I just had a lovely Tubie-Mommy email me with questions as to how to start.
Here is the email I sent to her:
There are a couple of things to consider when beginning blended-meals tube feeding. Are you willing to invest in a blender that will do the job? VitaMix is the one I use, and judging by the reviews of the runner-up, the BlendTec is louder and not quite as effective. When blending any whole food it has to become completely pulverized in order to pass through the extension tube and g-tube into the stomach. The biggest problem I hear from people who do blended-meal feedings is that they experience clogs. In my experience, clogs can be completely eliminated by appropriate blending.
The next thing to consider is whether you are willing to do the necessary cleaning of the blender, tubes, and syringes. This is not difficult. Immediately after blending, the blender can be cleaned quite well by putting 5 cups of hot water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in the blender and blending for a minute or two. Inspection following this blending of soapy water will show whether you need to stick a sponge or something in there to clean more.
Here are a couple of links on my blog about cleaning:
The next step is to consider what foods to begin with. I believe, personally, that vegetables are a good place to start. Carrots and sweet potatoes are good to start with. You can cook them or blend them raw. The main thing is to clean them – you can scrub them with a vegetable brush in a vinegar/water solution to begin with. Then blend them with enough water so they can move around freely in the blender. If the food isn’t moving (when the blender is half full or more and the food is mostly blended) when you peek inside the cover then it is too thick to push through the tube.
I would mix up a batch of carrots – probably cooking them the first time because you don’t know what his digestion is going to act like yet – and then start with one syringe (60 cc) and give 10 cc of it per minute for six minutes. See how he tolerates that and then move on. It is important that you do this perhaps 3 hours after his last feeding, to give his body time to rest between sessions of digestion. One of the best ways to cause gas is to do a continuous feed, in my experience.
It is quite easy to add protein, using either quinoa or any meat you want to – just get a high quality meat that doesn’t have gristle in it (I use 93& lean ground beef) so as to avoid clogging. I would advise staying away from regular potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, rice, bread, crackers, etc. as blending them creates a more glue-like consistency. They CAN be used, but that would involve cooking the potatoes or rice or pasta and then pushing them through a fine-holed food mill and stirring into the already blended food you have made. That method avoids production of starch, which creates the glue-like consistency.
Some kids react to the vitamins in formula and that causes them to vomit. Some kids react to the dairy product in formula and that causes them to vomit. Our bodies are designed, from what I read, to digest real food, not food meant to raise baby cows. I am not opposed to dairy totally, I am just opposed to a diet of only dairy…. but that’s just my opinion.
How about the rest of you? What am I missing? Any other advice you would give this Mom contemplating blended-meals?