Saturday, March 17, 2012

How to blend food for tube feedings

I have been asked by a fellow medical mom out there to post about how to make baby food to give through the g-tube.  Because I do this how I cook (by the seat of my pants) I have been having a hard time thinking of instructions.  Here's a stab at it:

I go off of a chart the dietitian gave me that says how much food, at different ages, a baby should get.  Depending on his weight and age there is a norm for how much milk, veggies, cereal or grain, and meat they should get.  Luckily the dietitian we use now (we fired the old one) is very laid back so I make the plan and she okays it.

I just thought about how I fed my other kids at this age and went from there.  With the other kidlets I gave them 3 solid meals a day with bottles and snacks in between, so that's what I did here.  He has 3 meals with almost pure baby food (with a little breast milk to thin it out) and 4 "bottles" spaced around that with a little baby food to make them more substantial.  I took the amount of each type of food (milk, veggies, cereal) needed for the entire day and just did some math to space it out over the day.  He gets fed every 3 hours during the day and once over night.  Here is his schedule:

8am, 2 pm, 8 pm solid meals- 50 ml breast milk, 80 ml fruit/veggie, 25 ml quinoa
11am, 5pm, 11pm- 155 ml breast milk, 20 ml veggie/fruit, 20 ml quinoa
3:30 am- 155 breast milk, 40 ml quinoa (to make his tummy feel fuller and help him sleep better)

OK, now for the food choices.  I am introducing new food every 3 days to check his tolerance, just as you would a baby who eats normally.  He has other special dietary needs thrown in there (sucrase deficiency) so I work around that too.  My goal is to have a complete array of healthy food I know he can tolerate so by the time he is off of breast milk so we have a complete nutrition blend.  Each time I figure out a new food he can tolerate, I will add that to my mix for next time I make baby food and put a test food in separate containers.  For example, now I know he tolerates spinach, broccoli, green beans, and butternut squash, so I blend those foods, mix it up in a huge bowl and them put that mixture in mason jars to store.  This saves me time when I am preparing the feedings, everything is all mixed up and ready.  Then whatever new food we are trying I add separately to the feeding so I don't contaminate the mixture, in case he can not tolerate it.

Making this food could not be simpler, so I encourage you to try it!  I will admit right here that my awesome parents bought us a Vita Mix, a blender on steroids, so it does make it easier.  But don't despair!  I made baby food for the first 3 kids with just my ordinary blender, so you can do it!  With a regular blender you may need to add a little more liquid to get it as smooth as you want.  The biggest thing is to blend the heck out of the food so it doesn't clog the tube.  With a regular blender, I used to literally shake the blender as it was blending to get the food all down by the blades... don't be scared, you've got to mis-treat those sometimes :).  Here is what I do so far:

-Apples and Pears: peel, core, cut up, bake covered at 350 until tender with a fork, blend, add water in necessary to get thin enough.
-Butternut squash: cut in half, remove seeds (save for roasting- mmmm), place cut side down and bake 350 until tender (30-45 mins), blend as above.
-spinach, green beans, broccoli- steam until tender then blend with cooking juice for added nutrition
-red bell pepper: cut up and take out seeds, bake 350 until tender.  Remove skins, blend with water for consistency
-Quinoa: I powder mine first by putting it in the blender and letting it go until it's fine, but as he gets bigger and I have a full nutrition blend I feed him I will probably just cook the whole seeds then add to the mixture to be blended with the other foods.   For powdered, I don't measure (sorry).  I put about 2 cups water in a pan and heat until boiling.  I add powdered quinoa and wisk vigorously until the desired consistency (baby food); remove from heat.  Whole quinoa: double the amount of water to the amount of quinoa ( cups water for 1 cup quinoa).

For all foods, I make big batches and freeze, so it's easy for the next 1-2 weeks to just grab a jar out of the freezer when I run out.  Remember, if you are freezing in glass jars, allow the food to freeze first, then put the top on, if not you will have a mess!

 I would encourage you to give it a whirl (pun intended)! If you are overwhelmed, pick just one food to blend for now and add it to the formula your child gets.  I have the chart the dietitian gave me, and I'm happy to share, but i don't know how to attach it to the blog, so if you want it, e-mail me at You will gain your confidence and your child will be all the better for it!

I am truely a novice at this, but a determined novice.  Luckily there are plenty of people out there who have taken this mission on and they are much more knowledgeable than I, so here are some other resources for ya.  (I like this one)!/pages/Blenderized-Food-For-Tubies/195156907193185  (the above guys facebook account- you can connect with other families who blenderize)

Google: "blenderized diet"... there is so much support out there!!

Happy Blending!!


  1. Just wanted to ad an FYI: I found a "stick type-hand held" blender easier to use than the the traditional blender. You can blend right in a pot or bowl for easy mixing and clean up.

  2. Get a pressure cooker! You can have fruits or veggies cooked in mere minutes. Then use the "broth" to thin when you arent using breast milk. It will cut out a ton of time!!! I made all my babyfood to including meats and it was the best time saver. I got mine at Walmart and it's by Presto.

  3. Chas....sooo amazed by you!! I remember trying to do carrots for Kyle and ended up with an "orange" kitchen!!
    Keep it going girl!! Love ya! julie

    1. Don't know what to say but "aw shucks." Love you too!