Nasogastric tube placement for babies (1211)

Key points below

For babies

What is a Nasogastric (NG) feeding tube?

When is the best time to change the tube?

What supplies are needed?

If the NG tube is not broken when you change it, you can use it again, if needed.
You must wash the NG tube well with warm water and soap before re-using it. 

How is the NG tube put in?

It may be easier or needed to get a second person to help.

1. Get your supplies. 
2. Attach the syringe to the end of the NG tube.
3. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
4. Use a different nostril each time you put in the NG tube.
5. Lay your baby in a crib or bed. If it is safe, recline your baby in an infant seat. You may need a second person to help hold your baby.

Note, If your baby:

6. Measure the with feeding tube

7.  Put the tube in.

How will I know the NG is in the stomach?

Be sure to check that the tube is in the right place in the stomach each time you put it in, before each feeding, or before giving medicine.

To check where the NG tube is placed: 

1. Look to see if the tape marking the tube is still close to the nostril. 
2. Measure outer portion of NG tube (from the nose to end of tube). Compare this measurement with previous measurements. It is okay to use the NG tube if the difference in measurements is less than 2 centimeters and your baby tolerates the feedings without choking or gagging.
3. Attach the syringe to the end of the NG tube.
4. Pull back the plunger on the syringe and look for stomach contents in the tube or syringe.

You may push a small amount of air through the tube and try a second time to pull back and check for stomach contents.

5. If you are not sure the tube is in the stomach, take it out and put it in again. 

Are there any complications with the NG tube?

Your baby may:

If any of these happen, remove the NG tube and call your doctor.


Contact the doctor immediately if your child has:

  • redness or sores around the nose. 
  • a bloody nose.
  • a hard time breathing.
During Monday through Friday, 8-4pm, call the NG Bridle Clinician 414-266-2085. 
After hours, call the Children’s hospital operator at 414-266-2000 and ask them to page the GI fellow on call.