Good evening His Middle Name fans and friends! I just wanted to let you know in case you didn't already that it's Feeding Tube Awareness Week! If you are the parent of a preemie that was born before 34 weeks, chances are your little one had a feeding tube at some point during their NICU stay. Your child may have even gone home from the NICU with a feeding tube that was your responsibility to clean and fill. Because a premature baby doesn't have the muscle strength that a full term baby does, tube feedings are required until the child develops both the strength to suck well and the ability to coordinate the sucking motion with the reflex to swallow. That's quite a lot of work for a baby that is also working hard to breath on their own, regulate their body temperature and maintain blood sugar levels!
While my son was in the NICU I constantly pumped my breast milk for his nutritional needs. I remember that time with so much fondness and love because I felt it was one of the few things that I could offer my son; one of the few things I could do when so much was out of my control. But if I'm being completely honest, I remember being overwhelmed and completely terrified by the site of my son's feeding tube. Amongst all the other wires and bandages weaving their way around my son, it was the bright orange feeding tube taped tightly to his face that scared me the most. I always found myself fumbling with it, nervous that I would accidentally pull it out and hurt my son, while kangaroo caring for him. It was my nemesis. Like my son, it was thin and delicate; a stark reminder of how precarious a situation we were in. And it took me many weeks before I felt comfortable clasping it and tucking it behind my son's ear when I held him, and later, first attempted to breast feed him. In hindsight, I wish I would have asked more questions and familiarized myself with the feeding tube more so I wasn't so intimidated by it, as it was the very thing that was providing nutritional support to my son when he was too weak to feed himself. In essence, it was a life line. That's why I believe this week is so important. Feeding tubes should be celebrated and looked at as something that works for you and your little one, not against you!
This week marks the fourth annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week, and it's time to recognize the positive benefits that children receive from their feeding tubes. The Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation created and has sponsored this week since 2011, and is dedicated to raising awareness of tubal feeding and educating the public of the positive outcomes and health that is achieved when children are tube fed. It's time to educate yourself, your family, your friends and your care team that it's not a shameful thing to have a child that is tube fed. Feeding tubes provide nutrition that allows children to grow and live a healthy life. Whether your preemie had a feeding tube in the NICU, went home with a feeding tube only to graduate from using it, or had a surgically placed gastric tube, this week is for you!
I’m a southern gal to the core who lives for my family, has a serious weakness for chocolate, a penchant for anything that can be monogrammed and loves to craft and sew. Thank you for your interest and welcome to His Middle Name!