As you may recall, we’ve been having trouble with our blender lately. It has been over heating and shutting off for no apparent reason. As we await the new blender’s arrival, I’ve been challenged some days to get Henry’s food blended well enough.
The result: we’re straining every meal :(.
Of course… Henry thinks this is the best thing ever and is having a blast… so I suppose I should take his lead and enjoy :).
In attempt to see all things positive, here’s a quick tutorial on straining “chunky” food:
First (and most importantly for us), let your 3 1/2 year sit on the kitchen counter. This will make all subsequent steps much more fun! We ended up warming up the food as usual (measuring into a 1 cup pyrex measuring up, adding a splash of water, microwaving for between 25-45 seconds depending on amount). I found warmed food strained easier than food straight from the fridge. Once it was warmed, we used a standard wire mesh strainer – the type that sits on top of a bowl is nice – and a mini whisk. Just make sure the wholes are small enough to catch all the fibers or chunks. We used a 4 cup measuring cup to sit the strainer on top because we could then syringe the food directly from there.
Here’s a photo of what we “caught” in the strainer… no wonder his button was clogging! As far as I can tell, I think the orange chunks are peace skins.
Unfortunately, even with straining the food, Henry’s button still got clogged a few times. I did the usual – tried “pulling” back on the syringe to unclog… tried flushing with water… tried pushing the food through.. but in the end it just didn’t work.
This next step is completely unauthorized, and every specialist, g-tube nurse and pediatrician you talk to would cringe when told. However, when researching how to unclog buttons when the “standard” protocol doesn’t work… just about every blog described using a toothpick. And you know what… it works!
Yes, you must be careful. Inserting the toothpick too far in the button could damage the one way valve and permanently damage it. I don’t think I could actually hurt Henry… it’s not like I’m going shove the entire toothpick through his button into his tummy. I guess if I did, it might hurt him, but I think I’m smart enough not to do that.
What I did do was visually inspect his button and try to remove what I could with my finger and then a clean cloth. Then I used a tooth pick to “sweep” around the inside of the button. Not directly into the valve – at least not at first – but just around the inner edges of the button. And I got a lot out.
But it wasn’t enough and the button was still clogged. So I gently rubbed against the valve with the toothpick and removed one chunk that looked like a small piece of quinoa.
(only to be repeated about 100 more times over the next few days!)
One thing that I have noticed about the Nutriport button (versus the mic key) is that the inside of the button – the space between where the extension tube attaches and the valve, seems a bit larger. It’s nothing noticeable from the outside, but there’s a bit more room in there for food to hang around in. At first I thought this might be a problem, but I think it’s actually a bonus. Instead of getting caught inside the actual valve, most of the chunks were just inside the button and fairly easy to remove. If they had been pushed farther into the valve it may have been harder to unclog and might have been damaged in the process.
Another one of those “not very pretty” things that somehow just becomes “normal” pretty quick.