MommaMalia Blog: Tales of The Feeding Tube

Posts Tagged ‘Feeding

I wanted to just send a quick post updating you on Malia’s progress. She is 6 years old now with no need for a feeding tube. She is still one of the shorter kids in her class and we still keep a close eye on her weight. Malia is now old enough to know that she has bad eating habits and that she needs to eat better. When she was 2 1/2 I remember praying for the day that she would be this old and FINALLY able to understand that she needs to eat more. That day has arrived!

Malia is a a very active child. She is an All-Star Cheerleader & dancer. I ALWAYS remind the doctor of this. (I also weigh her with her clothes on now. I used to be against weighing her with her clothes so we could get a true weight…but not anymore. She is older now…and every little bit helps, right?) It is actually quite funny. The first time I took her to the cheer gym I looked around and I saw so many super skinny girls flying high in the air (healthy skinny girls…many with six packs) and I looked at my equally as skinny daughter and I said to her, “Malia…I think we found a sport for you.” We have been at the cheer gym for two years now and she loves every minute of it. She knows she can’t cheer with a tube in her nose. I remind her of this on the days she doesn’t want to eat. Sometimes a little threat works every now and then.

My apologies that I don’t post as much as I used to. But our journey with the feeding tube has ended. THANK GOD! I think, that alone, should bring hope to a lot of people who are just starting their feeding tube journey. Especially those with children like mine that have behavioral issues. Just know that it will end!! Do the hard work. Take them to therapy like I took Malia to the FEEDING CENTER at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (CHOP). Feeding time may always be a struggle. Occasionally, it still is in my house. But it is NOTHING like it used to be. NOTHING LIKE IT USED TO BE. It is SO much better. If you are struggling believe me…I understand….and like I said… know that it will get better!

I will not blog very often but i will try to update on Malia as often as I can. I will definitely update her weight and things like that.

I put our story on the web because I didn’t have any information on Feeding Tubes for toddlers. I didn’t even know that FTT existed. I was a scared, confused and upset mother who’s world was spinning around. So if I was like that I knew other people out there had to be like that too. If I couldn’t find much information for myself…well I was going to give… what I knew… to others… so they could be aware of FTT and feel a little better about the whole process.

I hope my blog finds you well and helps in any way.

Here is my go to calorie booster: Pediasure Shakes (In the blue bottle) – I tell her they are sidekicks but they aren’t. (She just likes the name “Sidekicks”) The blue ones are the shakes. I use the shakes because they have more calories than the Sidekicks and they are made specifically for weight gain. Malia LOVES them and I highly recommend them. Here is their website if you want to find out more:

Malia cheering - post feeding tube. She is a happy, healthy, thriving little girl that truly enjoys life.

Malia cheering – post feeding tube. She is a happy, healthy, thriving little girl that truly enjoys life.


From my experience with Feeding Session Bites, here are a few tips I want to pass on that I have learned. If you have any tips for bite sessions feel free to post your ideas in the comment boxs.


Most likely, you will NEVER be able to re-create the environment the Feeding Center provides for Feeding Sessions. You WILL have to deal with multiple distractions at home. So don’t worry about the distractions. Minimize them to the best of your ability and don’t worry if your child does get distracted by things in the home. IT HAPPENS.

*I think I stressed myself out when I first began bite sessions. I tried to re-create the Feeding Center environment at home and quickly realized it was impossible. Distractions were EVERYWHERE!!  If I didn’t relax and give in to the fact, that therapy won’t be as perfect as I had it at the Feeding Center, then I would have made myself absolutely crazy. I didn’t need to put anymore stress on myself and you don’t either. So my advice is…DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.


Major Distractions at Home I Encountered And How I Dealt With It:

Distraction #1:     Pets

*My cat constantly wants to sit on my lap during bits and this is distracting to my daughter. My dogs like to hang out next to us ALL the time and eat the food my daughter might drop on the floor.

