Feeding Tube Awareness Day
Today is National Feeding Tube Day, which is a special day for many people. Many individuals require a feeding tube to get the daily nutrients to keep them alive and thriving. My son had to have a feeding tube for the first month of his life. He was born prematurely at 34 weeks and one day via emergency c-section due to eclampsia. He was born weighing 4 lbs. and 11 oz and 18 ½ inches long. I could not see or hold my son for three days after he was delivered on April the 8th of, 2022. My husband took pictures for me. He showed me how beautiful he was so I would not miss anything important about his health or growth. Seeing the first photo of my baby with that feeding tube in his mouth broke my heart.
What Does This Mean for His Future
Not because of its purpose but because I knew what that meant for him in the future. The tube was moved to his nose because he tried to pull it out continuously. They also had to tape the slack of the tube to his cheek with medical tape so that he would not pull it out to where the nurses would have to reinsert the tube. He was given donor breastmilk and medicine through his tube to help him gain weight so his NICU stay would not be extended for a long period.
Trying to Breastfeed
I was able to try and breastfeed him while the tube was in his nose, but all the wires made things a bit difficult. I had to turn to pumping my breastmilk. Then placing it in sterilized bottles or syringes. Next labeling them and what time they were finished. Lastly, handing them off to the nurses for them to add to his nightly feeds in his main tube. He got some of my breast milk and was supplemented with donor milk until my mature milk came in. One time during his NICU stay, he had pulled his tube out, and the nurses had to switch nostrils and replace the tubing with a brand new one, along with adding the tape to his other cheek again. The nurses said he did not care about this experience and was in pain during the transition.
Feeding Tubes (NG and G Tubes)
Feeding tubes (NG and G tubes) are inserted through the nose or mouth, and they must keep pushing it through until it reaches the abdominal wall leading to the stomach. The procedure itself is painful, and it is painful to watch a loved one, especially a preemie infant, go through all that pain and discomfort. They do not know what is happening or why it is being inserted multiple times. He tried to claw at it while we held him, and it broke my heart to see him in pain. But I knew there was the silver lining of hope that he would not have one of these tubes forever, and they were sustaining him and helping him gain weight so we could take him home.
End Goal for My Preemie
While my mama’s heart broke to watch him be in pain, I knew that our end goal was in sight and that my sweet boy would come home with us happy and healthy. He is now almost ten months old and is the happiest (and chunkiest) baby ever! Baby probably weighs well into the 20s, and his pediatrician is pleased with his growth along the weight charts for his age group. He now takes formula (8 oz bottles every 4-5 hours) and eats table food/baby food. Encourage any mamas who have a preemie baby with a feeding tube to do your research on them!
They also have plenty of educational classes and qualified professionals to guide you through the process and answer any questions or concerns regarding the tubes. They may look scary, but the tubes keep your baby alive. And that is all that matters! I am thankful for them now and how they helped my son gain the weight he desperately needed to thrive. This day will forever have a special meaning to my family and me every time we look at my sweet son’s face!
Yayi Side Note
Uhm, this baby is delicious. He is fat, happy, satisfied with life, and WELL loved amongst his tribe. Maybe I am biased, but my grandchildren are better than all the cheese and coke in the whole world. That is a blog post for a different day. My daughter and son-in-law are rocking this parenting thing!