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Nasogastric feeding tube

Alternate Names

Feeding - nasogastric tube; NG tube; Bolus feeding; Continuous pump feeding; Gavage tube

What to Expect at Home

A nasogastric tube, or NG tube, is a special tube that carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose. It can be used for all feedings or just, sometimes, for giving your child extra calories.

It’s important to take good care of the feeding bag and tubing so that they work properly. It’s also important to take good care of the skin around the nostrils so that it does not get irritated.

Try to keep your child from touching or pulling on the tube.

Try to make care of this feeding tube part of your daily routine.

Flushing Tube

Flushing the tube will help to release any formula attached to the tube. Flush the tube after each feeding, or as often as your nurse recommends.

  • Make sure your hands are washed with soap and water.
  • After the feeding is finished, add warm water to the feeding syringe and let it flow by gravity.
  • If the water does not go through, try changing positions a bit or attach the plunger to the syringe, and gently push the plunger part-way. Do not press all the way down or press fast.
  • Remove the syringe.
  • Close the NG tube cap.

Taking Care of the Skin

Taking good care of the skin will help to keep your child comfortable and make it easier to deliver feedings.

Follow these general guidelines:

  • Clean the skin around the tube with warm water and a clean washcloth after each feeding. Remove any crust or secretions in the nose.
  • When removing a bandage or dressing from the nose, loosen it with a bit of mineral oil and gently take it off. Gently wash this, or other lubricants, off the nose after removing bandages.
  • If you notice redness or irritation, try putting the tube in the other side of the nose.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice:

  • There is redness, swelling and irritation in both nostrils
  • The tube keeps getting clogged and you are unable to unclog it with water
  • The Corpak tube falls out

Review Date: 2/7/2009
Reviewed By: George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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