Feeding Tube Food
When you first start the tube feeding process, a specific canned formula will be prescribed to you by your doctor or registered dietitian. These formulas are designed to best meet your individual nutritional needs. It is important to feed the amount prescribed (number of cans per day) as well as the additional water that may be indicated.
In this practice, we are also very strong advocates of using regular food, -anything you’d typically eat that is nutritious. Nearly any food can be processed in a blender using fluid (milk, chicken broth, canned formula). This should be blended until smooth and thin enough to be passed through the tube. In this way, it’s possible for the patient to “eat” the same meal their family is eating. We strongly encourage this!
Feeding Tube Pumps
A feeding tube pump is a machine, similar in nature to an IV pump, whereby the formula is delivered to the stomach at a set amount over the course of several hours. A pump may be used during the initiation of the tube feeding process, allowing for a gradual adjustment to this new way of “eating.” In some cases, prolonged use of a pump is used when larger volumes of food cannot be delivered to the stomach.
Most patient’s typically transition from the pump method to bolus feeding. This term is used to explain when larger volumes of food are delivered through the feeding tube in a relatively short period of time, similar to how we eat meals. A typical bolus feeding may consist of two cans of formula, or a normal sized meal that has been properly processed.
Bolus feeding more closely resembles normal nutritional delivery. Our bodies are used to having full meals delivered to the stomach. For this reason, as well as the cumbersome nature of being connected to a feeding pump, patients are encouraged to transition to the bolus feeding method.