When it comes to feeding, the most important thing is for your child to be fed and for them to be receiving adequate nutrition and calories so that they can grow and thrive. In some instances tube feeding is required to ensure you baby/child is achieving this.
If your child is currently being fed via a nasogastric tube (NGT) or PEG and they need help, the following behaviours and skills can be addressed in therapy to assist in with a tube wean or decreasing their tube feeds.
- Assessing their oral motor skills to establish if they have the skills to be weaned from their tube.
- Developing their oral skills to ensure they can obtain adequate oral intake.
- Increasing the volume that your baby/child is currently eating/drinking orally.
- Decreasing their oral aversion with the aim of increasing their willingness to eat/drink.
- Normalising their gag reflex with the aim of transitioning onto appropriate foods. Increasing the range of foods that they will consume.
- Assessing their safety with eating and drinking. Ensuring that your baby/child is not aspirating and recommending appropriate foods for their skill level.
Tube weaning is always implemented as a team approach.
Working closely with your baby/child’s paediatrician, gastroenterologist and dietitian is essential when weaning your child from their tube.
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