Anna Poteet thought she’d get a mix of moms and babies who feed in various ways when she put out a call for her “fed is best” photo shoot. But the project took on a new purpose when “only tube feeding mamas showed up.”
“The idea was to gather moms together and show the world that no matter how your baby is fed, whether … breastfed, formula-fed, tube-fed, you should be accepted and just kind of breaking through some of the negative things that are included when ‘mom-shaming’ takes place,” she told Good Morning America.
The Facebook photos show a trio of moms and babies, with the little ones all hooked to feeding tubes. The Sept. 16 post has been shared nearly 8,000 times.
“I am so thankful to be able to bring some awareness to this,” Poteet told GMA. “I see so many people genuinely asking questions on my post and it is bringing a new understanding.”
Poteet, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, told Yahoo that she recently became passionate about feeding because her 4-month-old has had trouble eating and gaining weight. Thus, she was inspired to celebrate parents and babies no matter how they feed.
“The idea was to gather moms together and show the world that no matter how your baby is fed, whether it being breastfed, formula-fed, tube-fed, you should be accepted,” Poteet said.
Hendrickson posed with her 6-month-old daughter Katherine, who has severe reflux and has had trouble swallowing since she was born.
“She struggled with constant vomiting, leading to poor weight gain,” Hendrickson told Yahoo. “When she was 3-months-old, the doctors placed a feeding tube through her nose, down into her small intestine.”
She has since started gaining weight and doctors are working to improve her swallowing and address her reflux, the mother told Yahoo.
Samantha Parsons said her 5-month-old daughter Hailey has had issues nursing and bottle-feeding since she was born. Parsons told Yahoo that “when weeks led into months of her not eating right,” doctors inserted a nasal tube.
“She gets fed by pump continuously into her intestine rather than stomach, because she has a history of aspirating,” Parsons said.
At 2-years-old, Brianna Lorenzo’s son Bellamy is about the size of a 1-year-old and is tube-fed due to allergies and acid reflux, she told Yahoo.
“In just three weeks, he has already gained 3 lbs.,” she said of Bellamy’s G-tube. “He is now thriving instead of surviving.”