Where is the feeding tube in my child’s body?
There are many different types of feeding tubes used to give tube feeding formula, and there are several different places where these feeding tubes may be located in the body. Each of these places allows the nutrients in the formula to be used by your child’s body, just like eating a regular meal:
Nasogastric or ‘NG-Tube’:
The feeding tube goes through the nose, down the esophagus or food tube, and ends in the stomach.
Nasojejunal or ‘NJ-Tube’:
The feeding tube goes through the nose, down the esophagus or food tube, continues through the stomach, and ends in the small intestine.
Gastrostomy or ‘G-Tube’:
The feeding tube goes through a small opening in the skin directly into the stomach.
Jejunostomy or ‘J-Tube’:
The feeding tube goes through a small opening in the skin into the jejunum or small intestine.
There are different ways to provide a tube feeding.
Tube feedings may be:
- Continuous: formula is flowing all the time or for many hours during the day and/or night
- Intermittent or Bolus: formula is given at meal times or with breaks during the day
- or a mix of these two
Depending on the tube feeding plan, the formula may be delivered by the following methods:
A feeding pump is a special device that controls the timing and amount of formula given. Formula flows from a feeding bag or pre‑filled container through tubing that runs into the pump and then into your child’s feeding tube.
Used for: Continuous feedings and some intermittent feedings
Gravity feeding uses a feeding bag and tubing which you hang on a pole above the level of your child’s stomach. Gravity will move the formula from the bag through the feeding tube.
Used for: Intermittent feedings
Syringe feeding uses a large (60 mL) syringe to deliver the formula. The formula can be gently pushed into your child’s feeding tube using the syringe plunger or it can flow from the syringe into your child’s feeding tube using gravity.
Used for: Bolus feeding
Your child’s feeding method (the timing and delivery) may be chosen because of:
- The type and location of the feeding tube your child has
- The reason your child needs the tube feeding
- How often your child needs tube feeding
- How you manage your child’s tube feeding at home
Your child’s healthcare team has chosen the method they believe will work best for you and your child at home to make sure your child gets the nutrition needed.