all right. so i want to start off with a disclaimer, because in parenting, i experience a lot of guilt. and the very last thing i want to do for anyone else, is heap guilt upon them. so please, if you are reading this, do not be like, 'well obviously, i suck because i didn't do that.' not the case. this is what works for our family *end of disclaimer*
when abigail was a baby i made all of her baby food. all of it. we were able to not ever buy one jar of baby food. and i didn't buy any of the other things like puffs or toddler meals. jason and i have both struggled to make good food choices, and we know that what children eat between birth and three, determines a lot of lifetime habits. we wanted to try to give her the best start we were able to. so she ate avocados blended broccoli, beets, and so on and so forth. whether it was because of that or not, i can't say for sure, but she loves foods that lots of other kids her age don't. she likes beets, brussel sprouts, and is even known to ask for raw spinach. i'm so grateful we were able to do this for her, and feel very proud that she got yummy healthy foods in the beginning.
when shilo got her g-tube, it didn't seem like an option. i know that there is definitely an easy factor to heating water and mixing formula in. but in reality, i am feeding my daughter chemically processed foods, when at this point in the game, if she could eat by mouth, she would be drinking whole milk.
so i caught wind of something called a 'blenderized diet for tubies.' i was curious, and did some research. after reading, and just thinking some more i realized i could blenderize healthy foods and give them to shilo through her tube. there is no reason she can't have regular foods. there is no reason my one year old needs to continue to be sustained by formula.
there are lots of ways to go about this. some people keep track of calories. some people have to add extra things to increase calories with smaller volumes because their children won't handle large volumes. some people just blenderize whatever they would have fed their typical child, and push it through the tube.
i'm pretty new to this, but i'm guessing i'll fall more on the lackadaisical side, because there's no reason that shilo needs me to count calories at this point in her life. if she were eating by mouth, i wouldn't be. however, to keep specialist happy, i will likely keep track of at least some of the meals and calories in order to be able to give them a general, 'here's about how much she gets each day.' (specialist can be a little obsessive about numbers.)
okay. so the biggest obstacle in doing all this: blending. making regular baby food is done easily in a food processor or store brand blender. blending things like whole pears, tuna, and crackers into a liquid base that can be pushed through a small tube, not easily done with a regular blender. so i began the search for an awesome blender. i chose a blendtec. they are expensive, but we were willing to do what it took to be able to feed shilo food.
i e-mailed the company to see if they had a medical discount for their blender. they were AMAZING to work with. and we were able to get a blender. it arrived today. i can't tell you how excited i was to push the same meal of tuna, gluten free rice crackers, cottage cheese, carrots, and pear through her tube, that her sister and i were eating. same volume she gets from her formula, more calories, and way healthier.
i know that not everyone gets as excited about nutrition as i do, but this was something, for me, that helped me feel a little more in control of caring for shilo and her needs. i often feel like i'm being told to feed her this much of this, give her this medicine, work on this skill, don't do this with her, and so on and so forth. lots of those things are important, but for many parents, we start to feel overwhelmed by a list of do's and don'ts and begin to feel incapable of making important decisions without a doctors opinion.
i made this decision. i get to decide what to feed my daughter. and i get to feel a little more empowered as a mama. (and a big thank you to blendtec for helping to make this possible and affordable for our family.)