Infant Gerd, Sleep Feeding And Feeding Tube

Question

Asked by Nupur Goyal

Infant Gerd, Sleep Feeding And Feeding Tube

I have a question about using feeding tubes for babies who will only sleep feed. My baby boy (Varun, 15 weeks old) suffers from acid reflux and will only sleep feed. The problem is that he is sleeping less and less everyday and it has become really difficult to feed him. When he is hungry, he cannot sleep, and unless he sleeps, we cannot feed him :(

We have even tried giving him pedialyte instead of formula but he refuses to take the bottle in his mouth when awake. I worry about Varun dehydrating all the time and am also tired of trying to force the bottle in his mouth 24/7. I am frustrated enough to ask his GI for a feeding tube and would like to know the opinion of other experienced moms on this forum. Specifically,

(i) What are the disadvantages of using a feeding tube for sleep feeders ? I am going to feed him orally as much as possible and would like to use the feeding tube only to supplement

(ii) How does one decide between a NG tube and a G tube ?

Thanks in advance

Answer

I have worked with many children who have feeding tubes. I agree completely with Jan about the advantages and disadvantages. If my child needed one though I would only consider doing an NG tube as a trial not as a long term solution. Yes, the g-tube will leave a permanent scar (albeit small) but the NG tubes are uncomfortable and they often get pulled out.

I have had many parents feel relieved when the tube finally went in. All of the stress about trying to get food in is gone. They then can do feeding as practice more than anything. But, they also often say that it takes longer to get rid of it than they expect. Most babies start out with continuous feeds which means they never establish normal hunger cycles. Without hunger cycles they are unlikely to want to eat from a bottle. Many of our refluxers need continuous feeds when tube fed because like Jan said it is hard to tell how much their babies will tolerate and on top of that there is normally a period of time where the docs are trying to put on some weight and feed them more.

I guess my biggest question is whether or not all of the medication avenues have been tackled with your little guy. Are you seeing a pediatric GI specialist? Is your son's weight being closely monitored? Does your doctor realize how bad things are at this point? If not, you may want to make another appointment and write down what a typical day is like. How much he's eating and when. This might help the doctor see how things are going.

Best of Luck - Stephanie

Answered by Stephanie