Thursday, February 9, 2012
Feeding Tubes & Medical Professionals
Today's topic: The need for greater awareness in the medical community - Explain a situation where a clinician didn't understand tube feeding and what was the impact. Oh my. I could tell you stories, but the situation we saw over and over amongst medical professionals was shock and amazement that Acorn ate anything orally, because he had a feeding tube. It's not like the tube blocks his mouth or esophagus or the exit from his stomach. It's not like it's all or nothing. The other big issue we've seen with Leaf is in regards to breastmilk - clearly, if she's not eating orally, she must be getting formula, right? (to be fair, there's a post coming soon about the end of pumping, but seriously, there's no reason a mom can't pump milk and feed it through that tube, you know?) The other problem with breastmilk and tube feedings is that breastmilk loses calories when fed continuously - the milk fat sticks to the tubing walls, and the child never gets that fat, to the tune of somewhere between 10% and 50% of the available calories. We've had to explain this to multiple doctors, and explain it to nurses, because it means you have to set things up certain ways to get it to work properly with a feeding pump. Then again, we've had nurses ask about feeding Acorn through his trach, so maybe it shouldn't surprise me.