Just in the past month, I have been contacted by several people looking for more information on a BD for thier child. I am happy they reached out to me because it's much easier to start a new journey when you are able to talk to someone who is going through it also. From what I am seeing, there are more and more parents putting their tube fed child on a BD. The benefits from getting "real food" through the feeding tube is amazing. Keep in mind a BD is not for every child but it was the best thing we did for Allie Rae.
One of my first questions when starting a BD back in January was.....how much is this going to cost? We were one of the lucky one's who's insurance covered our enteral formula 100%. So, I knew it was going to cost us more than the enteral formula since we weren't paying anything for that (besides a hefty monthly premium for our overall insurnace). As any special needs family knows, the medical bills are never ending and seeing a lot of specialist get's expensive very fast. So, of course money was a concern for me.
The first thing you read about starting a BD is you should get a Vita-mix blender. This blender is $500.00 or more, however with a doctors note explaining you are using this blender for a blenderized diet, you can get a refurbished Vita-mix blender for about $350.00. I know that's still expensive but honestly, if you are going to do a BD for your child everyday, it's worth it. Please note....you don't absolutely need a high speed blender to make a BD. I started out with my average kitchen blender and strained each blend to make sure all chunks were removed. You can use a typical blender it's just a bit more work.
My next big question was - how much is it going to cost each day to feed her? Basically, how much was all of her ingredients for her blends going to cost each week? I have calculated the costs of Allie's current blends and they range anywhere from $5.00 - $7.00 a day. Quite cheap. Just imagine if you had a child that ate orally - you would be spending much more than this on them for food daily. So, a BD really isn't expensive.
How long does it take to make the blends each day? Every night I make a blend for Allie to eat the following day. Each of my blends make roughly 30 oz for the day. It takes me no more than 10 minutes each night to make her blends. That even includes cleanup. Of course when I first started, it took me longer but now that I have been doing it for 3 months, it only takes 10 minutes. So, does it take less time than opening a can of enteral formula - no, but if a BD is right for your child, it's SO WORTH IT!
How do I know what to use in my blends? One of the most challenging things for me was trying to figure out what foods to include in Allie's blends. I am a health food idiot so it wasn't obvious to me what foods are "super foods". (Stephanie helped me a lot with this - thank goodness!!!). I purchased the book called "Homemade Blenderized Formula Handbook". I was hoping it would provide some recipes but it does not. However, it did help me underestand the different food groups and how much of each food group Allie required. Please note the reason it's hard to find BD recipes is because each child is different and has different nutritional needs. The recipe I use for Allie might not be right for your child. I started doing more research and finding healthy foods that were corn & gluten free for Allie. Once I researched, it became clear that I can use whatever foods I would like in her blends and each blend can be different if I want. For some consistency, I created 3 recipes for Allie's blends and I alternate them each day. I calculated the calories, fat, protein and fiber for each blend so I had a good understanding of how much she was getting each day. I won't lie - it was a lot of work figuring out what to include in her blends and how much of each item to include in order to make approximately 30 oz for the day and to make each oz 30-35 calories each.
But now that I have her recipes, her blends are quick and easy to make and I mix things up whenever I feel like it. One day I might want to use a banana instead of a pear or frozen vegtables instead of fresh - the possibilities are limitless.
Blenderized diet information is going to be added to http://www.feedingtubeawareness.com/ within the next month so make sure to check it out. There is going to be a lot of great information provided on there for people who are interested in learning more about a BD.
Our Dietician has even contacted me and asked me to help another family that is starting their child on a BD. It's such a pleasure to be able to help others going through this same experience. Our outlook on tube feeding Allie has changed thanks to the blenderized diet. We have seen so many improvements in Allie since giving her real food - it's unreal. I was one of those parents that didn't believe a BD would make that much of a difference for my child - but I was wrong. Allie is proof that a BD was the right decision for us.
If you have questions or would like more information on a BD, please feel free to contact me. If I cannot answer your questions, I will gladly get you in contact with other parents who give their child a BD. I hope this entry has provided a few more answers in regards to a BD - there is much more information I can provide you but I will do it in another post on another day. For now.....HAPPY BLENDING!
Here are a couple more pictures of our Florida vacation.
|Allie Rae by the pool|
|Girls playing in the kitty pool|
|Who has an attitude?|
|The girls and I at Citrus Tower|
|Allie chillin in the sun|