Blenderized Tube Feeding Criteria

These blenderized tube feeding criteria can help you figure out if it is the best decision for your family. After all, as with all healthcare decisions, this one will impact your entire family. The blenderized diet requires careful preparation and storage and the rate and times of the tube feeds may need to be adjusted to promote tolerance. Also be sure to read the article on blenderized formula risks and benefits to help you with your decision.

After all, as with all healthcare decisions, this one will impact your entire family. The blenderized diet requires careful preparation and storage and the rate and times of the tube feeds may need to be adjusted to promote tolerance. A blended diet requires your child receive a G-tube feeding through a thicker tube, among many other things. Read below for the full list of criteria.

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Blenderized Tube Feeding Criteria for Children

  • Appropriate growth: Since there will be a period of trial and error (hopefully not to long!) your child needs to be growing appropriately along his growth curve. For this reason it is not recommended to start this diet with a child who has recently dropped percentiles or is diagnosed with failure to thrive.
  • Ability to meet calorie and nutrient needs with a blended diet: In the beginning the base of the diet will probably be his usual formula. If you want to completely transition to a blended diet of all whole foods however, your child needs to be able to tolerate and thrive on this diet. It is very important to consult with a dietitian to determine if and when your child will be making this step.
  • Medically stable/absence of major health changes: Although your child can have a preexisting condition, the condition must be stable before transitioning to a homemade blended formula.
  • A G-tube of larger than or equal to 14 French. This is necessary to enable the blended formula to go through the tube and not get clogged.
  • A well healed G-tube site with no sign of infection or leakage.
  • Normal bowel movements.
  • A fully functioning gastrointestinal system to enable proper digestion of all foods.

Blenderized Tube Feeding Criteria for Parents

You didn’t think you were let off the hook that easy, did you? It’s just as important that parents fit these criteria as that the child fit the ones above. If you are not meticulously clean and detail oriented, homemade blended formula may not work for your child. Please remember that blending your own formula greatly increases the risk of bacteria over regular formulas. A caregiver needs to meet the following criteria before a blended diet should be tried:

  • Motivated caregivers: Well, since you’re reading this that tells me you are very motivated, so that’s a good sign.
  • Clean kitchens
  • Appropriate equipment: Good blenders such as Vitamix or Blendtec are a must. Some parents do get by with a Magic Bullet, but the above blenders are very highly recommended.
  • The ability to follow recipes and instructions well. If you are unable to do this, it is safer to give your child a regular formula. You need to follow instructions carefully in order to provide the best nutrition in the safest way possible.
  • Resources to obtain appropriate guidance and food: Insurance companies often do not cover visits with a dietitian, and your doctor probably isn’t going to have the time to figure out the details of an appropriate blended feed for your child. Therefore you need to have the money and resources available in the beginning to decide what and when to feed your child through the tube. The food purchased can also be expensive since you cannot usually just puree whatever the family is eating, however this is less of a concern if you have already been paying for formula. Many times a blenderized diet is cheaper than formula.

That’s about all the blenderized tube feeding criteria I can think of. If you and your child meet all of these criteria, a blenderized diet may be a great option. An appointment with a pediatric dietitian to get you going in the right direction is highly recommended, and you should start gradually and monitor tolerance.

If you aren’t sure if the blenderized diet is for you however would like your child to receive a whole foods formula, there is one on the market called Compleat Pediatric. This formula includes vegetables, meat and milk and is a ready to feed formula. If your doctor is against you trying the blended diet or you are unsure if this option is for you, or if your child doesn't meet the blenderized tube feeding criteria, ask him about thisformula. It may be a great compromise and the best of both worlds.

Also remember that just because your child does not currently meet the blenderized tube feeding criteria does not mean he will never meet them. If you have your heart set on homemade blended food, reevaluate him continiously to see if his condition improves and he is now able to try it.

Always remember that the ultimate goal of most tube fed kids is to get off the tube and get them to eat. Good luck with your decision.