Enteral tubes, also called “feeding tubes,” provide way to allow children of all ages who are unable to eat enough by mouth, to safely receive the nutrition they need to grow. Enteral tubes can also help children receive critical medications that they are unable to swallow.
There are a variety of different types of enteral tubes for children, and picking the best type of tube can depend upon many factors, including your child’s condition and individual needs. Whatever type of enteral tube your child has, knowing what to expect at the time that it is inserted, and gaining an education in how to care for your child and their tube afterwards are the keys to feeling comfortable and using it successfully.
Many children at Boston Children’s Hospital use a variety of different enteral tubes both in and outside of the hospital on a regular basis.
Children with enteral tubes can grow and develop as they normally would if they could swallow their food and medicine by mouth, and they can participate in all the same activities.
When your child does not require their enteral tube any more, it will be possible to work with their clinical care team to remove it.
Living successfully with an enteral tube usually gets a lot easier with time, as you build up your knowledge about how to care for it.