Making the Decision to Tube Feed
For some of us, medical conditions require tube feeding and there isn't much of a decision to be made. For others, there is more of a decision making process.
Making the decision to tube feed is never an easy one. Tube feeding is frequently associated with gravely ill adults, not as a way to help children get the nutrition and hydration they need to be able to grow, thrive, and develop. We are committed to raising awareness that tube feeding is an alternative way to eat, much like using a wheel chair is an alternative means of being mobile.
Tube feeding can be a scary prospect for parents, but it doesn't have to be. If you are faced with the decision to tube feed, here are some questions to consider:
- Is my child safely able to eat and drink enough to grow and develop appropriately?
- Will my child be able to catch up on necessary weight gain on his own?
- Is my child using too much energy to eat and drink?
- Does my child have a medical condition that will make it more difficult for her to maintain a healthy weight?
We feel strongly that tube feeding is a last resort, not a first-line medical intervention. Once parents see the benefits their child receive from getting proper nutrition and hydration, many wished they would have tube-fed sooner.
Tube Feeding Facts:
- Tube feeding can be supplemental to what is eaten orally. If children are safe to eat and drink, they can continue to after receiving a feeding tube. We encourage oral eating as much as is possible.
- Tube feeding is temporary for the vast majority of children. That said, it is often difficult to estimate how long a feeding tube will be needed.
- Tube feeding does not limit a child's ability to roll around, play, climb, run, swim, play sports. Essentially, whatever physical ability a child has will not be impacted by tube feeding.
- You are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of children who have been tube fed.