MyTubeFeeding.ca | Instructions & Education

Instructions & Education

Managing your tube feeding: syringe feeding,
    gravity feeding and using a pump
Administering water & medication
Personal care
Keeping a record

Managing your tube feeding

In this section, we will cover the different feeding delivery methods and the supplies needed.

Checking the placement of your feeding tube
(If instructed by your healthcare professional)

You may be asked to check the placement of your feeding tube at home before you start a feeding - or less often (once a day or a few times a week). If you have been asked to check the position of your tube, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. For a nasogastric or nasojejunal tube: check the proper tube position as instructed by your healthcare professional (there may be a special mark drawn on the tube or a certain length it should be from the end of your nose). For a gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube: use a ruler or non-stretchy tape measure to measure the number of inches/centimetres from the spot where your tube exits your skin to the end of the tube (as pictured).
  3. Compare the number with previous measurements. If there is a change, call your healthcare professional. Do not begin the next feeding.
Using Syringe Feeding

Gather your supplies

  • Formula
  • Clean cup or container (if needed)
  • 60 mL syringe
  • Water (room temperature)

Get set up

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Wipe the top of the formula container with a clean, wet cloth
  3. Shake the formula container gently
  4. Check your ‘feeding schedule’ for how much formula to use

Starting the feeding

  1. Get in a comfortable position – sit upright or lie with the head of your bed raised to 45 degrees (about the height of 3 pillows)
  2. Open your feeding tube
    • Fold over, pinch or clamp the end of your feeding tube to stop the flow. Then uncap the tube.
  3. Flush your feeding tube with water - your healthcare professional will tell you how much water to use.
  4. Close or recap your feeding tube

Use either Method A or Method B

METHOD A
POURING FORMULA INTO THE SYRINGE

  1. Open your feeding tube
    • Fold over and pinch or clamp the end of your feeding tube to stop the flow. Then uncap the tube.
  2. Attach the syringe to the end of your feeding tube. Unfold your tube to start the flow.
  3. Pour your formula into the syringe
  4. Let the formula flow into your tube by gravity
  5. Continue refilling the syringe until your entire feeding is given
    • This entire process may take a few minutes or you may space out the syringe feeding over a longer period of time
    • Talk to your healthcare professional about how long your tube feeding should take
  6. Take the syringe off your tube – fold over and pinch the end of your feeding tube to stop the flow and recap the tube
  7. After feeding, flush your feeding tube with water – your healthcare professional will tell you how much to use
  8. Close or recap your feeding tube
  9. Clean, rinse and dry your supplies

METHOD B
DRAWING THE FORMULA INTO THE SYRINGE FROM A CUP OR CONTAINER

  1. Pour your formula into a clean cup or container
  2. Draw the formula up into the syringe
  3. Open your feeding tube
    • Fold over and pinch or clamp the end of your feeding tube to stop the flow, then uncap the tube
  4. Attach the syringe to the end of your feeding tube
  5. Gently push the formula into your tube with the syringe plunger
  6. Take the syringe off your tube – fold over and pinch or clamp the end of your feeding tube to stop the flow and recap the tube
  7. Repeat steps 6 to 10 until your entire feeding is given
    • This entire process may take a few minutes or you may space out the syringe feeding over a longer period of time
    • Talk to your healthcare professional about how long your tube feeding should take
  8. After feeding, flush your feeding tube with water – your healthcare professional will tell you how much to use.
  9. Close or recap your feeding tube
  10. Clean, rinse and dry your supplies
Using Gravity Feeding

Gather your supplies

  • Formula
  • Feeding bag and tubing
  • Pole
  • 60 mL syringe
  • Water (room temperature)

Get set up

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Wipe the top of the formula container with a clean, wet cloth
  3. Shake the formula container gently.
    • If using a pre-filled formula container, shake the container and spike it with the feeding set as shown by your healthcare professional – then go to step 6
  4. Close the tubing on the feeding bag by closing the slide/roller clamp
  5. Pour the formula into the feeding bag and close the top of the bag
    • Check your feeding schedule for how much formula to use
  6. Hang the feeding bag on the pole so it is at least 18 inches(45 centimetres) above the level of your stomach
  7. Start the flow of formula through the feeding bag tubing by opening the side/roller clamp
  8. Let the formula flow to the tip of the tubing
  9. Close the side/roller clamp

