby food fruit or veggies to a commercial formula. On the other side, fully homemade. And everything in between. So when someone says “no… it’s not possible”, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe nothing is possible. That is when my stubbornness kicks into overdrive. Tell me I can’t do something and I will almost certainly find a way (after a few tears most likely!).
I’m sure that most people we met along the way were doing the best they could, based on their knowledge, to help us. But I’m a firm believe that if you don’t know something… just say so! There’s nothing wrong with admitting to not being an expert – that’s smart!
So for me… I would like clinicians to know that homemade foods:
- are possible;
- may be more effort that opening a can of Pediasure, but are definitely do-able;
- are vastly easier with the proper equipment;
- are about so much more than just food;
- can provide parents with the nurturing role that is often missed with commercial formulas;
- may help to promote oral eating;
- offer the health benefits of a well rounded diet;
- may help to reduce reflux and other gastrointestinal discomfort some people experience with commercial formulas and tube feeding;
- may lead to other health improvements; such as thicker hair, weight gain in kids who don’t gain weight on commercial formulas, more energy, better sleep;
- are so worth it!
If this list is WAY too long… then I’d love it if clinicians just say… “there’s this person you should talk to… she/he can help you with this decision!”.