-A way I got around this distraction and you can too, is to put them away in a cage or in a room while you are giving bites.


Distraction # 2: Family and Friends

This is a big one. You think your family will cooperate with you…but they may not. Sometimes you family will want to talk to them. Or give attention to your child when your trying to ignore your child. They want to say hello when they come in the door and talk to them when they are trying to chew and swallow. Or bother them while they are eating. Your younger children will try to get your attention. The list goes on and on. Plus, friends can just randomly show up during bites….or call you on the phone…it happens.

1. Talk to your family and friends. Let them know what you are doing. If you have a scheduled time for bites everyday make sure you let people know not to call you during the time. If they are around the bites when it is happening make sure they know NOT to interact or talk to you and your child while bite sessions are happening. (Your child will WANT to get their attention, talk to them or show off for them. As long as your guests and family knows not to give them that attention you child will realize that getting their attention is pointless.)

2. One thing I did when I first started bites at home was make signs letting people know bites we were in session and not to distract us. I hung as sign on the outside door so people who may stop by are aware bites are happening. I also tell my family, in the house, that we are about to do bites and not to bother us.

3. When I babysat my 1 1/2 year old niece I made sure bites where given when she was napping or when she was eating her breakfast in her high chair. I would place her in a place where I could see her  but my daughter could not see her because my daughter would constantly try to get the attention of my niece and my niece would give it to her. Other children in the house are BIG distractions. Do your best to occupy them with toys etc.while your doing bites, if you are alone. If someone is home, have them take care of the little ones while your busy doing bites. If your children are older, try to get bites done before they get home from school. My Step-son is 12 and he still has his moments where he distracts his sister even though he knows not to bother her. It is better if bites are done before he gets home.

4.  Let your family know that they also have a crucial part in Bites and the health of their family member. Their part during therapy is NOT TO DISTRACT you. Tell them that their role is very important and needs to be taken seriously.

5. Don’t exclude your family….include your family. You can involve other children in the house with the therapy sessions by having them help you prep the food and clean up. This will hopefully help the family feel they are involved.  They may not be trained to give the bites but they can help in other ways.

6. Many people will be curious about your therapy sessions. If you feel comfortable enough, allow them to observe you during a session. Of course, make sure stay quietly in the background. By allowing people to observe what you are doing, your friends and family will learn why it is so important that they do not interrupt you or distract your child. Plus, they will be more inclined to understand the importance of therapy and why you are doing it. Surprisingly, especially for the skeptics, they will see that your child is eating better and the bite sessions do work.

Distraction #3: Everything else in the house (Phone, TV, Etc.)

Final thought: All these things I mentioned above, will distract your child. Many things you won’t be able control but you can try to minimize the distractions as much as you can. Administering bites in a quiet closed room is ideal and if you can do it that…then do it. But if you are like me and your main floor with the kitchen, dinning room and living area is a great room where everything is open… then try to minimize the distractions to the best of your ability. Don’t stress out too much. The important thing is that your child eats all of their bites. If this is accomplished…even with distractions…you have achieved your goal and should be proud of that.


TIP #2: (USE THE TIME TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Bites don’t always have to be Tedious)

Well, we are back to eating bites again at least twice a day. Malia gets bites at breakfast and lunch. She eats snacks during the day and eats dinner with the family at night. If she starts to gain a lot of weight…I def. know that I can’t slack on giving her structured bites. Just relying on regular unstructured meals won’t cut it. I also upped the amount of bites from 35 to 40 bites. It takes us about 30 min to serve her the bites…it can take longer if she pockets a lot. 12 min. or so to prep the bites and 10 min. to clean up after the bites.

