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Types of Feeding Support

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Nasogastric tubes (NG-tubes), Gastrostomy tubes (G-tubes), and Jejunostomy tubes (J-tubes)

The previous chapter described why preterm infants with BPD have difficulties starting and learning oral feeds. This section will focus on three types of artificial feeding support devices used in the NICU:

Nasogastric tube (NG tube) – The NG tube is placed without surgery, enters the nose, and ends in the stomach. Babies usually have this tube placed soon after birth.

Gastrostomy tube (G-tube or GT) – The G-tube requires abdominal surgery and is placed in the abdomen, directly into the stomach.

Jejunostomy tube (J-tube) – The J-tube requires abdominal surgery and is placed in the mid-section of the small intestine.

For some infants, tube feedings may be needed near the mother’s original pregnancy due date, after the due date, or even after going home. This usually happens when infants have not been able to drink enough milk by mouth to consistently gain weight. Even with an NG or G-tube, a baby can still breast feed, drink from a bottle, or both. That way, a baby can still practice feeding and improve their skills over time. This of course depends on the level of breathing support the baby is needing, and whether it is safe to start/continue practicing how to drink by mouth.