Bolus feeds – the syringe is in your hand. Feeding a child via g-tube for medical reasons presents many opportunities – some good, some NOT so good.
When feeding blended meals via bolus there is an opportunity to cause gastritis and reflux. Here’s how:
When I swallow, about 5 ml of fluid goes down my esophagus with each swallow. My stomach can handle that. Even if I gulp a glass of water without taking a breath, my stomach can handle that although it doesn’t feel completely comfortable. If I did that with everything I ingest I don’t think my stomach would be very happy. Our stomachs shrink between meals. When eating, the stomach has a chance to stretch and accommodate the food (or liquid) swallowed.
When feeding via bolus, it isn’t hard to push in 60 ml (twelve swallows) VERY quickly – faster than twelve swallows would occur. This is annoying to a stomach. If the stomach does not stretch quickly enough to accept the food, the only alternative is for the food to go out the other opening available – the esophagus. That is similar to vomiting. Food and stomach acid go into the esophagus. REFLUX! This is rather painful and not at all healthy.
If the stomach does stretch enough to accept the food, the stomach is probably irritated (gastritis) which is also not comfortable, although it can exist without symptoms.
I have the very bad tendency to do everything as quickly as I possibly can. So guess what – I push syringes too fast!! This is not good for my daughter!
I count while I’m pushing a syringe. One and Two and Three and Four and Five… and I focus on going slowly enough that the syringe isn’t empty until I get to twenty. I do this in an effort to NOT SPEED FEED!
All the work I do to keep my daughter healthy extends from recipe preparation to food delivery and beyond. Sometimes it is hard to stay focused on details – I could, after 9+ years – do this in my sleep. So posting this is as much to help ME as it is to help you.
Remember – I am not a doctor and everything I present here is my best guess based on my own research and experience. Check with your doctor on all topics!