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Tube feeding at home.

Tube feeding can provide an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your child. But be patient. Adjusting to tube feeding takes time. Don't try to assume all the responsibility for the feeding yourself. Let other family members learn to tube feed, too. Be patient as they learn the procedures and develop skills and confidence.

Because all children need to feel loved and secure, it is important to hold, cuddle and comfort your child even though he or she has a feeding tube. The older tube-fed child may be able to help with tube feeding or even carry it out independently in some cases. You should encourage your child to accept responsibility for as much of the feeding as he or she can handle. Sometimes it helps a child to practice tube feeding with a doll.

As you become more comfortable with the procedure, try to make tube feeding a routine part of family life. Some families prefer to tube feed the child during the family mealtime. Others choose to tube feed the child in private and then have the child join and socialize with family and friends while they are eating. You probably will want to experiment to see what works best and is most satisfying for you, your child and other family members.

If your child is old enough to respond, don't be afraid to ask questions. For example, how does he or she feel about being with the family during mealtime? About seeing food but not being able to drink or chew and swallow it? Encourage family members and friends to discuss their feelings about eating in front of the tube-fed child. Open discussion of these issues will allow you to decide what will work best for your family.

Sometimes tube feeding is a temporary measure intended to supplement your child's regular diet because he or she cannot get enough nutrients from the regular diet. Encourage normal eating during mealtimes by timing the tube feedings so that they do not coincide with the family's eating schedule. This plan will allow your child to share mealtimes with the family as often as possible.

Be sure to find out about the variety of portable tubefeeding devices that allow a tube-fed child to move about freely. Try not to interrupt family trips and vacations because of the inconvenience that tube feeding represents. Treat your child as normally as possible.

Reprinted with permission of Ross Laboratories, a division of Abbott Laboratories. Adapted from the booklet Tube Feeding Your Child at Home. The booklet is available from Ross Laboratories for $1. Call the Ross Consumer Relations at (800) 227-5767.

This article is the second in a series sponsored by Ross Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio

A Division of Abbott Laboratories
COPYRIGHT 1993 EP Global Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Previous Article:It Isn't Fair!: Siblings of Children with Disabilities.
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