Tube Feeding FAQs Answered

Posted On: Aug 27, 2013

Each year, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare sees thousands of children who need or currently have a gastronomy tube (also called a feeding tube) for nutritional support.  For many families, making the decision to place a feeding tube is a difficult one.  Gillette’s goal is to support families who have made the decision to have a feeding tube placed, or who are in the process of making the decision.  That’s why we’re hosting a September 19 workshop, Tube Feeding…With Love, for parents of children who have feeding tubes or who are considering one for their child. We hope you’ll take a moment to read our tube feeding FAQs—and register for a first-of-its-kind workshop! 

What is a feeding tube?

It’s a soft, flexible tube that can be used to give fluids, formulas and medicine to children who have trouble taking these things by mouth. The tube is placed by a surgeon, and goes through the stomach wall into the stomach.

Why would my child need a feeding tube?

A feeding tube might be recommended for a child experiencing poor growth, significant time and energy with feedings, or aspiration (when contents from the mouth or stomach go into the lungs during oral feedings, which can lead to respiratory problems).

Does a feeding tube mean my child can’t keep working on learning to eat?

Depending on your child’s needs, a feeding tube can sometimes be used in combination with eating by mouth.  In cases like this, a tube can help supplement overall nutrition for a child who is having difficulty taking in enough calories in the day.  It reduces the stress of making sure a child is eating a certain amount of calories each day.

Will my child be able to go swimming?

Yes!  A feeding tube does not limit a child’s ability to participate in any activities including swimming, laying on his or her stomach, or being with friends.  Talk with your physician about ways to disconnect the tubing when mealtimes are finished.

Is a feeding tube permanent?

Sometimes children will regain the ability to meet their nutritional needs by mouth.  If that occurs, a feeding tube can be removed.

Gillette’s nutrition and feeding services team helps families build trusting, supportive relationships through mealtime experiences.  Click here to learn more and register for Tube Feeding…With Love on September 19.