If a child cannot eat after surgery or other medical procedures, an indwelling feeding tube may be placed. This feeding tube is passed through the nose or mouth, down the length of the esophagus and into the stomach, and is used to deliver the nourishment the child needs.
Use our information to help you properly insert and care for an indwelling feeding tube. We include instructions for giving medications and feedings through the tube, as well as instructions on dealing with problems that may occur with the feeding tube or your child's feedings.
For testimonials from patients with cystic fibrosis who often use feeding tubes during sleep hours, view our Supporting Nutrition: Understanding Tube Feeding guide.
Offer your baby a pacifier to ease the feeding tube insertion. If your child is older, encourage swallowing during insertion.
Do not panic. Pull back on the feeding tube to remove it. Hold your baby or child to calm them and then attempt to reinsert the feeding tube.
A little bit of bleeding may occur. You may continue to put in the feeding tube unless the blood is dripping out.
These signs indicate that the end of the feeding tube may be in the lungs. Remove the feeding tube immediately. Cuddle and comfort your child for a few minutes and try again.
If you are unable to flush the feeding tube with water, remove and replace the feeding tube.
Keep the area around the nostrils clean and dry. Make sure the feeding tube is not pulling on the nostril. Place the feeding tube in the other nostril when removing and replacing the feeding tube.
Check to see if the formula concentration is correct. Do not allow formula or breast milk to stand in the bag more than 4 hours. Do not mix new formula or breast milk with the formula or breast mild that has been hanging. Slow the rate or stop the feeding for a short time. Be sure to flush the feeding tube with water to prevent it from clogging. Call your child's doctor or nurse if this continues.
Slow the rate or stop the feeding for a short time. Be sure to flush the feeding tube with water to prevent it from clogging. Start the feeding again when your child feels better. Call your child's doctor or nurse if this continues.
Stop the feeding immediately. Wait until the vomiting stops and give the feeding more slowly. Call your child's doctor or nurse if this continues.
Stop the feeding and wait about an hour. If the abdomen remains swollen or the discomfort continues, call your doctor or nurse. If this occurs after a feeding, attach the end of the feeding tube to a large syringe with the plunger removed and left open to air and wait an hour. If the abdomen remains swollen, call your doctor or nurse.