KRONENWETTER (WAOW) -- This week is Feeding Tube Awareness Week. Newsline 9 wanted to show viewers how these devices help both the old and young get the nutrients they need.
Two and a half-year-old Allie Berndt loves learning new tricks from big sister Chloe. The girls are a lot alike, but there are differences. Shortly after Allie was born, her parents noticed their second daughter just didn't have an appetite. They said her eating habits, or lack thereof, took a toll on their little girl.
"It was hard because every parent just wants their child to eat and it's just a natural thing to be hungry," said Jodi Berndt, Allie's mom.
Finally, one doctor came up with an idea.
"The doctor asked, what do you think of the feeding tube?" said Allie's dad, Matt Berndt. "We kind of looked at each other and said, let's do it."
Doctors gave Allie a Mic-key Button, which connects to a tube inside her body. Now, mom and dad can feed her in a slightly unconventional way.
Doctors ran more tests and found out she has a few significant food allergies. But still, couldn't find a solid reason for why little Allie wouldn't eat.
"We almost think she really doesn't feel hunger," said Jodi. "We're not sure yet. We're still looking for answers."
So the Berndt family relies on a tiny tube, a lifeline for their daughter.
"With the feeding tube, she's getting all the nourishment she needs," said Matt. "She's on track, she's growing. And that's the biggest hurdle."
Four times a day, Allie needs a feeding. And when she goes to bed, a pump keeps her body full of the nutrients it needs. And even though they don't know exactly what the future will hold, the Berndt family feels grateful for the feeding tube that they believe saved their daughter's life.