Sample of what she had for breakfast:

*Feed Cup#1 – Cup #5 (Repeat 8 times)

Cup #1: One large Strawberry chopped and sprinkled with sugar

Cup #2: La Creme Yoguart

Cup #3: Whole Wheat Toast w/ Nutella cut up

Cup #4: Applesauce

Cup #5: Cream of Wheat w/ Whole Milk and Honey

As you can see…bites does give you a well rounded nutritious meal and it is a lot of food. (Even though it doesn’t look like it presented in the cups)

Here are some food items I use with her bites:


Serving size per cup

Calories: 140  Total Fat: 5g Carbs: 20g  Protein: 5g

2. NUTELLA (Found in the Peanut Butter Isle)

Serving size 2 TBSP

Calories: 200  Total Fat: 11g  Carbs: 22g  Protein: 3g



I hope everyone is enjoying their Valentine’s day. I don’t have too much time to write today. I have been REALLY sick this past week and it has set me behind in every aspect of my life. But, I promised I would update you on Malia’s new weight. I finally got her insurance again and was able to take her to the doctor’s office.

Age: 4 and 2 months

Weight: 12.7 kg (28lb)

height 0.96 m (3′ 1.8″)

2.07% growth percentile for weight

9.52% growth percentile for height

6.25% growth percentile for BMI

As you can see her weight dropped 2 lbs from November when we last saw the feeding team. It is a little set back but we will pull it up. I keep reminding myself that EVERYONE has set backs every now-and-then. We had a set back last summer when we went to Disney World. It will get better. As far has her mental development, she is fine. At Age 4 check up they check hearing and sight. She passed both of those tests. She even told the lady during her sight test that the moon she was pointing to was a crescent moon. Took the nurse by surprise. She was right. It was a Crescent shaped moon. HAHA. That just proves that an FTT kid can be smart as a whip!

We have an appointment in the first week of March to visit the feeding team for a check up. I am going to do my best to put some weight on her so they don’t even remotely consider tube feeds again. I knew, from home weighings, that she was around 28.5 lbs.  So, I knew I was going to get a number similar to that. The only reason I think she dropped a little more weight is because I have been sick with a stomach virus for the past few days and it was REALLY hard to feed her well, being sick. For two days I could barley pull my self off the couch and I only got off the couch in order to tend to her needs and feed her. Other then that…I couldn’t do too much. It’s not easy taking care of kids when your sick. It is almost like you have to be super human with a super human immune system so you NEVER get sick and can ALWAYS be there to clean house, take care of the kids and cook dinner when your husband comes home from work. If I go down…the whole house goes down with me. LOL The life of a Homemaker.

Anyways, I kinda went off on a tangent. HAHA. But if you were wondering what her new weight was for comparison…there it is.


Maila does not not have insurance right now. I am still having issues with the state. Malia has government insurance which is great insurance but having it can have it’s draw backs. There is a LOT of red tape and sometimes you can fall through the cracks and it takes a long time to fix issues. That is what is happening to us. Someone entered the wrong information while processing our paper work and my daughter got dropped from her insurance. They are fixing it but it is taking awhile.  Unfortunately this is delaying medical care….but I can’t complain too much because it is government insurance and the insurance is great. Her doctors are great…the care is great. So, I am just waiting for everything to work its self out and hopefully we can get Malia seen by a doctor really soon.

However, in the mean time, I weighed Malia “UNOFFICIALLY” on the scale at home and was suprised by the weight…but not in a good way.

The last time she saw a doctor, back in the fall, she FINALLY reached 30 lbs and was in the 10% for her weight. She got taller and the doctors loved her progress. A few weeks later I started helping my husband at work and had to slow down on the bite sessions we were having. Thus reverting back to her eating food on her own, unstructured. I weighed her in December and she dropped weight to 29.5 lbs. Not much, but I was not too concerned because she does that sometimes. Holidays hit….her birthday hit and life got crazy busy. I new she was not eating as well and bite sessions slowed even more because we didn’t have as much time to focus on them. If any of you do therapy bites….you know it takes a lot time out of your day to do them. So I was a little afraid to weigh her again on my home scale. This is when I started to become nervous that she was loosing more weight. Well, I went ahead and weighed her a few days ago and she dropped to 28.5 lbs. I don’t know how this is in reference to her percentage since I can’t take her to the doctor’s office. I blame myself for her regression and realized that she isn’t ready to eat in unstructured ways all the time. The structured meals work. Even though I don’t always like to give them and I think they are tedious…they are necessary and I should be doing them more.

