This clinic was set up in particular to help children in Greater Glasgow or from the West of Scotland transition from tube and other artificial feeding, sometimes called tube weaning. These are usually children who have been tube fed since birth, or the early years, because of major medical or surgical problems and who have not yet learnt to eat. Once their health problems are improving they become well enough to eat, but they don’t know how to eat and their regular feeds suppress all hunger. This prevents them from becoming interested in and exploring food.
Tube weaning protocol
Our full protocol can be found here. This involves gradually reducing the amount of feed over a few months (and sometimes years) in order to stimulate hunger. This usually has to be done gradually to allow the child to learn how to recognise hunger and develop the chewing and swallowing skills needed. This often results in some short term weight loss, so the speed at which we reduce the feeds needs to be varied to each individual child.
Families in this situation may find our leaflet and patient stories helpful. Health practitioners may find our tube weaning protocol helpful, as well as papers we have published about how the clinic operates and how patients progress through our programme.
Research we have published
In early research we showed that tube weaning resulted in weight loss, but no slowing of growth and that tube fed children had similar appetite patterns (satiation) to healthy children.
We have also shown that stopping sip feeds did not result in weight loss and in some children weight gain increased.
We have also described how the clinic operates and its cost effectiveness.
Full details and copies of our papers can be found here.