Tube feeding – an introduction

A small warning in advance: this is only the first of many articles on the subject of tube feeding. Because this topic is really very extensive. Of course it is. After all, it’s about our food. One of the most important things in life. There are also countless books, blogs, YouTube channels and TV shows on this topic for oral nutritionists. So why should it be any different for us? So please be patient if the specific question you are interested in is not yet covered here. In any case, there is an extra category on this blog for tube feeding. And if you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to contact me at any time!

There is special tube feeding

For those who are new to the whole subject of feeding tubes, I would like to take this opportunity to briefly point out that special tube feeds are actually available. This means that nobody has to spend hours in the kitchen pureeing their lunch and adding water until it finally fits through the thin tube of the feeding tube. You can do this in principle. (At least if it really is a feeding tube. Because even if it is filled differently, our stomach continues to work as before). Nevertheless, I would personally recommend opting for the tube feeding offered. At least if you have a PEG. This tube is very thin and can easily become blocked. I would always use a button tube for feeding pureed food. These are also available with a larger diameter, they are shorter (so there is less chance of blockages) and, in the worst case, they can be replaced without surgery. More on pureed food through a feeding tube in another post.

There are a number of manufacturers

Incidentally, there are several manufacturers of tube feeds. Starting with well-known brands in the medical sector, through family-run companies that are actually known for baby food, to – sometimes small – companies that specialize in tube feeds. As a rule, there is always more than just one type of food per manufacturer. So you have a choice. Even if not quite as much as the oral tasters in the supermarket. Nevertheless, you should take a closer look at what you are feeding your body. Trying things out is of course also allowed. Furthermore, nobody has to stick to one food or one food manufacturer for their entire life. I have also changed my food several times in my life with PEG. I will be explaining in more detail in a separate post what needs to be considered when changing tube feeds.

Still much to discuss

As a general rule, official tube feeds must be fully balanced. This means that it must contain all vitamins and nutrients so that someone can be fed exclusively on it. In principle, you can’t go far wrong with official tube feeding. From this point of view, tube feeding is much easier than oral feeding. But as with oral food, the devil is in the detail with tube feeding. For example, what if you have an increased energy requirement? What about allergies? What if you have stool problems? Or what if you simply lose your appetite when you read the list of ingredients because it reads more like a chemistry set than lunch? As you can see, there is still a lot to discuss in this category. More posts, including tests and presentations of individual tube feeds, will follow. If you have any specific questions, please write them in the comments!