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Thread: Transition from NG tube

  1. #1

    Default Transition from NG tube

    My son was born at 35 weeks by C-section and is now 6 weeks old. The Doctors discovered he had liver disease and at two weeks he had a pretty major operation. He has been fed by an NG tube from birth and I've been trying to get him to breastfeed since he was well enough post-op. He makes attempts to latch on, but so far we've had no success, he doesn't seem to open his mouth wide enough or put his tongue far forward enough.

    My main concern at the moment is the length of time he has been on the NG tube, I find the feeding process very stressful and time consuming and I'm having to fit in pumping milk and looking after another child at the same time. I'm also worried that he'll become dependent on the tube. We have had little support from the hospital with regard to this.

    I'm now considering trying him on bottles just as way to make sure he gets at least some oral feeds and moves closer to getting the tube removed. Has anyone had any experience of this and whether breastfeeding might still be possible or if we do choose the bottle option whether we can still establish breastfeeding after this? I'm getting increasingly stressed and worried about this as the weeks go by.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,999

    Default Re: Transition from NG tube

    No experience with what you describe, but I just want to applaud you for providing breastmilk via pump and NG tube, especially when you have a c-section to recover from.

    I don't think it's a bad idea to try providing milk via bottle. Of course there's a danger that your baby could get hooked on the bottle and not want to nurse. But I think at this point, it's sensible to be open to the possibility that the baby may not want to nurse, after so long on a NG tube and so little practice at the breast. If that happens, well, sometimes life throws you a curve ball.

    Has anyone suggested at-the-breast feedings using a Supplemental Nursing System or Lact-Aide? I don't know if that would be practical for you and your baby, but it might be worth looking into.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Transition from NG tube

    I just wanted to reach out to you, I am guessing you are feeling pretty alone in this. I am in a similar situation (but not exactly the same) and am feeling pretty isolated with it.

    My daughter was not born early, but she was born via C-section and is currently 5 weeks old. She doesn't have liver issues, but does have heart issues. She has an NG tube. She didn't gain any weight her first 3 weeks and was 10 oz. below birth weight at 3 weeks. She just didn't seem to figure out nursing. We were told to switch to bottle feeding. We did and she gained. However, she can't swallow without aspirating many times (including silent aspirations, where you can't tell she is aspirating). She just can't figure out how to swallow. Since we had no other safe way to feed her, she got an NG tube.

    I have been exclusively pumping now, and she gets no liquids by mouth. I too am worried about her not figuring out nursing or wanting to make the effort to eat if the food gets right where it needs to be now without any effort.

    Like you, I'm stressed about trying to pump, give my daughter her feedings, and chase after all my other kids. I feel like I am getting run ragged and I am tired. I am so tired of having each feeding cycle (pumping, feeding, cleaning equipment) taking way over an hour. I am sick of hiding in my room to pump because I feel too uncomfortable to pump in front of anyone else (including hubby and kids) so I can't let down.

    Nursing is so much easier. And I miss that connection with my baby. I just don't know if I can EP forever.

    So, I have no experience with knowing whether you should use a bottle now to get used to oral feeds or not. I really have no advice. I just wanted to let you know that this mom has a lot of empathy for you. I sure hope things get better for you and that your sweet baby boy figures out the feeding.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Transition from NG tube

    Oh, and we were told to give our daughter a pacifier when she gets her tube feedings so she associates sucking with getting a full tummy. None of my other kids had pacifiers, but we were told that this gives her a chance to "practice" sucking and swallowing (because it causes her to salivate a little more) Have you heard whether a pacifier would help? I know that is generally discouraged when nursing, but sometimes different circumstances might call for less typical interventions.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Transition from NG tube

    Hello,

    Thanks for the replies and klinzy I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through this too. It is just so totally exhausting. I think we just need to remind ourselves that we're doing an amazing thing by giving breast milk to our babies, especially because they're ill and for however long we manage to keep it up. I try a lot to think of the tube as a positive thing in that it means my son is getting everything he needs, but I miss nursing so much and it makes feeding a time of stress rather than comfort. We saw the speech therapist last week about transferring to a bottle and she said she thinks my son's swallow may be too weak at this point, so I'm going to continue with attempting to nurse as it's the only thing I can do at the moment.

    A pacifier was recommended to us too (I'd also never used one previously) and I think it is really important that they associate sucking with the feeding. But I tend to let my son suck on my finger instead as it's firmer than a dummy. The speech therapist also recommended that I massage his gums and rub the inside of his cheeks with my finger so as to avoid any hypersensitivity from not having oral feeds.

    it is all a lot to deal with and I really hope that things get better for you and your little girl soon.

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