Food can be a sensitive topic for all ages. We often hear all sorts of stories about eating disorders among teenagers and adults. In reality, some may experience issues with food even as a baby for several reasons. Many of these are physical but they can take on mental aspects over time. Instead of feeding through the mouth as most do, young children may be fed through a tube that goes directly to their stomach. Some go through the nose while others are inserted through the abdominal skin. There are also tubes that bypass the stomach and go straight to the small intestines. Do the following before attempting tube weaning programs:
Seek a Doctor’s Guidance
Since this has a lot of medical implications, parents should always seek a doctor’s guidance before initiating a program. You will need to understand what’s going on in your child’s body and mind before you can begin with the tube weaning. This is a complex matter that will require a great deal of support from feeding specialists, dietitians, social workers, and parent coaches. You need to do it right because the consequences of improper handling may be disastrous for your child. Err on the side of cause and get the advice of experts.
Wait Until Safe Swallowing
You should observe your child closely to see if he or she may be able to switch from tube to mouth. Some attempts may be made to check whether swallowing is an issue or not. If a child can swallow food items of various thickness and softness, then the chances of success is more likely. If not, then see what can be done to help resolve this issue first.
Solve Underlying Medical Conditions
There are probably underlying medical conditions that led to this dependence on a feeding tube. Get this treated by a competent specialist first before anything else. Perhaps a child feels like she is suffocating when feeding even if it is just milk. Others may be alright with liquids but not large chunks of solid food. Determine the cause and get a treatment plan.
Determine the Child’s Readiness
Your child must also be mentally ready for the switch. Parents cannot unilaterally decide to wean their children from their feeding tubes because this can be traumatic for the little ones. They should be gently coaxed to warm up to the idea. A tube weaning programs can teach successful techniques. Make them feel calm and in control.