Feeding Tube Troubleshooting - Feeding Tube Workbook :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Troubleshooting

Tube is clogged

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • Feeding tube is blocked
  • This can happen slowly over time, from a build-up of formula inside the tube
  • It can happen suddenly, for example, when crushed medication blocks the tube

What to do

  • Draw up 2 to 3 mL of warm water.
  • Attach the syringe to the feeding tube. Push the warm water in gently and pull the plunger back slowly.
  • Repeat several times.
  • If the problem continues, call the doctor who takes care of problems with your child’s tube.
  [hide]

There is leaking around the tube

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • Leaking can irritate the skin and cause a burning feeling.  Leaking may be due to:
  • The tube is not secured properly
  • The tube does not fit the opening properly
  • A build-up of granulation tissue

What to do

  • Check that the feeding tube is secure in the correct position (not pulled).
  • Continue skin care and try to keep the skin dry.
  • If leaking continues, call the doctor who takes care of problems with your child’s tube.
  [hide]

We are having problems with the pump or extension tubing

  [read more...]

Broken clamp

Possible Reasons

  • Clamp is worn out

What to do

  • Call the home care company that provides your feeding supplies for a replacement.

Plug or cap breaks off tip of feeding tube

Possible Reasons

  • Plug or cap is worn out

What to do

  • Call the home care company that provides your feeding supplies for a replacement.

Tip of feeding bag tubing keeps coming out of feeding tube

Possible Reasons

  • Tube port is worn out
  • Build-up of oils inside

What to do

  • Call the home care company that provides your feeding supplies for a replacement.
  • Wet a cotton swab with water and clean the inside of the adapter and the tip of the feeding set.

Pump is not working

What to do

  • Refer to the pump manual and call the home care company that provides your feeding supplies for help.
  [hide]

The skin around the tube is red, swollen, draining or sore

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • Leaking around the tube may irritate the skin and cause redness.
  • Pain, swelling and redness are signs of infection.

What to do

  • Do skin care more than once a day. Cover the site with a dressing to keep it dry. Change the dressing often.
  • See ‘Leaking around the tube’
  • If the problem continues, call the doctor who takes care of the skin around your child’s tube.  
  [hide]

There is a build-up of skin around the opening that is pink-red, shiny, thick & bumpy

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • This is granulation tissue, a normal body reaction to the tube.

What to do

  • Continue daily skin care. Secure the tube to the skin to prevent rubbing.
  • If the tissue becomes irritated or bleeds easily, call the doctor who takes care of the skin around your child’s tube.  The doctor may treat this problem.
  [hide]

My child is nauseated

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • The feeding is too fast
  • Your child has an illness such as a viral infection

What to do

  • Slow the rate of flow of the feeding, doubling the time it takes to feed.
  • If that does not work, try delaying the feeding for an hour and then give it slowly.
  • If your child still feels nauseated the next day, call your family doctor.
  [hide]

My child is vomiting

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • The tube is in the wrong position
  • Your child has an illness such as a viral infection
  • Your child has too much air in their stomach

What to do

  • Vent your child’s stomach by opening the plug and attaching a 60 ml syringe to the feeding tube to let gas out of the stomach.
  • Call your family doctor if vomiting continues.
  • If your child vomits green bile, call your family doctor.
  [hide]

My child has diarrhea

  [read more...]

Diarrhea is defined as more than 3 loose, watery bowel movements in a day.

Possible Reasons

  • Medicine may cause diarrhea
  • The feeding is going in too fast
  • The feeding tube may have moved out of place
  • Your child may have an illness or infection

What to do

  • Talk with the dietitian about changing the flow of formula.
  • Always wash your hands before cleaning the site or feeding your child.  
  • Always use clean equipment (see page 23).
  • When your child has diarrhea, you need to replace fluids.  Talk to the dietitian or nurse about how to do this.
  • If diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days, call your family doctor
  [hide]

My child is constipated

  [read more...]

Constipation is defined as hard bowel movements or no bowel movements for 3 days

Possible Reasons

  • Your child is not getting enough fluids  
  • Medicines may cause constipation

What to do

  • Ask your family doctor, pediatrician or pharmacist if your child’s medicines may cause constipation.
  • Talk to the dietitian or nurse about the amount of fluids and fiber your child is getting.
  [hide]

My child is bloated

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • The formula may have gone in too quickly
  • Too much gas in the stomach

What to do

  • Delay the next feeding by 1 hour or slow the rate of feeding by half for 4 to 6 hours. Then slowly increase the rate back to the usual level.
  • Open the plug and attach a 60 ml syringe to the feeding tube to let gas out of the stomach.
  • If your child is able, exercise such as walking may relieve bloating and gas.
  • If bloating lasts for more than 2 or 3 days, call your family doctor
  [hide]

My child has cramps

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • The formula is cold or not mixed properly, causing the bowels to contract

What to do

  • Make sure the formula is at room temperature before using.
  • Be sure to use the right formula recipe.
  • Formula may be infusing too fast. Slow down the flow of formula.
  [hide]

My child is coughing or having trouble breathing during or after feedings

  [read more...]

Possible Reasons

  • The formula may be coming back up into the throat from the stomach.

What to do

  • Slow down the flow of formula.
  • Talk with the person who handles problems with feeding about changing the flow of formula.
  • Make sure your child is in a safe position for feeding (sitting or propped up).
  • If the problem continues, call your family doctor.
  [hide]

View and print the Feeding Tube Workbook

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000