Tube feeding – Part 1

One of the lesser known (and obviously less frequent) consequences of severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is the need to tube feed some children. Babies can learn very quickly that the act of feeding hurts and as a result will refuse to feed. Despite the notion that feeding should be instinctual, there are some instincts that take precedence, like preserving oxygen flow or avoiding pain.

Jess, Belle and Jordan’s story

I’ll start with the good news … even though we were told that there was virtually no chance Jordan (now 12 weeks old) wouldn’t have severe reflux and food issues like his sister, I really haven’t seen much evidence of either of them. He reacts a little to a couple of foods (tomato, spicy foods, etc) but that’s pretty common, and while he vomits constantly he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and on the odd bad day, we just use Mylanta. Plus he’s thriving at about 7kg!

Belle’s issues were a little more complex, but she’s a bright, bubbly and very energetic little girl and coming up to 3.5 years. She stopped feeding altogether between about 5 and 7 weeks of age, and was tubed at 7 weeks. We were told it would be for 48 hours, but we ended up tube feeding for 2.5 years. After a year on the NG tube, and lots of admissions, they did a couple ofoperations to set up a PEG and then Mic‐key button [low profile tube].