Feeding tips

If your baby is being fed through a G-tube, offer a pacifier while being fed through the tube. This will help your baby associate oral stimulation with a full stomach.

If your child has a GJ-tube:

  • One port is for the belly (G-port)
  • One port is for the intestines (J-port). Feedings must always be given by drip into the J-port. Never give feedings by bolus in the J-tube

If your child has a J-tube:

  • Feedings must always be given by drip
  • Never give feedings by bolus

To lower the chance of the tube wiggling at the site:

  • Be sure the tube is secured if your child is getting feedings over a long period of time
  • Remove the extension set when not being used if your child has a low profile button type of tube

Oral feeding

A common question is whether a child that has tube feedings can also eat food by mouth. This varies with each child. Some children need a tube because they cannot eat enough calories by mouth to grow. Often these children can also eat by mouth.

Some children cannot eat foods safely by mouth because the food may go into their lungs (airway). This is called aspiration. Some children who aspirate may not be able to eat any food by mouth. Others may only be able to eat or drink small amounts of certain types of foods. If your child is working with a speech therapist, recommendations will be given. Your child’s doctor and speech therapist will tell you whether your child can eat safely by mouth along with getting tube feedings.

Water and vitamins

Giving extra water

Your child must get enough fluid every day to prevent dehydration. Formulas are good sources of fluid, but your child may need extra water to meet daily fluid needs. Your child’s doctor or dietician will tell you how much extra water your child needs. Extra water is often given after medicines or in between or after feeds. This is called giving “extra free water.” If the doctor or dietician has not told you that your child needs “extra free water” then a small water “flush” should be given at the end of each feeding. This is generally 5 to 10 mL of tap water. The water rinses the tube to keep it clear so it doesn’t get clogged.

Vitamin and mineral supplements

Most specialized formulas used for G-tube feedings provide enough vitamins and minerals for infants and children. However, if your child is getting a home blenderized tube feeding, extra vitamins or minerals may be needed. Your child’s doctor or dietician will help you decide what your child needs.