This is why my family is entirely comfortable around people with feeding tubes. We're used to weirdness already.
Regardless of the damage to our bank account, I am forever grateful to the makers of Neocate. At one point, the only thing Little Dude could ingest was Neocate. He was allergic to everything else.
That is not an exaggeration.
I started out breastfeeding Little Dude, and gradually eliminated foods from my diet that seemed to be causing him gastrointestinal pain. As his allergy tests came back, I would drop more foods. Eventually, I was pretty much eating pork, potatoes, and lettuce, and he was still not healthy.
Our pediatric allergist gently broke it to me that I had to stop breastfeeding. Non-prescription "hypoallergenic" formula, like Alimentum, still had too many whole proteins in it. We had to go down to the elements that form the proteins, which meant Neocate.
Little Dude thrived on Neocate. You would never have known, to look at him, that he couldn't eat any foods. What can I say? We are grateful for the credit card debt. Best money we ever spent.
In almost every culture, meals are the most important social activities. Families revolve around mealtimes; a party isn't a party without food. We skipped a lot of social events because they were food-focused, which meant they were both unsafe and depressing. And holidays broke my heart.
None of my children has ever needed a feeding tube, so I can't speak for those parents. What I'd like to say to my friends with "tubie" kids, though, is this:
- Your child is beautiful. The NG tube or the "extra belly button" does not change that one bit.
- Feeding your child is the most basic of maternal instincts. You are feeding your child, even if it's not the most traditional route.
- Dude. This is hard, and you're doing an awesome job.
Video courtesy of www.feedingtubeawareness.com.