Feeding Tube Awareness Week: Our Story
It is Feeding Tube Awareness Week, and I’m excited to share some information about feeding tubes and what it is like to have a child that needs to be fed via feeding tube. Today I’ll share the story of how we got to this point, and in the next few days I’ll share more details about what life with a feeding tube is like, the details of what it looks like, how we use it, and how it has changed our lives.
Our story: Why The Littlest Apple has a feeding tube
The Littlest Apple was born small (4 pounds, 9 oz, which is tiny even for 36 weeks) and spent 10 days in the NICU.
As an infant and toddler, he struggled to gain weight. He was diagnosed with reflux, FTT (the dreaded “failure to thrive” label) despite his high energy level, and later, food allergies (milk and eggs) and severe eczema (as a result of the food allergies).
We got the food allergies and eczema under control, but he continued to struggle with gaining weight, and after tests, tests, and more tests, at around 18 months (Jan 2009), he was diagnosed with gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying). His stomach empties extremely slowly, so he’s never hungry and never eats much. Oh, and he’s super picky. But still VERY active!
After a long and desparate year and a half of trying everything under the sun (changes to diet, medicines, etc) to help him gain weight, we finally decided it was time to move forward with the feeding tube option. In early May 2010, when he was 22 pounds at 32 months old, we started with an NG tube, just to see if this method of feeding would work for The Littlest Apple (because it doesn’t work for everyone!).
We wrestled with the NG tube for 5 rather miserable months (more on that here). Then just after The Littlest Apple started preschool-September 2010…
…The Littlest Apple had surgery for a g-tube placement.
We couldn’t be happier with his g-tube (from here on out, I’ll refer to it as his “button”)! Progress has been slow and steady, but he is finally (barely) on the charts now. The Littlest Apple, age 3 1/2, currently weighs 27 pounds and is 36 inches tall.
That’s the short version. I’ve written quite a bit about our story before, so check out these posts if you want more details….
- The Pickiest of Picky (Any parents of picky eaters will appreciate this)
- Gastroparesis: Always Feeling Like You Just Ate Thanksgiving Dinner (I’m particularly proud of this post that explains gastroparesis in detail)
- Running Out of Ideas and Patience
- Tube Time
- NG Tube Placement
- A Balancing Act (extra calories=crazy kid?)
- Decision Time (where I weigh the pros and cons of NG tubes and G-tubes)
- Surgery and Recovery
- Adjusting to Life with a G-Tube
Go ahead and ask me!! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing details about what life is like with a feeding tube and clear up some of the misconceptions about feeding tubes Do you have any questions for me about our situation or feeding tubes in general that you’re curious about or have been too uncomfortable to ask before? Want to know more about any of the specifics? Ask away! There’s no such thing as a stupid question!