Monday, February 10, 2014

Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2014 - Feeding my Tubie on the go!

The theme of the day today is feeding on the go.  I think it's probably one of the most nerve-wracking things about becoming a Tubie Family.  It's hard enough to decide to get a tube, but feeding in public means that everyone knows.

When Aidan was an NG Tubie, it was highly visible - whether we were actually feeding or not.  Where we went, he went.  Where he went, it went.  We really never fed in public in those early days, because he was still taking formula orally.  But it was definitely the most visible of his tubie times.  We embraced it with some super adorable animal-shaped tape.  My only regret?  Honestly?  That we didn't take more photos during that time.

This guy couldn't BE more comfortable in the skin he's in.
Things really got wild when Aidan became a G-Tubie.  We would stop and do gravity feeds anywhere and everywhere.  If you can go there, we fed there.  The Children's Museum.  The airport.  Restaurants.  The soccer field.  Disney World.  Seriously - name a place - we've probably fed there.

It was hard at first.  We tried to find nooks and crannies to hide in.  I hated the thought of people staring.  It was a whole new level of the "nursing in public" debate.  My apprehension wore off though - and I'm glad it did.  We're what I like to call "out and proud" - other parents feed their children in public every day.  Why shouldn't I?  

Feeding the Monkeys at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Lunch at the Children's Museum - no bib required!

These days, feeding on the go is a no-brainer.  Aidan now has a GJ Tube - we feed him very slowly all day long, so he wears his feeding pump in his backpack everywhere he goes.  Some people notice - most people don't.  I hope that as Aidan gets older, he's proud to teach others that there's more than one way to eat!

My best tips for feeding on the go:
  • Make sure you have everything you need.  When we were bolus feeding Aidan's G Tube, we brought pre-measured containers of Aidan's formula, water, extensions, syringes, water for flushing his tube, a small dish towel, and a ziploc bag for anything dirty.  This sounds like a lot, but it really isn't once you've got your routine down.
  • Ask your Tubie where they'd like to eat.  Chances are good that they aren't worried about eating in public - and you shouldn't be nervous either!
  • If you need help, or have questions, or just need encouragement - ask!  There's plenty out there!  
  • Hold your head up high!  You've got this!

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