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Four Strategies to Bond with Your Baby While Tube Feeding

Registered Dietitians
06/17/20  2:59 PM PST
bond with your baby while tube feeding

Getting the news that you cannot breast or bottle feed your child can be difficult to hear. It can make you feel lonely, worried, and heartbroken. But even though you may not be able to nourish your child as you planned, you can still comfort and bond with your baby during feedings.

1. Snuggle with Your Baby during Feeds

Put your phone away and turn off the TV so you can give your full attention to your child. Holding your baby close during feeding times will help you and your child bond. Your smell, warmth, and eye contact may help calm your baby, especially during stressful times. Oxytocin, often referred to as the cuddle hormone, is released when people touch or bond socially. This promotes feelings of love and well-being. Snuggling with your baby will increase oxytocin levels for both of you!

2. Schedule Feeds to Work with Your Child’s Hunger & Fullness Cues

Ask your doctor or dietitian if you child’s feeding schedule can be modified to better fit you and your baby’s needs. Sometimes the routine that you received from the hospital or doctor’s office doesn’t work well when you get home. Understanding and responding to your baby’s hunger cues can make the feeding experience more personal and positive and improve the bond with your baby while tube feeding.

3. Offer Tastes During Feedings

Check with your doctor, and if your baby is able to have small amounts of breastmilk, formula or pureed foods, happily offer some on your finger. This will help your child to develop their taste sensations.

4. Reach Out & Get Support

Having a tube fed child can be trying and there will be ups and downs. You are not alone. Find comfort in support groups, with your child’s care team members, or parents of other tube fed kiddos. The Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation provides resources to help families navigate tube feeding, including troubleshooting, education and support.

DISCLAIMER: This information is designed for customer use only and does not represent the advice of a medical health professional. Please contact your doctor for explicit advice on your prescription and/or feeding program.


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