Feeding children via tube becomes necessary in certain medical and physical conditions. If it is continued for long, it can result in FTD or Feeding Tube Dependency problem. It becomes difficult to get the child to eat foods orally. Several treatment options are available to overcome this problem. Home based tube weaning is preferred because it is convenient and suitable for the child. A treatment provided in the home environment can be highly effective if the prescribed modalities are followed diligently.
The Five Stages to Weaning
This process has five stages. In the first phase an assessment is done. In the next phase preparation is made. The third phase involves hunger induction. Intensive treatment is followed in the fourth phase. The fifth phase involves the follow-up process. Tube weaning at home has more than 90% success rate and improves the eating behavior. It is a safe and promising treatment option to solve the FTD issue.
Why Tube Weaning Becomes Necessary?
Tube feeding is always a temporary option. It becomes necessary due to medical reasons. Once a child is used to tube feeding, it has less motivation to eat orally. It either finds it difficult to eat orally or does not want to learn eating. Any forced attempt results in the child vomiting. There can be other issues like gagging, fussiness, over-sensitivity and other aversive behaviors. If FTD is not controlled in time, it can affect the child’s development.
Tube Weaning Helps Solve FTD
Children capable of swallowing their saliva without gagging or vomiting can be weaned away from the tube feeding. There are no detrimental consequences and future development is not compromised by tube weaning. It rather induces hunger and the child learns to eat. Short bouts of malnutrition experienced during the weaning process are not a big problem. Any prolonged malnutrition should be avoided.
The Right Age for Home Based Tube Weaning
Most pediatric experts recommend home based tube weaning at three months while others consider it an early time for this process. An average of 18-24 months is what everyone seems to agree. Once a child starts feeling hungry, it will have cravings for food. This is the right time to help it learn to eat.
It is important to provide the right environment and offer the right foods. It increases the possibility of the child starting to eat. Suitable foods should be introduced gradually. Close observations should be made during this period. Foods liked by the child should be noted. These foods can be given to the child regularly. It is important to provide a balanced diet that includes nutritious foods. The food fare should also be attractive with varying textures to make it appetizing. This is necessary during the initial phase of weaning. Gradually, other foods can be introduced in the diet.