Tatum’s Story

To the parents that read this page in times of despair with so much hope that one day your child can be a GIE success story, I offer you a bit of encouragement because it CAN and WILL happen. I experienced hope, disappointment, joy, anxiousness, laughter, LOTS of tears, but I gained a family in GIE!

My daughter was born premature with a congenital heart defect. We had so many ups and downs, but eventually made it home with an NG-tube in tow. Tatum had no physical boundary to eating by mouth, but struggled with it because she was tube fed since birth and had not ever experienced hunger. My husband and I totally understood the medical necessity of providing a baby with nourishment to grow and heal after open heart surgery, but wanted to give our preemie heart warrior a chance to eat by mouth and avoid another surgery (G-tube) while she was so fragile. We worked with Tatum at every feeding by offering the bottle before her tube feeds, and LITERALLY trying every bottle on the shelves. But Tatum didn’t want to eat because she wasn’t hungry! A fellow heart mama and dear friend introduced me to Growing Independent Eaters and little did I know that they would have an impact on Tatum’s life nearly as large as her heart surgeon!

GIE provided support, encouragement, knowledge, and experience in every avenue of life while weaning Tatum off of her NG-tube. Their expertise made our doctors feel comfortable, their success rates are beyond encouraging, they knew how to talk me off the ledge when I was melting down from doubt, and their recommendations ALWAYS worked. We started our wean 4.5 weeks ago, have been NG-free for 3 weeks, and have officially gained 5 oz. during the last 7 days! This is HUGE for Tatum!! She has never grown this much this quickly while being tube fed! GIE made this possible!

For the families who are debating if GIE is right for you, please, please, please believe that they are! I urge you to give them a chance as soon as you can! I pray that all the mommy’s and daddy’s who stay up at night stalking their Facebook page in hopes of finding answers to your child’s problems will be at peace that the day will come when your child is not dependent on a tube, gains weight, and develops normally. You'll look back at your journey and strive to help others like us!