If you have a child that is either partly or fully tube-fed and you would like to see them be able to enjoy food in the usual way, you should be looking for someone who can be there to support you and your child from the beginning of the tube weaning process, and be willing to be there until the day comes that your little one accepts food orally.
There are a number of approaches and resources that can be found on the Internet, but it can be very difficult to figure out which of the many tube weaning programs is the right one for your child, and can you trust them or not? We have gathered some valuable information for parents who are looking at finding help with their tube-fed children. Here are seven vital things to consider before choosing a tube feeding program for your child.
Experience is of vital importance
You need to ask any institutions that you are considering working with, how many weanings are done per year. The number should be at least 20, and at least 100 in total.
Evidence also matters a lot
There are a number of institutions that offer tube weaning programs, but they do not bother evaluating and publishing their data. However, general clinical studies and publications are the cornerstones of evidence required to objectively compare the efficiency and safety of the many different tube weaning programs.
Expertise does matter
Do not let any team or individual just try to wean your child off the tube feeding. There is evidence that success demands a team of professionals including a feeding therapist, a pediatrician, and psycho-social care.
Peer groups are important
There is proof that most children who have eating disorders do benefit from being in the presence of other children. Being in the presence of other children actually helps them with their progress with eating and social development. The ideal number of children per group is around 5 and upwards.
Timing plays an important role
It is recommended that weaning start when the child is between 6 and 12 months old, but there are sometimes reasons why a child starts later. If your child is older than 12 months, weaning will require a more individual approach.
- Messy playing with food will not do the job, but it could reduce tactile
- Being hungry is important, but starving a child will not do the job and reducing
feeds without supervision could harm your child.