Saturday, July 17, 2010

Make your own G-tube feeds and baby food! Baby Mirical GROW!

I have always believed that what you eat affects how you feel.  I also think that the ability to heal and grow is related to what you put into your body.  For months our little baby Henry struggled to gain weight and grow.  In March he had a G-tube placed so that his lungs could heal from chronically aspirating.  I pumped and gave him breast milk through the tube for as long as I could.  Eventually, I think due to exhaustion, I just wasn't making any more milk.  We fortified a hypoallergetic formula to give him extra calories, however he still struggled to keep weight on and just wasn't growing.  After the failed surgery back in May, I met a new nutritionist while we were in the hospital.  She gave me a recipe for making a REAL food formula that I could put through his G-tube.  At first I wasn't sure what I thought about it.   Of course it is so much easier to just mix formula with water.  However, with months of Henry being "failure to thrive" I was willing to try anything. 

Armed with a recipe for optimal health I headed to the store to buy my fresh ingredients.  The original recipe calls for the jar puree baby food.  I have modified this to use REAL food because I feel like it is fresher.  I use baby food if I don't have the time or have run out of prepared food.   Some other tricks if you don't have a lot of time is to by frozen veggies that you can cook and and then puree. 

Whenever there is organic meat on sale, I buy some to make for dinner and I buy an extra pound to cook for Henry.  I  usually use Salmon, Lamb, Bison, and chicken.  Salmon has the omega oils, which  have so many wonderful benefits, including the reducing of inflammation in the body.   Which is why I always include a pediatric dose of liquid omega oil in my feed (you can get this at vitamin cottage in the children's section).  Lamb and Bison are supposed to have the highest iron content of meat, and since Henry was once anemic, I like to alternate those meats.   I cook them the same way I would for my family except I exclude the spices.  Then I puree the meat and usually use it's own broth left in the pan to dilute it.  This way, I can puree it to a very thin tecture.  After much trial and error, I have found that this step is really important so that your feed thin enough that it wont get stuck in the G-tube.  If needed, you can add water, juice or milk to thin the meats more.  Since I am concerned about Henry getting the most calories possible, I usually thin the meats with milk, rather than water.   I then take the pureed meat and pour it into individual ice trays.  Freeze it overnight and then put the different meats in labeled bags.  You can do this with the veggies too.  There is some prep work but I usually try to do the ice trays after I go grocery shopping or whenever I have extra meat and vegetables on hand.  This way, it is so easy to just grab a few ice cubes of meat and veggies, thaw and then make your feed!  Ladies, you can do this step to make your own baby food.  Just take your left over potatoes or meat and make your ice cube trays at night and before you know it you will have a whole stash of fresh baby food.  With organic baby food being 0.69 to 0.89 cents per jar, you will SAVE A TON of money--believe me it is worth it, plus it is SO MUCH healthier for your baby.   You can use whatever veggies you'd like when you make the G-tube feed, however I typically always use half an avacado as one of my vegetables and then usually do a squash or have some ice cube trays of a prepared veggie.   Yams and Sweet potatoes are the quickest baby veggitable to make if you are low on your premade veggies.  Just wrap a sweet potatoe in plastic wrap and put it in the microwave for about 5 minutes (more if it's a big one) and WAH LAH--smash it up and instant baby food! 

So that's the prep work so you have some fresh meats and veggies frozen and ready to go.  Now for the recipe.  Now, this recipe was given to me and the original format says it is 1000 calories for the entire 33ish ounces that you should have when all is said and done.  Thus is approximately 33 cal per oz formula.  However, if you are using half an avacado for one of your vegetables, I can assure you this will boost the calories plus add lots of good fats.   I have also use less cereal and more oil because the original recipe was too thick and kept getting stuck in the tube.

YOU CAN ALSO GIVE THIS BY MOUTH

This may surprise you, but this feed actually tastes great.  For those of you who have children who have to take thickend liquids, I have used simply thick to make this a honey consistency and I have spoon fed it to Henry and he LOVES it!!!
I honestly believe that you could get your toddler to drink this, because it is very sweet because of the juice and honey (or sweetner of your choice) that is used.  If you have a toddler that is underweight I would highly suggest trying to get him/her to drink this.    This homemade formula is much more nutritious than the toddler formulas on the market and will cost half as much to make yourself.  Once you get used to making it, it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

 You can modify this template to meet your childs needs.  I have sometimes used half prune juice in mine when I thought Henry was getting a little bit constipated.  I alternate veggetables, meats, juices, sweetners and oils to make sure Henry is getting a variety of nutrients.   For those of you who want to give this to your child by mouth, you can use yogurt or a bannana to make it thicker or more like a shake, or even try frozen fruit in place of the honey

AMAZING RESULTS
This formula has changed Henry's health.  He is active and growing and his skin looks amazing.  A few months ago, I looked at his pale skin and his thin body and was horrified that he would never regain his health. 

My secret ingredient is Braggs Apple Cider vinigar.  There are so many health benefits of apple cider vinigar, but you don't use the cheap stuff, you have to use the REAL Apple Cider.  For more infor see http://www.bragg.com/
It is known to help with acid reflux, which is why I use it in Henry's formula, because he has severe reflux.  I honestly believe this formula has helped him heal.  I just want other mom's to have the benefits of this formula, I wish some had given me this recipe months ago!

I am so thankful to say that Henry is completely free of all of his respiratory symptoms.   He is the healthiest he has ever been in his life.  He is off of all of his medications except the reflux medications which the ENT really wants me to keep him on until his surgery.  A few weeks ago I started feeding him by mouth again, and for the first time ever he is swallowing without any difficulty, coughing or respiratory distress.  To me this is a mirical!

So here it is for you to enjoy it's benefits!  I hope it makes your baby grow and thrive like it has Henry.  Please let me know how it works for you!  And let me know if you have any questions.

Approximately 1000 cal Gtube feed, or protein drink (33 cal per oz)

2 cups milk (soy, or regular)
1 cup juice (make sure you buy REAL 100 % fruit juice.  Read the labels because some are all sugar and only 15% juice. Even better make your own)
3 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil
6 tablespoons of infant rice or oat cereal (if your baby cannot tolerat this use a different starch like squash or sweet potatoe)
2  2.5 oz jars of baby food meat (or about 2 ice cubes of prepared meat or fish)
2  4oz jars of baby food veggies (or about 4 ice cubes of prepared veggies or 2 ice cubes and half an avacado)
liquid baby vitamin supplement (dose per baby's doctor or per weight specifications on bottle)
liquid baby omega oil supplement (dose per baby's weight/age specifications on bottle)

Optional secret ingredients (I believe these do wonders to heal the gut and boost the immune system)
probiotic powder (obtain from pediatrician--dose per instuctions)
Braggs Apple cider vinigar (2 tsp)

NOTE: THIS FORMULA IS INTENDED FOR BABIES OVER ONE YEAR OF AGE AND SHOULD NEVER BE USED FOR INFANTS.
Disclaimer:  This advice is not medical in nature and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.  All children who are failure to thrive or have swallowing problems should be followed closely by a doctor and may need to be evaluated by an occupational therapist of speech pathologist. 

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