As tube feeding is your child’s lifeline to getting the nutrition they need, it can cause anxiety for some parents to have their tube-fed child sleep over at someone else’s home. However, there may be situations that call for a sleepover, for reasons ranging from social situations like a sleepover birthday party, to family visits, to emergencies.
Have no fear! Below is a checklist of helpful tips that can put your mind at ease and pointers that you can share with the adult who will be caring for your child while attending a sleepover or visiting a relative for the first time:
Bring the Sleepover Host Up to Speed
As parents, it’s crucial to lay out the steps the caregiver (sleepover host or relative) will need to follow, as clearly and simply as possible. Provide a written list of steps so that they don’t have to perform any step from memory. Share detailed instructions on how to prepare and administer their formula. Also, educate them on how long the formula can last, when refrigerated, before it’s considered spoiled. Stress that they use proper hygiene when handling the feeding tube or touching the child to prevent germ contamination, and to flush the tube with warm water before and after a feeding to keep it clean and unclogged for the next use.
Ideally, you’ll have time, in person, to walk the caregiver through the process of feeding your child, before the actual sleepover takes place. Practice may help ease nervousness and build confidence.
The caregiver will need to know likely complications, such as tube displacement and tube clogging. Provide them with steps to remedy common problems and have a local hospital or doctor’s office on hand for emergency situations, such as the tube coming out of the stoma site, so proper action can be taken. Of course, ensure that the caregiver has your phone number on speed dial.
It doesn’t hurt to overprepare! Pack extra supplies in case of spills or accidents, as well as extra clothes and pajamas.
Has your tube-fed child ever been on a sleepover? If you have any tips to share, we’d love to hear on Facebook!