G-Tube Feeding Mechanics


When feeding via g-tube for medical reasons, there are options other than formula and pumps.

We give Little Miss bolus feedings using a two ounce syringe, rather than using a pump. It gives us more freedom and takes less time. Plus it mimics eating in that her stomach gradually fills over 20 – 25 minutes and allows her to feel hunger between meals. This practice supports our goal to increase her self-feeding. Currently her self-feeding (eating by mouth) is at zero. It waxes and wanes.

Little Miss receives three meals and one snack per day – timed as much as possible to coincide with our family meals. The protein/veggie recipe is used for the three meals. Fruit/grain recipe is given at snack time.

Feeding a meal starts with the timer. A 60 ml (2 ounce) syringe is given at 3-minute intervals. Each time I hear the buzzer, I reset it for 3 minutes and begin feeding a syringe to Little Miss. I take 20 seconds to empty one syringe. This gives her tummy time to respond to feeding and accommodate the food (rather than cause reflux). Eight of those syringes, for a total of 16 ounces,  is adequate caloric intake for her age, size, activity level, and stomach capacity. (Little Miss is nearly 11 years old, 75 pounds, busy!! and had 10% of her stomach removed during a surgery.)

So, it looks like this:

8:05    1st  2-ounce syringe, taking 20 seconds to deliver

8:08   2nd 2-ounce syringe, 20 seconds to deliver

8:11    3rd  2-ounce syringe, 20 seconds to deliver

8:14    4th 2-ounce syringe, 20 seconds to deliver

8:17    5th 2-ounce syringe, 20 seconds to deliver

8:20    6th 2-ounce syringe, 20 seconds to deliver

8:23    7th 2-ounce syringe, 20 seconds to deliver

8:26    final syringe  (21 minutes start to finish)

or this:  (when a 2 ounce syringe is too big for your hands, do 16 1-ounce feedings)

8:05   1st  1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:06   2nd  1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:08   3rd  1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:09   4th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:11    5th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:12    6th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:14    7th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:15    8th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:17    9th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:18   10th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:20   11th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:21   12th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:23   13th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:24   14th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:26   15th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver

8:27   16th 1-ounce syringe, 10 seconds to deliver (22 minutes start to finish)

This becomes automatic and saves lots of time over pump feeding!

Snack is the same, just a different food. I allow 3 hours between the start of one meal and the start of the next meal to for digestion.  However, the fruit/grain snack is more quickly digested and I am able to begin her last feeding of the day as soon as 2 hours after snack.

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