Made of Gray

Blended Diet for a Tube Fed Child

Holly D Gray14 Comments
Adding regular food to Caleigh's tube feeds has been a success so far. We have done Yellow Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans and Peas. The only issue has been some constipation and not by any clinical definition. Caleigh has only been stooling once a day and it's dark and pasty. This is pretty normal actually. While just on Elecare formula, she was stooling 4-8 times a day. So we will take our 'normal' once a day stool and be super excited about it! Caleigh has also been taking more of these foods by mouth. Yesterday she had an ounce of green beans and an ounce of sweet potatoes with little complaint or trouble. Baby steps, baby steps.

We are working with a dietitian who understands Short Gut. I recommend working with a dietitian or nutritionist who can run the numbers for you. Make sure your kid is getting the right nutrients.

To be able to do a blenderized diet for G-tubes you need to be able to really get the mixture down to a liquid like puree. No chunks allowed. This is hard to do with a regular blender. If you don't blend it well then it will clog the g-button tubing and your feeding pump will alarm constantly. It's annoying...I've been there.

Back in the spring I ordered a Vita-Mix Blender. This is a super-duper, commercial, Starbucks kinda blender. It's amazing....and expensive. I had joined the Yahoo Group for Blenderized Diets and learned a little Vita-Mix secret. There is a medical discount for kiddos like Caleigh and it takes about a hundred bucks off the price. I also bought a Magic Bullet for little jobs or re-blending after de-thawing the mixture.

In Caleigh's case I decided to start over. Pretending she had never ate a bite in her life. I found this incredible website Wholesome Baby Food where it gives a logical run down of baby's first foods and why you should start with certain foods over others. Including how the intestines process certain foods. Perfect for our short gut girl. It gives instructions on how to cook everything from scratch. It's a wonderful site, and even though it doesn't mention anything about tube feeding a child; I adapted it to our needs.

So armed with the right equipment I went to the store. There is something about shopping for fresh, organic food for your child that really lifts a mom's spirits. Especially if your kid has ever been on TPN and didn't have real food for the first year of their life. Basically, it makes me feel like a good mommy.

So here's a small run down of how I made sweet potatoes the other night.

1) Buy the deepest orange, organic sweet potatoes you can find

2) Wash and scrub the skins and then poke holes with a fork all over the sweet potato

3) Wrap the potato in foil and place in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour (or until potato is squishy)
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4) Unwrap the sweet potato and spoon out the goodies leaving the skins for your dog's next meal
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5) Place the yummy warm stuff in the blender
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6) Add purified water as needed to blend to desired consistency
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7) Spoon into ice cube tray sections (each section is about an ounce of food)
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7) Let freeze and then place in freezer bags (amount below was four potatoes)
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8) All done! Whenever you need an ounce or two just take them out of the freezer and de-thaw

Something about those perfect frozen cubes that makes me so very very happy. Weird, I know. Every time I open the freezer I get a smile. Hard work paid off I guess. I know exactly how everything is made and when. I know there are no preservitives or additives. I know how good it is for Caleigh. Even better is the fact that Caleigh is taking it by mouth and tube successfully. We still have a long ways to go before her entire meals are blended food, but again... baby steps.
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