Starting the feeding

  1. Open your feeding tube
    • Fold over and pinch or clamp the end of your feeding tube to stop the flow. Then uncap the tube.
  2. Flush your feeding tube with water – your healthcare professional will tell you how much to use
  3. Attach the tip on the end of the feeding bag tubing to your feeding tube
  4. Get in a comfortable position – sit upright or lie with the head of your bed raised to 45 degrees (about the height of 3 pillows)
  5. Open the slide/roller clamp to adjust the flow rate
  6. After the feeding, close and remove the feeding bag tubing
  7. Flush your feeding tube with water – your healthcare professional will tell you how much to use
  8. Close your feeding tube
  9. Clean, rinse and dry your supplies. Your healthcare professional will tell you how often to replace your feeding bag and tubing.
Using a Feeding Pump

Gather your supplies

  • Formula
  • Feeding bag and tubing
  • Feeding pump
  • Pole
  • 60 mL syringe
  • Water (room temperature)

Get set up

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Wipe the top of the formula container with a clean, wet cloth
  3. Shake the formula container gently
    • If you are using a pre-filled formula container, shake the container and spike it with the feeding set as shown by your healthcare professional – then go to step 5
  4. Pour the formula into the feeding bag and close the top of the bag – make sure the slide/roller clamp is closed
    • Check your ‘feeding schedule’ for how much formula to use
  5. If using an IV pole, hang the feeding bag on the pole above the feeding pump
  6. Since every pump is different, follow the instructions given by your healthcare professional to use your feeding pump and ‘prime’ the tubing (‘priming’ means to fill the tubing with formula before it is attached to your feeding tube)

Starting the feeding

  1. Get in a comfortable position – sit upright or lie with the head of your bed raised to 45 degrees (about the height of 3 pillows)
  2. Open your feeding tube
    • Fold over and pinch or clamp the end of your feeding tube to stop the flow. Then uncap the tube.
  3. Flush your feeding tube with water – your healthcare professional will tell you how much to use
  4. Attach the tip on the end of the feeding bag tubing to your feeding tube
  5. Set the flow rate on the pump. Your healthcare professional will tell you what flow rate to use.
  6. If needed, open the side/roller clamp on the feeding bag tube
  7. Start your feeding pump
  8. After the feeding, take the feeding bag tube off of your feeding tube
  9. Flush your feeding tube with water – your healthcare professional will tell you how much to use
  10. Close your feeding tube
  11. Clean, rinse and dry your supplies
    • If you are using a pre-filled formula container, throw the container away when it is empty
    • If you are pouring formula into a feeding bag container for your tube feeding, check with your healthcare professional about how long your feeding formula should “hang” or stay in the feeding bag and tubing at room temperature
    • Replace your feeding container and tubing as advised by your healthcare professional

Administering water or medications

Water is part of your formula, but extra water and sometimes medications are needed to keep your body healthy and your feeding tube working well.

  • Your healthcare professional will tell you how much water or medication to take.
  • Your healthcare professional will tell you which medications you can crush, or if there are liquid medications you can take.
Read this first: Checklist

Check with your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to find out about:

  • Which medications should not be crushed
  • How to crush medications – if you are asked to do this
  • How much water to mix with your medication
  • Which medications should not be given together
  • If there are any other special instructions about giving your medications through your feeding tube
Step-by-Step Instruction

When giving water and medications, follow the steps below. When giving water only, start at step 2.

  1. Using a 60 mL syringe, flush your feeding tube with 15-30 mL of warm water before giving medication (unless you are told something different by your healthcare professional). See Figure 1.
  2. Using a 60 mL syringe, draw up the right dose of medication or water into the syringe. Open your feeding tube and attach the syringe to your feeding tube. See Figure 2 and Figure 3.
  3. Gently push the water or medication into your tube. See Figure 3.
  4. Take the syringe off your feeding tube and refill the syringe with warm water until the all of the water you need is given, or to flush all the medication out of the syringe.
  5. Close your feeding tube when finished and place the cap back on the tip of the syringe.

Personal care

Keeping a record

OWN YOUR FEEDING TUBE:
Learn how to use and live with your feeding tube in this five-part video series with Gunnar Esiason.

Nestlé Health Science has made every effort to include on this website only information that it believes to be accurate and reliable. This site contains information from a variety of sources including practice-based resources, guidelines from professional organizations, and experiences of healthcare professionals who have managed patients on home tube feeding. Information provided on this site is for education purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice or instruction of your healthcare professionals, or to substitute medical care. Contact a qualified healthcare professional if you have any questions regarding your tube feeding product, prescription and supplies, or if you have a specific question or issues about what is best for you as you manage your tube feeding at home.