The impact of child tube feeding on maternal emotional state and identity: a qualitative meta-analysis

J Pediatr Nurs. 2012 Jun;27(3):248-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2011.01.032. Epub 2011 Mar 15.


Literature on mothers' acceptance of their children's tube feeding is heterogeneous. When a child is fed via gastrostomy, parents may report higher quality of life and higher stress levels. Qualitative research suggests that tube feeding can conflict with fundamental expectations about the mothering role. In this qualitative meta-analysis, parental statements from various studies have been excerpted and theory-based analyzed. Data suggest that feeding a child orally is not only an important aspect of mothering but also a key element for the development of a motherhood identity. Nonoral feeding often results in psychological stress and a struggle to negotiate the motherhood identity successfully and may result in traumatization of the mother. Preventive psychological guidance is recommended to decrease the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder in mothers and disturbances in the mother-child relationship and to assist in maternal coping with a child's feeding disorder.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enteral Nutrition / nursing
  • Enteral Nutrition / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Identification*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*