"Do you hold him every time he receives a g-tube feed like breastfeeding an infant?" asked my friend, Kelly three months after we brought Nathaniel home.
Her question awakened a maternal instinct I had known five other times, but had not applied to Nathaniel. No, I thought to myself, but was hesitant to admit. Feeding Nathaniel involved a plastic button inserted through a hole into his stomach, a whirling pump hung on an IV pole, and a short tube connecting the two which delivered warmed formula at regular intervals. Feeding Nathaniel was dictated by a doctor; it was supervised and charted by a home health nurse. Feeding Nathaniel was a medical treatment.
At the time, Nathaniel was eleven months old. We had made the decision to feed Nathaniel in a high chair at a family meal as often as his feeding schedule allowed. Other feeds were usually given in his crib. Hours after Kelly's question, I settled into a rocking chair in his room and held him for the duration of his hour and a half g-tube feed; a mother's nurture and intuition was added to Nathaniel's feeding plan.