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Helena mom aims to raise awareness about feeding tubes - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Helena mom aims to raise awareness about feeding tubes

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Nicodemus is a 19-month-old boy who absolutely loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Since last October, Nico has used a feeding tube to get his nutrients. Nicodemus is a 19-month-old boy who absolutely loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Since last October, Nico has used a feeding tube to get his nutrients.
Meikele is now educating the public about the reality of feeding tubes and debunking misconceptions. Meikele is now educating the public about the reality of feeding tubes and debunking misconceptions.
HELENA -

Nicodemus is a 19-month-old boy who absolutely loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Since last October, Nico has used a feeding tube to get his nutrients.

His mother Meikele said, “He had a sister who had eating issues and drinking issues, and when he started presenting with them, we knew something was wrong."

It turned out Nico was tongue-tied at birth, which caused problems eating. Breastfeeding turned out to be the safest solution. Nico eventually received a surgical tongue-tie release. Then it was time for the feeding tube and a pre-digestive formula called Peptamen Junior.

Meikele said, “He's now 23 pounds and it was the best thing for us. It made meal times less stressful. We weren't as concerned with the calorie count of each meal. We weren't as concerned with the volume he was taking in of liquids and food."

Nico uses the feeding tube only at night. During the day, he's learning how to chew properly and drink safely. Meikele admits it's been quite the journey but she's staying strong, as is Nico.

Meikele said, “It's brought the family together in different ways than we thought. It's caused more stress than we thought."

Meikele is now educating the public about the reality of feeding tubes and debunking misconceptions.

Meikele said, “When we went to a restaurant, people don't realize that there are children out there who can't swallow liquids, have a harder time with food so sometimes they feel protective for their child and that's not necessary."

At this time, it's unknown when Nico will get off the feeding tube.

A cloud of emotions lingers over Meikele, who continues to care for Nico in the best way she possibly can each and every day.

Meikele said, “As a parent when you're up in the hospital and you sit and wonder was there anything you could have done differently and we had to come to the realization that we had sought the medical professionals, we had sought the help that we could and for right now this is his life."

An estimated 340,000 people living in the U.S. use feeding tubes in their homes. According to the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation,20 percent of the tube fed population are children 18 and younger.

Click here to learn more about “Feeding Tube Awareness Week."

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