One of the most common questions we get from first time customers – or those that want to try our meals – is if the meals can go through a gravity bag or feeding pump. The answer is yes, with some adjustments.
Real Food Blends meals are intentionally thicker than traditional formulas. Not only does the thickness allow us to increase the calories per ounce, but also tends to help with a feeling of satisfaction, and improve reflux symptoms. Whenever possible, we recommend bolus feeding the meals with a syringe. Many people who can’t tolerate a bolus of formula can tolerate a bolus of real food. (We even have nurses in hospitals bolus feeding the meals now – one told me “I’d rather bolus a patient every few minutes than clean the inevitable diarrhea from the formula!”)
However, just like some people like their eggs over easy and some scrambled, these are your meals to feed how you see fit! If you want or need to use a gravity bag or pump, you’ll need to add extra fluid to make them flow well. Our recommendations follow:
Salmon : Add 1-2 oz. of fluid of choice.
Quinoa – Add 2 ounces of fluid of choice.
Chicken – Add 2 ounces of fluid of choice.
The fluid you add could be water, milk or milk alternatives, vegetable or fruit juice, or bone broths. Your meal, your choice, but make sure you are accounting for those calories if necessary.
If the bag stops dripping you may need to shake it around a bit to mix up the food as the heavier particles drop to the bottom of the bags, thanks to gravity.
Here is the chicken meal with 3 ounces water being gravity fed. You can see we still tried to maintain some thickness:
And the quinoa meal with 2 ounces of water added:
*The manufacturers of feeding pumps have specifically stated that their pumps are NOT to be used with anything but commercial formula so use a pump with real food at your own risk. This is not intended to be medical advice. Always check with your medical team before making any changes to an enteral nutrition program.