Blenderized tube feedings (BTFs) are making a comeback! These homemade tube feed formulas were the only source of nutrition for those with feeding tube before commercial formulas came to the market. The first tube feed formulas in history were often household ingredients, such as milk, broth, and even whiskey. Now individuals are going back to these homemade formulas by blending real, whole foods to provide a healthy, balance diet, minus the whiskey of course!
Deciding whether a BTF or commercial formula is right for you is both a medical and personal decision. Homemade blend are not safe for everyone, so discussing their use with doctor and dietitian first is very important. After your doctor and dietitian are on board, use the list of pros and cons below to decide if BTF are right for you!
Pros of Blending:
- May increase nutrition intake and interest in food
- Get the benefits of whole foods
- Enjoy the same foods your family eats
- Able to follow personal food/diet preferences – organic, vegan, lactose free, etc
- May decrease gagging/retching
- May decrease cost
Cons of Blending:
- Increased effort – grocery shopping, food preparation, etc.
- Difficult to do when traveling or in time of emergency
- Hospital & facilities may not be able to accommodate
- May cause faster wear and tear on tubes
- May increase costs
If you decide that BTF is right for you, work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) to make sure your recipes and meal plans are providing you all the nutrition you need. A dietitian can also provide information about food safety and proper storage for BTF, since contamination is a big concern with these formulas.
Have you tried blenderized tube feeds? Please share your thought on the pros and cons that you experienced in the comments below!