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A Mother’s Love to Nourish Her Son

In the journey of motherhood, some mothers navigate challenges that redefine the conventional norms of nurturing. Jennifer McLelland, mom to James, shares her heart-wrenching yet inspiring story, whose unwavering love and determination have become the guiding lights in her son’s life. Born with disabilities that necessitated the use of a feeding tube, this resilient child faced a unique set of obstacles in learning to eat.

Through this mother’s story, you will understand the profound struggles and triumphs entwined in the quest to instill a fundamental aspect of people — the act of eating — into a life touched by extraordinary circumstances. It is a must-read for parents transitioning their child to a feeding tube.

James’ relationship with food is complicated. He was tube fed for most of his early life, first with formula, and later with food processed in a blender. Now, at age 12, he gets about half of his calories from food and relies on Pediasure—vitamin-fortified formula—to get enough calories. For years, I felt guilty about the Pediasure. Every can made me feel like I was failing to give him “real” food. It took me years to accept that food doesn’t have a moral value. Feeding your child easily digestible food so they get adequate nutrition isn’t a weakness. Food doesn’t have to be a source of joy. It can simply be a source of nourishment.

This isn’t so much a story about how my son learned to eat as it is a story about how I came to terms with how he eats. The fact that my son hated food from a young age because his disabilities made the act of eating painful and scary made every mealtime hard. And for the longest time, I blamed myself.

This story was originally produced in collaboration with the California Health Report.

Click here to view the original article www.yesmagazine.org

Jennifer’s journey of a mother’s dedication to teaching her child to eat, is evident that love and resilience can triumph over even the most challenging circumstances. This family’s story serves as an inspiration to many facing similar battles. For those seeking support and resources to assist children reliant on feeding tubes, the organizations and businesses listed below stand ready to lend a helping hand.

Advocacy Services

Nestle Health Science provides tube feeding resources and information for individuals, parents and caregivers.

The Oley Foundation is a non-profit home nutrition therapy community and advocacy group for those living with tube feeding or IV nutrition.

Dysphagia Outreach Project is a non-profit whose mission is to collect and distribute dysphagia supplies to those in need, as well as provide advocacy and education services.

Meal Services

Real Food Blends provides nutritious packaged meals to supplement a feeding tube formula-only diet.

Feeding Tube Supplies

Amazon offers a wide array of feeding tube supplies. Disclaimer: AmeriDisability may get a small commission for products purchased using this link, at no cost to you. This helps support our site.

By connecting with these resources, parents and caregivers can find a community that understands their unique journey and access the knowledge needed to provide the best possible care for their children. Together, we can foster a supportive environment where every child, regardless of their challenges, can thrive and flourish.

Be sure to check out the Resources page. Claim or add your disability-focused business or nonprofit for free.

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