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Navigating the Holiday Season with a Feeding Tube

29 Oct 2021

The holiday flurry is rushing in with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and every other joyous reason to celebrate now until the New Year. What do these holidays have in common that can pose a challenge to those of us with a feeding tube? You got it — food. Here are four tips to help you and your family enjoy a smoother, more festive season with a feeding tube.

  1. Set Your Goals. There’s no ironclad approach on how to embrace the holidays with a feeding tube. However, one important step is to determine in advance what is right for you and your family so you don’t feel caught in a situation.

    Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation has a helpful section on their website with holiday tips which includes, “Sometimes the best choice is simply not to participate in a holiday meal. Visit with family or friends before or after the meal. If this is not possible, feel free to take a walk during the meal or simply go in another room. After all, what is most important is being with family and friends. Food is just one of many possible ways to celebrate. It is not the only way to make treasured memories.”

    Conversely, you might set a goal to participate in holiday meals. Mealtime is an important opportunity for socialization and development for children and there’s ways children with a feeding tube can be involved in family mealtime.

    For example, plan an activity that can take place along with the meal such as having everyone go around the table and say what they are thankful for or what their wish is for the New Year.
  2. Notify Friends and Family in Advance. Well-intended loved ones may unintentionally make holiday celebrations more challenging by not understanding your specific needs or personal goals, especially when it comes to traditions centered around food. Explain your plan in advance. This will help alleviate any confusion and make everyone feel more comfortable on the day of the gathering.

    For example, you can inform your guests that you or your child will (or will not) be “eating” during the meal, but you’re still excited to be sitting at that table with everyone to celebrate. During these pre-event discussions, consider taking the opportunity to shift the holiday emphasis completely off of food and onto gratitude.

    The Oley Foundation offers great advice for scaling holiday hurdles including making a special effort to thank the people who support you. Kind words nourish us all.
  3. Dial Up Your Other Senses. The holidays are such a sensory time of year, especially because of food. While taste may take a backseat for you or your loved one because of tube feeding, you can still make the other four senses holiday happy. Listen to your favorite holiday songs while running errands in the car. Watch a holiday classic movie with the family such as Miracle on 34th Street.

    Feel the holidays come to life with crafty, DIY sparkly decorations. You can help your child decorate pumps, gravity feeding bags and feeding backpacks with decorations that do not interfere with the nutrition delivery or the proper functioning of the equipment. You can also enjoy the sweet, festive aroma of holiday spices such as cinnamon. Did you know that cinnamon is one of the ingredients in Compleat® Organic Blends Plant-based Blend? Selected for its pleasing aroma and after taste, the scent of cinnamon can add to the holiday spirit.
  4. Stock Up On Supplies Now. Being prepared is a staple for tube-fed families. With the holiday frenzy upon us, it is even more important to have what you need for your tube feeds before you actually need it. Compleat® Organic Blends users posted their holiday tips on our Facebook page.

    “Have extra supplies such as backup button, backup pump and charger. Also have Compleat® Organic Blends on hand at all times,” says Kristinia R., a mom with a tubie son. Amy F. echoes that thought with, “Always have an extra supply bag in your car packed ahead of time. The holidays are stressful enough and that way, if you forget something, you have a backup.”

    The key to managing tube feedings away from home is to make sure you have all the equipment and formula you or your child will need. You can also stock up on portable activities for your child to enjoy in the car or at the holiday table.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Compleat® Organic Blends!

No endorsement of any brand or product by the Oley Foundation or the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation is implied or intended.

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