It just goes to show you that FTT can wear you out. You can get burned as a parent constantly having to deal with feeding tube woes, therapy, doctors visits and so on. Always having your game face on all the time isn’t as easy but it is necessary. If you ever get burned out by FTT, don’t worry I have been there…heck, I am there! Don’t worry or feel bad. It happens. We are all human and these things happen. I remind myself every day that I have to remain positive and pro active for my child in order for her to be healthy and thriving. That is why Malia and I are back to doing our bites more often.   Hopefully, in a few weeks, I will be blogging about how her weight being better and how we are back on track.

If you are tracking your child’s weight with my child’s weight…28.5 lbs is the new number. Malia is 4 now.

Hope this blog finds all of you and your children well!

Hugs, Tianna

Hello all,

I hope that your Thanksgiving holiday was great! We ate a wonderful meal at my mother-in-law’s then I went and Black Friday Christmas shopped from 10PM to 7Am!!! I swear that someday we will be skipping Thanksgiving all together and going straight to Christmas. All of these stores opening earlier and earlier every year is getting to be ridiculous. Toys R Us was open at 1oPm! I got there at 11PM and waited in line OUTSIDE in the freezing cold till 12:30AM just to get in the store!!!!! That is how long the line was! INSANE!!!

So what is going on with us….A lot, as always. I used to babysit at home to make extra money but recently stopped doing that. I strictly became a full time “Homemaker” around August. Hadn’t been a full time Homemaker since she was 1 year old. I loved every min. of being at home with Malia and was excited to being doing just that. Now that I was not babysitting, I was able concentrate on just Malia and her needs. We got a lot of bite sessions in and my house was cleaner. Unfortunately, my husband still wanted me to bring in some sorta income. He didn’t like the fact that I quit babysitting. Our family business is expanding and he really wanted me to come work there.  So 3 to 4 days a week Malia and I now head to work.   I can only stay there for so long. She gets too stressed out if I put in a full day. Yesterday I worked from 11am to 5pm. She fell asleep in the car on the way home and refused to wake up until 8pm! She was up all night! It has been an adjustment for the both of us. I don’t mind helping out at the business but I really did like being at home.

Malia is also not getting her Bite Sessions in as much. Eating at the shop is very distracting to her and she tends to not eat very well there. She takes a really long time to eat when we don’t eat in a “Structured” way. This leads me to share with you one of a few issues we have been having with her eating, Post Tube. We shared this concern with her doctors at her last feeding team appointment. I hope to share with you more post tube issues and concerns we are dealing with in later blogs.

One of our biggest obstacles is how SLOWLY Malia likes to eat in her UNSTRUCTURED meal times. Sometimes I will literally sit for over an hour trying to get her to eat dinner. She will accept the food but chews it so slowly  that l I swear she is trying to turn the food into atoms before she swallows them. Plus, I feel like a broken record telling her time and time again to chew and swallow. There are times she will just stop eating all together and I have to remind her to continue eating. She gets very distracted during meal times and tends to forget to chew and swallow. She does this slow eating at the shop too and it is frustrating because I can’t focus on her eating as much as I could have at home and i feel like she is not getting enough food during the day.

