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Tube Feeding

Tube Feeding 

Babies unable to feed orally or demanding one or two hourly feeds may need tube feeding, even temporarily, to gain weight and prevent the parents becoming too exhausted to cope.

The three types of tube feeding are:

  • OG - tube in the mouth and down the oesophagus
  • NG - tube in the nose and down the oesophagus
  • Gastrostomy - tube inserted in a small opening through the skin directly into the stomach

A feeding assessment will be necessary in order to decide which form of feeding is best for your baby. 

At first in hospital it is likely the nursing staff will manage the tube feeding until you feel confident to do so.  You will receive lots of training and support with this and will not be asked to go home before you are fully confident with this.

Most families find they adapt to tube feeding more easily than they anticipated. 

Longer term assessment

Feeding evaluation will continue over time.  Some babies may move from other forms of feeding on to Tube Feeding.  Some babies may start with Tube Feeding but be able to move on to oral feeding.  Some babies will use mixed feeding, where they take some food orally and some through a tube method.  Some babies will move from one form of Tube Feeding to another if it is judged to be more effective.

In the longer term decisions about feeding will be made based on your child's needs, weight, suitability for surgery etcetera. 

Helpful resources

Tube Feeding of Solid Foods

As a child grows their nutritional needs may change. Some older children are fed blended solid food through their feeding tube. 
Complex Child magazine has information on tube feeding, including the experiences of families trying a "blended diet".

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