Frequently Asked Questions About Nasogastric (NG) or Orogastric (OG) Tube Feedings

When would we recommend nasogastric (NG) or orogastric (OG) tube feedings?

  • When your child can't eat or drink
  • When your child won't eat or drink
  • When your child can’t eat or drink enough

Your child may need tube feedings if they:

  • Have trouble gaining weight and growing
  • Are not getting enough nutrients or fluids
  • Cannot safely eat or drink due to risk of food or fluid going into their airway
  • Need a special formula that they refuse to drink because it does not taste good
  • Need medicines that they will not take by mouth
  • Have a medical condition that prevents them from taking in food or fluids by mouth

What is a nasogastric or orogastric tube?

  • A thin, soft, flexible tube that is used to deliver liquids to the stomach.
  • The tube is inserted by a caregiver through one nostril of the nose (nasogastric tube) or mouth (orogastric tube), down the back of the throat, through the esophagus (food pipe) and into the stomach.
  • One end of the tube is connected to a bag of formula, which runs slowly into the stomach.
  • The tube can be used for a short period of time or for longer periods, depending on your child’s needs.
  • A nasogastric tube is typically used at first to determine how well your child tolerates tube feedings.
  • Another type of tube that may be considered is a gastrostomy tube (inserted directly into the stomach by a surgeon or interventional radiologist).

What are the benefits of tube feeding?

  • Tube feedings can be used to meet all your child’s nutritional needs or can be used to give whatever your child does not take by mouth.
  • It helps your child to gain weight and grow.
  • It is a way to give medicines that your child needs and has trouble taking by mouth.
  • It allows flexibility with feeding. Tube feedings can be given overnight while your child sleeps or during the daytime.
  • Your child can participate in normal activities while they have a feeding tube in place.
  • It allows you to safely feed a child who has medical needs.
  • If allowed, your child can still eat and drink while the tube is in place.

How long will my child need tube feeds?

This depends on the reason your child needs tube feeds. Your healthcare provider will discuss this with you.

How will I know how to take care of the tube?

A healthcare professional will teach you everything you need to know to care for your child’s feeding tube. Some of the skills you will learn are:

  • How to insert the tube
  • Checking placement of the tube before use
  • Giving feedings through the tube
  • How to problem solve possible issues with the tube

How will I get the supplies that I need to feed my child?

Your healthcare provider will place an order for feeding supplies, equipment and any special formulas which will be delivered to your home by a medical supply company.

How often does the NG or OG tube need to be changed?

You will need to replace the tube if:

  • You are not sure of the position of the tube
  • The tube becomes clogged
  • Your child pulls it out
  • There is a leak in the tube
  • You can no longer read the markings on the tube

Does it hurt my child when the tube is put in or pulled out?

The tube is very thin and flexible, so it should not be painful. It is uncomfortable and your child most likely will resist placement. Toddlers usually need to be physically supported for a while after initial insertion to prevent them from pulling it out. You will be taught how to help your child be more comfortable with insertion and learn how to tape it securely in place.

How will I know what to give my child through the NG tube?

Your healthcare provider will give you a detailed plan on what to give your child through the tube and when to give it.

What happens next?

You and your healthcare provider will make a plan for your child. If a tube is needed, your healthcare provider will arrange for the tube to be placed either in the hospital or as an outpatient. Our staff will teach you how to put the tube in, how to care for the tube, and how to give your child feedings and medicine through the tube.


Related Patient Instructions: Giving Medicine Through a Feeding Tube, Enteralite® Infinity® Enteral Feeding Pump, Administering Enteral Tube Feedings, Insertion of Orogastric (OG) Feeding Tube, Insertion of Nasogastric (NG) Feeding Tube

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