For those of you that have mastered the arts of the G-Tube, this information is probably old school. However, for those of you that are just venturing out into the feeding tube world, you might find this post helpful. Keep in mind that these are only tips and that each child is different, requiring unique needs. By no means should this list precede any medical advice that a doctor may give. These points are only tips in order to make life with a feeding tube that much easier. We found them very helpful for us.
  1. If the G-Tube Falls out, Stay Calm and Replace it with a New One. The first time the tube came out, we panicked and ran to the hospital. After running from hospital to hospital over an entire day in order to get one with the right supplies, and a huge hospital bill, we realized that replacing the G-Tube is really not that big of a deal. A little lubricant and a steady hand was all it took.
  2. Even if it Can Blend, it May Still not Make it Through the Tube. We picked up a Vitamix as a word of advice from Kendall’s speech Therapist. We figured that a $400 blender means that Kendall can now eat anything we eat. Not so fast… There are a number of items that just don’t quite work there way through the tube, including berries or any other food with tiny seeds or other mini, non-dissolving items. There have been numerous times where we had to take the G-Tube out in order to poke out a small spec of food that was blocking the flow of food through the line.
  3. Always Remember to Un-crimp the Line Prior to Pumping in the food. This one still gets us on occasion. Even though the line is uncrimped, the line will still be blocked if it’s not straightened out completely. If you try pushing a syringe of food through the line without making sure that it’s straight, you will likely explode the food out through the other feed line or the syringe will fly off the end of the line. Either way, you end up in a complete mess!
  4. Always Keep the Line Perpendicular to the G-Tube. If the line is attached at the G-Tube and parallel to it, you have a 50% chance that the line is blocked from receiving food. Because of the way it is made, the line attaches to the G-Tube from a parallel connection and then turns perpendicular to stay secured. Even after the line is secure, I always check for a perpendicular location of the line so that the food can flow smoothly.
  5. Be Sure to Check the Water Level on a Regular Basis. This one is easily forgotten. Because the water level isn’t visible, it’s easy to forget to check it. Most G-Tube balloons require 5 mls of water, but I found that if you push the limits, the balloon can burst, with the G-Tube falling out. We usually check about once/week and replace it with fresh water, usually a little over 4 mls.

These may be simple suggestions, but we only found these out through trial and error. Maybe our doctors just didn’t take the time to give us the tips and tricks; or better yet, maybe they didn’t know them!

I hope they come in handy for you.

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4 Responses to 5 Feeding Tube Tips to Remember

  1. Shannon says:

    Very helpful! i didn’t realize that Kendall had a G-tube though! We recently went about 3 months without checking the water. I was getting ready to feed Emma, had the extension in place and then had to grab something from the kitchen and when I sat back down to feed her, she was holding the extension, still attached to the tube, but the tube was NOT in her belly! And there was NO water in the balloon, so we changed it out and vowed to check the water much more frequently!! And numbers 2 and 3, we have to remember all the time too! We don’t have a vitamix (yet), but I will keep that in mind about the berries and such! 🙂

  2. KevinO says:

    Yes, Kendall has been on a feeding tube now almost 3 years. In fact, she had the feeding tube prior to being diagnosed with WHS. She was a failure to thrive case and our GI doctor ordered the G-Tube insertion and “oh-by-the-way, let’s also run a micro-array”. Had no idea what we were in store for. In fact, we never thought anything genetically was wrong with Kendall until the results came. The rest is history…

  3. Laurie says:

    Kaylee is scheduled to get her tube on the 22nd. I remember reading this when you first posted it and recalling feeling happy that I didn’t need to know this stuff. now, I am grateful that you did…even if it does make me a little more nervous than I was before reviewing the tips. lol. Thanks for the insight!

  4. Kristen says:

    I have another tip. Keep a can of Ginger Ale on hand. If you clog the tube (with prevacid or something) use a small syringe and ginger ale. You use it almost as a plunger and it will dissolve and plunge out the clog. I learned this tip from a nurse and have actually used it – works like a charm!

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