February 13, 2020
Feeding Tube Awareness Week was formed in 2011, by the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation, to promote the positive use of feeding tubes as a life-saving medical intervention. Additionally, this week is used to educate the public about the medical reasons children and adults are fed by tube and the challenges patients and their families face on a day-to-day basis. It serves to connect families by showing them how many other families are going through the same experience, so they are not alone.
The beginning of February was selected to show the public how we love our tubes and to also eliminate the negativity that surrounds a medical device that is keeping your child, you, or your loved one alive. During this week, we focus on the positives and are thankful that with its use a feeding tube is able to keep our patients alive, grow, and thrive.
Ashlynn G, one of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children’s nursery inpatients, was born full-term and sent home from the nursery without concerns about feeding. After being fed by bottle and formula, Ashlynn began to show signs of severe reflux and choking when being fed. Then she began to get sick. When Ashlynn was five weeks old she was fitted with nasogastric intubation, or NG tube, which is a tube through the nose that goes past the throat and into the stomach. Her parents knew that Ashlynn needed to receive food and understood the reason for her supplemental nutrition.
After consultations with St. Mary’s Feeding Therapists, Ashlynn’s parents are comfortable with her need for a NG tube and the possibility of a gastric tube (G-tube or GT). A GT tube is a tube inserted through the belly that will bring nutrition directly to Ashlynn’s stomach. Her parents realize that it can be a temporary solution and that at some point children can grow out of one and begin eating by mouth.
With St. Mary’s support and counseling, Ashlynn’s parents feel that it’s not as scary as you may think it is. They are taking the situation with Ashlynn one day at a time.
During Feeding Tube Awareness Week, St. Mary’s Feeding Program will be celebrating Feeding Tubes all week with different activities, including decorating a feeding bag and setting up an information table for our patients and their families. Please stop by to find out more information about feeding tubes and how they are helping patients at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children.