Quite possibly one of the sweetest parenting moments to date was captured in this dad’s feeding tube selfie with his son. While it could've gone viral for just being an adorable snap of the duo in matching basketball shorts as they posed shirtless in front of the mirror, Robert Selby’s post has taken over social media for an incredibly sweet reason: His 3-year-old son, Chase Elijah Selby, has a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, which causes him to be underweight and requires that he use a feeding tube so that he gets enough calories each day since eating food orally can sometimes be challenging — and the photo was just one of the ways this dad is showing his love for his little boy.
According to HuffPost, Selby cut up one of Chace’s old feeding tubes and glued it to his own stomach before posting it on Instagram “in a show of solidarity.”
“My Mr. #stealyourheart #teamchace is sucking in his stomach, trying to show off his abs like his daddy but all you see are his little ribs. I just cut and glued one of his G-tube on me to show support for him and bring awareness,” Selby captioned the adorable photo posted on May 22, which has since been liked almost 10,000 times on his account and more than 119,000 times on the inspirational Instagram account Miracle & Messes.
Selby continued that Chance uses a feeding tube "to help with him being under weight due to him not eating orally as much since he was a baby."
"But as long as I'm breathing, I'll always support my son and he'll never be in a fight alone," he wrote.
TOF is a rare and complex heart condition that's caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth, occurring in about five out of every 10,000 babies. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, children who have TOF can easily tire while feeding and small, frequent meals are typically easier to handle. Additionally, they may need extra nutrition and a doctor will be able to decide if they need any more calories, vitamins, or iron and determine which course of feeding to take.
Advances in medicine have made the outlook for a child born with TOF better today than in the past and most children will live long into adulthood — but they will need long-term and consistent care.
“I did it to show him that I support him and his condition, that he’s never in a fight alone,” Selby told HuffPost of his photo, adding that he wanted to show “how far he has come in life.”
This isn't the first time Selby has posted about his son's progress with his condition. The proud dad told TODAY that he's taken the same photo every year since he was 6 months old and always wants to make sure that Chace never feels like he's limited from doing anything he wants to do.
"Last year, he asked me, ‘Why do I have a G-tube?’ and I told him it’s because he’s so strong, because he’s Superman. He’s Super Chace," Selby told TODAY. "I told him he’s stronger than Daddy, and he said, ‘But you’re Super Dad,’ so I said OK, and I put a G-tube on me, too."
There's no doubt that this dad's support and outlook on his son's rare heart condition is inspiring, but if you needed another reason to warm your heart, you can follow more of these sweet moments on their YouTube channel.