Tube Feeding Experience

Took Liam to the Child Developement Center in providence this morning. For those who don’t know, Liam is 4 years old and autistic. Just recently he’s developed some feeding problems to the extent that sometimes he refuses food altogether. It’s up and down; some days he eats good and some days he won’t eat at all. It’s so erratic that, although he’s just a little peanut, he’s not gaining weight properly and the doctors feel that it’s starting to affect his development.

It’s entirely possible that in the next few weeks we may have to have a gastro-tube inserted and feed him through that until we can work out whatever issues he has with mealtime. It’s a bit of a scary thing; having to put a funnel in the tube and pour nourishment straight into his stomach. God almighty, that’s the way I fill my ink buckets at work.

So, I’m wondering if anybody else here has had experience with tube feeding. Did it work? Any problems with it?

Although I haven’t had experience with tube feeding of a family member, I have seen lots of patients at the physical rehab hospital where I work who have them. We send people home with them quite a bit with only a little training. Adolescents and adults can even learn to take care of them themselves.

I know it sounds scary, but I have seen the feeding process and it is not bad at all. I am sure you will be an old hand at it in no time.

Best of luck to you with Liam.

Med-surg Nurse here.

I have had lots and lots of experience with feeding tubes. It sounds much scarier than it is. The insertion procedure is very simple and relatively complication free. The procedure for feeding through them is very easy and you will be instructed on their use before taking the little one home. And it is simpler and less traumatic way for the person to get the nutrition and/or medication they need and is certainly less stressfull than coaxing, pleading, cajoling and worrying if they’ve got enough in them to survive.
The most common type I’ve dealt with is a PEG Tube which is short for Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy tube, although the basic use is the same no matter what it is called. The tube is inserted through the abdominal wall(percutaneous) usually in the area just above the bellybutton through a very small incision. If you have ever had or known anyone who has had an endoscopy where they look down into your stomach with a scope, this is the same procedure used to insert the feeding tube. There is usually no large incision or stitches or bleeding or anything like that. There is a small disk on the inside that prevents the tube from being easily pulled out or dislodged. Most patients I’ve taken care of after having the tube inserted didn’t even need so much as a tylenol.

After insertion, there is a small length of tube visible and accessable for use. Usually it is coiled and taped to the abdomen. It is easily concealed under the shirt. I’ve seen very young children with them and they quickly learn to ignore them.

I would have it done, no insist it was done for any family member who I thought would benefit from it.

Euty, I can only imagine how hard this is for you. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions you think I can answer or even if you just want to talk.



My only experience with tube feeding is with my cat. I know that I should not equate this with YOUR situation, but Kobii is my child, and I was scared. When she was really ill with Pancreatitis in Nov-Dec, she lost her appetite. Totally. The vet explained tube feeding to me, and he said it is the same procedure that is used with people.

At one point I was dropping her off at the vet every morning to be tube fed and hydrated, and I was very concerned that her throat would be sore. This never seemed to happen…she still purred when I would stroke her throat, and didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects. And it worked, and she is fine now.

I hope you aren’t offended that I sort of “lumped” my KobiiKitty in with your precious child.


OOPS, sounds like my vet was wrong when he said the procedure is the same for people and cats.

Sorry for sticking my -2 cents in.