Oral feeding methods often mean that the child receives a whole feed in one go which can aggravate reflux.
We were able to slow the rate at which our child received her feeds by the use of a feeding tube and feeding pump.
Tube feeding can be via a naso gastric tube where the tube is passed up the nose, down the gullet and into the stomach, or a gastrostomy
where the a tube is surgically inserted through the stomach wall.
The stomach is not the only end point for delivering feed and in children with particularly difficult to manage reflux, the tubes can be passed
further down the food canal into the jejunum or duodenum.
This can be done by either passing a naso-tube via the nose, through the stomach and into the intestine using a
technique called "video fluoroscopy" or for a more permanent tube, via an existing gastrostomy site called a G-J
We found that the naso-jejunal tubes would become displaced fairly easily so we were very relieved when Niamh
reached 10Kg and was big enough to have the G-J tube inserted - This dual-port tube changed our lives and
our little girl's. This tube also allowed us to release uncomfortable air from Niamh's stomach whilst feeding her
through the jejunal port - it was brilliant.
By bypassing the stomach and delivering feed to these lower areas, it makes it possible to feed your child whilst keeping their stomach empty thus significantly reducing the risk of reflux.
The only possible disadvantage of having these tubes is that because feed is being delivered into a much smaller area, the rate of delivery also has to be significantly reduced to avoid discomfort to the child. This may make feeding a 24hour a day job.