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More Problems Parents of Tube-Fed Kids Have

IMG_2676 problems with tube fed kids

Apollo fell asleep in my lap at 3:30 yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t too worried about this nap interfering with nighttime sleep, since it was still fairly early. Apollo’s “nap time” has been non-existent for a year or so. I won’t go into all of the details about why, but if you’re a regular reader, I’m sure you get it. Anyway, a couple of times a week he falls asleep in the afternoon, so yesterday’s nap didn’t concern me. I was already having a rough day. The break was nice. An hour passed while he slept. Then two. Chuck returned home from work, we had dinner, and still, Apollo slept on. I knew Chuck was taking Hezekiah to Webelos but somehow forgot, as I do every week it seems, that he was also taking my teens to youth group. This meant an evening with none of my big helpers. Judah, the sweet boy that he is, offered to stay home and lend a hand. As kind as the offer was, I declined.

I put Mordecai, Jubilee, Hezekiah, and Tucker on dish duty. After some initial groans, they ended up singing and dancing and having a grand old time doing the dishes.

Apollo finally woke up. At 7:15. Dinner was long over, but he asked for hot, buttery popcorn to eat. He chowed down while I read a couple of chapters out of Winter Camp then put the children to bed. It was a long day. A hard day, but it ended well.

IMG_2650 problems with tube-fed kids

Except, of course, I didn’t get to put Apollo to bed, since he’d only been awake for 45 minutes at that point. Iris arrived home, just in time for Apollo to cling to her. They sat on the couch together and Apollo talked her ear off. He told her about books and movies and superheroes.

Chuck, Hezekiah, and the teens arrived home.

In the end, we didn’t get Apollo to bed until just after ten. He settled in between me and Chuck. I prepared his formula, programmed the pump, placed the extension into his mic-key, hooked him up to the bag of formula, pushed “start” and turned out the lights. We lay there for less than two minutes when Apollo said, “I need to go pee”.

I paused the pump, unhooked the extension from his mic-key, turned on the light, and took him to the bathroom. Back into bed, hook him up again, and press “resume”. I swear it took longer to hook and unhook than it took for him to empty his pint-sized bladder.

IMG_2653 problems with tube fed kids

And he slept. And slept hard. In fact, when I awoke to Chuck’s alarm this morning, I couldn’t even remember Apollo stirring at all during the night.


The first clue that something was wrong was the smell. A very distinct vanilla smell wafting through my room could only mean one thing. Formula. Formula that was neither in the pump bag nor my son’s stomach. The next clue was the soaking wet sheets. And pillow. And pajamas. And boy. (I’m quite perceptive. If I ever decide to give up my job as a photographer and homeschool mom, I could probably get a gig as a detective!) Somehow, in the night, the medicine port on his extension tube opened up and we pumped formula onto our bed all through the night. And we also drained his stomach juices onto our bed. How do you know, you ask? Well, I’m not going to tell you ’cause it’s gross. Just trust me on this one.

Laundry, anyone?




  1. Robyn

    I think this is what they call “feeding the bed”, yes? Ick.

    Dumb question: why is it vanilla flavored (or flavored at all?) if it’s going straight into his stomach?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Well, we give him this particular formula simply because it was what the doctor prescribed when he had his tube placed. As for the flavor, some kids drink this stuff . Also, I’ve read it is so it doesn’t taste so bad when they burp

  2. Kara

    I’m so glad we’re done with that! I used to get so depressed since Owen was getting expressed breastmilk through his tube when we would feed the bed. Not only did I have a huge mess to clean up, and an Owen who didn’t get fed, but I wasted all that hard work pumping!

  3. Alexis E.

    That sounds like a rough day, but you also shed light on the fact that one shouldn’t be afraid of tube fed children. As a (fingers crossed and praying to God) soon to be adoptive mom this makes me wonder what challenges we’d be willing to take on with the next child.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Alexis- the tube feeding in and of itself is no biggie. Is it a pain? Yes. But much less of a pain that having a child unable to eat get skinnier and skinnier. There is really nothing scary about it. It’s just the way we feed our son. No one who sees him would ever guess he has health issues or is tube fed…

  4. Beth

    My son is tube fed overnight as well and he moves around a lot at night. His medication port was popping open a lot and that is when we decided to wrap it with 1 inch ouchless tape to keep it closed. It is easy to take off and on and it doesn’t leave a sticky residue. I always fear the smell of vanilla too!

  5. Melpub

    Well, I don’t have that problem but I do have the one where everybody’s got the flu, explodes at both ends, and when I place a bowl right in front of their heads, the boys projectile vomit anywhere but the bowl (“You put it on the wrong side, Mommy!”) hitting two books, the bed frame, the sheets, plus of course, what seems like many acres of floor. The girl got it all, every drop, in the bowl.
    I like Thieves oil when I have this problem! (You know, the clove oil/rosemary oil, etc, mix). Better than hand sanitizer.

  6. Tasha

    I tell my husband that the reason I read your blog is that you make me laugh. So many people could be so crabby sharing such a story, but you have humor that I truly enjoy.

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