FOR PATIENTS

Tube feeding is a way of getting your body the nutrition it needs. Tube feed is a liquid form of nourishment that’s delivered to your body through a flexible tube. The nutrients of a tube feed are similar to what you would get from normal food, and are also digested in the same way. Tube feed contain all the nutrients you need on a daily basis, including carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.  

Types of tube feeds

Everyone has different nutritional requirements. The type of feed that you receive is tailored to your needs and will depend on your weight, height, activity level, medical condition and home circumstances. There is a wide range of tube feed products that covers all nutritional needs, including:

  • low or high energy requirements
  • with or without fibre
  • high protein needs
  • diabetes
  • lactose (milk) intolerance

When in hospital, your dietitian will discuss with you the best type of feed for your unique circumstances, which will ensure you receive the optimal nutrition and care.

Types of feeding tubes

Your feed can be delivered using  one of the following types of tubes:

  • Nasogastric feeding tube
  • Nasojejunal feeding tube
  • Gastrostomy tubes e.g. percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), radiologically inserted gastrostomy (RIG)
  • Jejunostomy tubes e.g. surgical jejunostomy (JEJ), jejunal extension of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG-J)

Your healthcare professional will recommend the type of feeding tube that’s best for you. 

Type of feeding tube Where the tube is inserted When it’s used
Nasogastric (NG) feeding tube Through the nostril, down the oesophagus and into the stomach Usually for short-term tube feeding (less than six weeks)
Nasojejunal (NJ) feeding tube Through the nostril, down the oesophagus and into the small intestine (jejunum) When feeding into the stomach isn’t tolerated
Gastrostomy tube Directly into your stomach through a small incision in the abdomen’s skin For long-term use (more than six weeks)
Jejunostomy  tube Directly into your small intestine (jejunum) through a small incision in the abdomen’s skin For long-term use (more than six weeks)

Gastrostomy and jejunostomy tubes are less visible than the NG or NJ tubes but require a procedure/ surgery for placement and stoma site infections can occur.

NG or NJ tubes, by contrast, do not require surgery for placement but they are more visible than a gastrostomy/ jejunostomy and insertion can cause discomfort.

FOR PARENTS

Tube feeding is a way of getting your child’s body the nutrition it needs. Tube feed is a liquid form of nourishment that’s delivered to your child’s body through a flexible tube. The nutrients of tube feed are similar to what they would get from normal food, and are also digested in the same way. Tube feed contains all the nutrients your child needs on a daily basis, including carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.

Types of tube feed

Every child has different nutritional requirements. The type of feed that will be recommended for your child is tailored to their needs and will depend on their weight, height, activity level, medical condition and your home circumstances. There is a wide range of tube feed products that covers all nutritional needs, including:

  • low or high energy requirements
  • with or without fibre
  • high protein needs
  • lactose (milk) intolerance

When in hospital, your dietitian will discuss with you the best type of feed for your child’s unique circumstances, which will ensure he or she receives the optimal nutrition and care.

Types of feeding tubes

Your child’s feed can be delivered using  one of the following types of tubes:

  • Nasogastric feeding tube
  • Nasojejunal feeding tube
  • Gastrostomy tubes e.g. percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), radiologically inserted gastrostomy (RIG)
  • Jejunostomy tubes e.g. surgical jejunostomy (JEJ), jejunal extension of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG-J)

Your healthcare professional will recommend the type of feeding tube that’s best for your child and you.

Type of feeding tube Where the tube is inserted When it’s used
Nasogastric (NG) feeding tube Through the nostril, down the oesophagus and into the stomach Usually for short-term tube feeding (less than six weeks)
Nasojejunal (NJ) feeding tube Through the nostril, down the oesophagus and into the small intestine (jejunum) When feeding into the stomach isn’t tolerated
Gastrostomy tube Directly into your stomach through a small incision in the abdomen’s skin For long-term use (more than six weeks)
Jejunostomy  tube Directly into your small intestine (jejunum) through a small incision in the abdomen’s skin For long-term use (more than six weeks)

Gastrostomy and jejunostomy tubes are less visible than the NG or NJ tubes but require a procedure/ surgery for placement and stoma site infections can occur.

NG or NJ tubes, by contrast, do not require surgery for placement but they are more visible than a gastrostomy/ jejunostomy and insertion can cause discomfort.

Gastrostomy button      

At some point, your healthcare professional may decide to replace your child’s gastrostomy tube with what’s called a low-profile gastrostomy button. The small ‘button’ acts like a port leading to the stomach. It has a much shorter tube that sits closely to the skin

A button is placed the same way as a gastrostomy tube, and both are held in place by a water-filled balloon. This option is generally preferred by healthcare professionals and parents alike as it is more practical for use in children.