What you should know about your child’s body adjusting to tube-feeding

  • It may take time for your child’s gastrointestinal system to get used to tube-feeding at home; be patient
  • Sometimes conditions like constipation, dehydration, or diarrhea can prevent your child from getting proper nutrition while tube-feeding
  • Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse if they experience symptoms
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    • Wait 30 to 60 minutes for the cramps or fullness to subside before starting a feeding
    • Feed formula more slowly
    • Administer only the prescribed volume of formula
    • Allow formula to reach room temperature prior to feeding

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    • Talk to your child’s healthcare professional about getting extra water after or between feedings
    • Ask your child’s healthcare provider if you should change the feeding schedule or formula

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    • Add more fluids and have your child use the bathroom as soon as they feel the need to go
    • Have your child be as active as possible
    • Record the times of your child’s bowel movements and try to establish a daily routine
    • Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about whether you should change your child’s medications

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    Recognize signs and symptoms associated with intolerance or dehydration:

    • Stomach cramps
    • Feeling of fullness and/or discomfort
    • Increased thirst
    • Dry lips
    • Small amounts of dark, strong-smelling urine
    • Hard stools that are difficult to pass
    • Loss of appetite

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    Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse if they experience:

    • Upset stomach that lasts 24 hours
    • Signs of dehydration, including increased thirst or dry lips
    • Unusual weakness
    • Red, sore, or swollen tube site
    • Tube clog that you can’t flush out with warm water
    • Weight loss or gain of more than 2 pounds a week
    • Vomiting
    • Fever


1. Abbott Laboratories. Managing issues while tube feeding at home.
https://static.abbottnutrition.com/cms-prod/abbottnutrition-2016.com/img/86467%20managing%20issues_tcm1226-57805.pdf. Published 2015. Accessed March 9, 2018.