My husband and I asked the feeding team doctors if some children just don’t have that urge to want to eat. You know, that desire to WANT to eat food. Like a chemical is not there in their heads to make them want to eat. We feel, our daughter could care less about food and just doesn’t have that drive to eat like most people do. In our opinion, eating is a chore to her. So we were curious to see what they thought about this. The CHOP psychologist told us that some people are like that. Some people don’t have the urge to eat as much as others do. It is not necessarily a bad thing but for adults…but for children it…it can be a problem. She gave it a name but I can’t remember what she told us it was called. The Gastro told me that one of Malia’s problems is that she doesn’t drink a lot of calories. Some children who don’t eat a lot of food usually make up the lack of calories in their drinking. Since Malia doesn’t like to drink a lot and when she does drink, she prefers water…she doesn’t make up her calories with her liquid intake. That is why we really have to push the food. And that is why….at one point…when she wasn’t eating well or drinking well we had to resort to supplementing her with the feeding tube.

Hopefully, Malia and I can find our grove,with my new work schedule, and working out of the house will not effect her health negatively.

I hope that your Christmas season is merry…and yes, I say CHRISTmas! LOL!

What ever holiday you celebrate may it be awesome!!!! I know ours will!

Oh, Malia turns 4 very soon. December 24th. Yes, she is a Christmas eve baby!! My little present from God. It’s a busy season for our family and I love every min. of it. =0)



Once again it has been awhile since I have posted so I am going to try to catch you up.

Wow! What a busy time it has been in our lives. Malia has started pre-school. As a stay-at-home-mom it is hard to let her go somewhere with out me during the day but it is fun to watch her make new friends. She has been doing very well in school. I have been keeping tabs on her eating with constant updates from her teachers. They have reported to me that she eats her snacks very well and have not had any problems getting her to eat or with pocketing. My daughter has recently befriended a little boy in the class and struck up a little romance.  He asked her to be his girlfriend one day and she accepted. LOL She came home the other day and said she had a boyfriend. My husband and I thought it was really cute. We laughed when she couldn’t remember what his name was. Ahhh, children at this age are so innocent. The teacher told me they are best buddies in class. They sit next to each other during snack time, eat together and chit chat. They believe that he is a good influence on her eating.

Malia goes to back to CHOP in November. I will let you know what happened. I think we are going to get a good report. She is doing very well on her own. Bites are annoying but helpful. She is showing great progress in wanting food and pockets less. Her eating style is still very slow but hopefully, as she gets older, that will improve too. If CHOP decides that she is doing well with out the feeding tube then I will be able to call the CHOP supply rental place and return all of the feeding tube supplies!! Oh happy day! Hopefully CHOP will feel confident that she will not need a feeding tube any more.

I have already been preparing Malia for the “FeedingTube Fairy” to visit our house after the feeding supplies have left. She is VERY excited. We are going to Target this weekend to get ideas on what prize she may want the “Feeding Tube Fairy” to bring her. I am making a big deal about this and hyping it up. I want her to feel a great sense of accomplishment. FTT has been quite a journey for all of us but mostly for her. She deserves to be happy and to not fear the Feeding Tube anymore. She truly is my little hero. She has had to endure a lot. I can’t imagine what it is like to have  a feeding tube inserted down your nose and then have to wear it on your face like a scarlet letter. It is not like she is a little baby who doesn’t really know what is going on. She is 3 years old. Fully conscious of the tube…totally scared of the tube. My baby. She is so brave.

Here is a link to my Blog about what a “Feeding Tube Fairy” is:

* Side note: This past weekend I joined over 2,200 walkers and crew in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in Philadelphia. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Walking 60 miles and raising $2,300 to participate seemed like a daunting task back in April when I signed up to do it. Through perseverance and determination I was able to help fight against Breast Cancer and also personally reach goals mentally and physically that I thought I could reach. It was amazing! You should try it sometime. I am including in this update a few photos from my walk. Enjoy!!!

Malia visits me in holding before closing ceremonies. She was cheering on the other walkers just arriving after walking 60 miles in 3 days.

My mommy walked for me because some day I will have boobies and she doesn't want me to have to grow up with cancer or knowing someone with Breast cancer.

My family came out to support me during my walk.

My teammate and I after finish our walk on the final day

This is a house along our walking route that was decorated for our Breast Cancer Walk. We got so much "support" on our walk from everyone. It is great!



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