Your child has a gastrostomy tube (G-tube, or PEG tube). This is a soft, plastic tube placed into your child's stomach. It delivers nutrition (food) and medicines until your child can chew and swallow.
You'll need to learn how to give your child feedings and how to care for the G-tube. Follow any specific instructions your nurse gives you. Use the information below as a reminder of what to do.
PEG tube feeding; PEG tube care; Feeding - gastrostomy tube - pump; G-tube - pump; Gastrostomy button - pump; Bard Button - pump; MIC-KEY - pump
Your child's G-tube may be replaced by a button, called a Bard Button or MIC-KEY, 3 to 8 weeks after surgery.
You will quickly get used to feeding your child through the tube, or button. It will take about the same time as a regular feeding, around 20 to 30 minutes. These feedings will help your child grow strong and healthy.
Your doctor will tell you the right mix of formula or blended feedings to use, and how often to feed your child. To warm the food, take it out of the refrigerator 2 to 4 hours before use. DO NOT add more formula or solid foods before you talk to your nurse.
Feeding bags should be changed every 24 hours. All of the equipment can be cleaned with hot, soapy water and hung to dry.
Remember to wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs. Take good care of yourself as well, so that you can stay calm and positive, and cope with stress.
The skin around the G-tube needs to be changed 1 to 3 times a day with mild soap and water. Try to remove any drainage or crusting on the skin and tube. Be gentle. Dry the skin well with a clean towel.
The skin should heal in 2 to 3 weeks.
Your nurse may tell you to put a special absorbent pad or gauze around the G-tube site. This should be changed at least daily or if it becomes wet or soiled.
DO NOT use any ointments, powders, or sprays around the G-tube unless your nurse says it is ok.
Make sure your child is sitting up either in your arms or in a high chair.
If your child fusses or cries while feeding, pinch the tube with your fingers to stop the feeding until your child is more calm and quiet.
Feeding time is a social, happy time. Make it pleasant and fun. Your child will enjoy gentle talk and play.
Try to keep your child from pulling on the tube.
Since your child is not using their mouth yet, your doctor will discuss with you other ways to allow your child to suck and develop mouth and jaw muscles.
Your child's nurse will show you the best way to use your system without getting air into the tubes. First:
Next, follow these steps, and any steps your nurse gave you:
When the feeding is done, your nurse may recommend that you add water to the bag and let the water flow through the feeding set to rinse it out.
For a G-tube, clamp the tube and close the roller clamp before disconnecting the feeding set from the G-tube. For a button, close the clamp on the feeding set, disconnect the extension set from the button, and close the flap on the button.
The feeding bag should be changed every 24 hours. Food (formula) should not be left in the bag for more than 4 hours. So, only put 4 hours (or less) worth of food in the feeding bag at a time.
All of the equipment can be cleaned with warm, soapy water and hung to dry.
If your child's belly becomes hard or swollen after a feeding, try venting or "burping" the tube or button:
Sometimes, you may need to give medicines to your child through the tube. Follow these guidelines:
Call your child's health care provider if your child:
Also call the doctor if:
O'Keefe SJD. Nutritional support at home. In: O'Keefe SJD, ed. The Principles and Practice of Nutritional Support. New York, NY: Springer; 2015:chap 10.
Schattner MA, Grossman EB. Nutritional management. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 6.