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Your Child's Nasogastric Tube: Flushing the Tube

Your child is going home with a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube in place. This is a soft thin tube inserted through your child’s nose down into the stomach. It delivers liquid food directly to the stomach. One of the things you must do is flush your child’s tube regularly to keep it from getting clogged. You were shown how to do this before your child was discharged from the hospital. This sheet can help you remember those steps when you and your child are at home. Arrangements may also be made for a home health nurse to help you.

 

NOTE: There are many types of NG tubes and syringes. Your child’s NG tube and supplies may look or work differently from what are described and shown here. Always follow the instructions given by your child’s health care provider or home health nurse. Ask them for phone numbers to call if you need help. Also, make sure you have the phone number for your child’s medical supply company. You’ll need to order more supplies for your child in the future. Write all of these phone numbers below.

Health care provider phone number: ____________________________________

Home health nurse phone number: _____________________________________

Medical supply company phone number: __________________________________

Outline of baby's head and chest showing NG tube in nose connected to feeding port and feeding syringe. Water in feeding syringe flows into baby through NG tube.

Flushing the Tube for Bolus Feeding Using a Syringe

Flush your child’s NG tube after each feeding or as instructed by your child’s health care provider or home health nurse.

Supplies

  • Feeding syringe

  • Water

Steps

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

  • The feeding syringe should already be connected to the NG tube.

  • Pour water into the syringe. Let it run through the NG tube by gravity.

  • If the water flows too slowly or doesn’t flow at all, place the plunger in the syringe. Gently, push the plunger a bit. This can help remove anything that is blocking or clogging the NG tube. Do not push the plunger all the way into the syringe or with force. Changing the child’s position so that he or she is lying down or sitting upright may also improve the flow.

  • Disconnect the syringe from the NG tube when the flushing is complete.

  • Close the feeding port cap of the NG tube.

Additional instructions: _____________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Flushing the Tube for Bolus Feeding or Continuous Feeding Using a Pump

Flush your child’s NG tube after each bolus feeding or as instructed by your child’s health care provider or home health nurse. With continuous feeding, you may only need to flush the tube after the last daily feeding.

Supplies

  • 5–10 cc/ml syringe

  • Water

 Closeup of hands disconnecting feeding port from NG tube. Feeding bag tubing is connected to pump.

 

 

 Closeup of hand holding NG tube with syringe inserted in feeding port. Other hand is pressing down plunger on syringe.

Steps

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

  • Make sure the pump is in the STOP/OFF mode.

  • Make sure the clamp on the feeding bag tubing is closed.

  • Disconnect the feeding bag tubing from the NG tube.

  • Put the tip of the empty syringe in water.

  • Draw up 5–10 cc/ml of water.

  • Connect the syringe to the feeding port of the NG tube.

  • Gently push the plunger all the way into the syringe.

  • Disconnect the syringe from the NG tube when the flushing is complete.

  • Close the feeding port cap of the NG tube.

Additional instructions: _______________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Call the doctor right away if any of the following occurs:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

  • Redness, swelling, leakage, sores, or pus develops in the skin around the tube site.

  • You see blood around the tube, in child’s stool, or in contents of the stomach.

  • Your child coughs, chokes, or vomits while feeding.

  • Your child vomits between feedings.

  • Your child has a bloated or rigid abdomen (belly feels hard when gently pressed).

  • Your child has diarrhea or constipation.

  • Your child has a fever 100.4°F  (38°C) or higher.

 

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