Children's Hospital Colorado

Nasogastric (NG) Feeding Tube Insertion and Care

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What is a nasogastric feeding tube (NG tube)?

A nasogastric feeding tube (NG tube) is a small, soft tube that goes through the nose, down the throat and into the stomach. This tube may be used to provide feedings, hydration, and medications to your child.

NG tubes are used for infants and children who can’t take in enough calories or water by mouth. This can be a result of problems with their esophagus (throat) or if they have difficulty with swallowing, breathing, digestion, absorption or growth. If your child has any of these problems, their doctor will place an NG tube to supplement their nutrition and hydration until they can maintain proper nutrition on their own.

Why does my child need an NG feeding tube?

Your child may get an NG feeding tube for many reasons, but most commonly because they:

  • Can’t gain weight because they’re not taking in enough calories
  • Are having trouble swallowing, eating, drinking or taking medicine
  • Are inhaling food or fluid into the lungs when swallowing (aspiration)
  • Need more calories than they can take through the mouth
  • Need medicine to help relieve constipation
  • Need nutritional therapy to treat a disease (such as inflammatory bowel disease)