G/GJ tubes: Caring for Your Child and Their G tube

Feeding Through Gastrostomy tube (G-tube)
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Some children have a medical condition which prevents them from eating or drinking enough by mouth. The G-tube provides special food directly into the stomach (or small intestine) so they can receive proper nutrition.
Gastrostomy tube (G-tube)
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Your child needs to be fed through a feeding tube. These feedings are called enteral feedings. An enteral feeding is a way of giving food and liquids through a tube directly into your child’s stomach or small bowel.

If the tube enters into your child’s stomach, it is a gastrostomy tube (G tube). If the end of your child’s feeding tube is in your child’s small bowel, this tube is a gastrojejunal tube (GJ tube).

Why do children need feeding tubes?

If the end of the feeding tube is in your child’s stomach, this tube is a gastrostomy tube (G tube). Your child may need a G tube because she: 

Gastrojejunal tube (GJ-tube)
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  • cannot take in enough food and liquid. So she may not be gaining enough weight.
  • has problems chewing and swallowing. This may cause the foods or liquids to go into your child’s lungs instead of the stomach. This is called aspiration.
  • cannot use all the foods she eats because of her disease. This is called malabsorption.
  • has a problem with food coming back up from the stomach (reflux).

How is your child’s feeding tube put in?

  • Usually, a doctor who is specially trained to read X-rays and images (a radiologist) will put in your child’s G tube. This is done under general anaesthesia.
  • Sometimes a surgeon puts the feeding tube in. If a surgeon puts your child’s feeding tube in, your child may have a different kind of tube.

How does your child get food through a feeding tube?

Your child will get formula through the feeding tube:

  • a volume of fluid given a few times a day, or
  • a small amount of fluid given each hour continuously

Cleaning your child’s feeding tube

  • Flush the G tube after all feedings and medicines with 5 mL to 10 mL of water. Use a 5-mL or 10-mL syringe to flush the tube.
  • Wash all equipment, including the feeding bag, with soap and water.
  • If your child’s feeding bag or infusion tubing is still not clean, wash with a mixture that is one part white vinegar and one part water. Make sure to rinse again with water.

Tips during feedings

  • While your child is having a feeding, she should sit quietly doing homework, watching TV, or doing any other quiet activity. Have your child sit with you at the table during meals.
  • Hold your baby for at least part of the time while your baby has her feeding.
  • Your child can go back to her normal activities when she finishes feeding.
  • Call your family doctor if you need help at any time.

For more information, please see G/GJ tubes: Common skin problems related to feeding tubes​ and G/GJ tubes: Changing Your Child’s Dressing.

Key points

  • If the tube enters into your child’s stomach, it is a gastrostomy tube (G tube).
  • If the end of your child’s feeding tube is in your child’s small bowel, this tube is a gastrojejunal tube (GJ tube).
  • Usually, a doctor who is specially trained to read X-rays and images (radiologist) will put in your child’s G tube.
  • While your child is having a feeding, she should sit quietly doing homework, watching TV, or doing any other quiet activity.
  • Hold your baby for at least part of the time while your baby has her feeding.

Julia Kelly, RN

3/29/2011

At SickKids:

Before your child gets his or her feeding tube, you must come to a class to learn all about your child’s feeding tube. We will tell you about coming to this class when we book the date for your child are feeding tube. This class also gives you a chance to ask questions. By the time your child is ready to go home, you should feel comfortable with all of your child’s care.​​





Notes: