Indications: Nasogastric tubes should be used preferentially except under conditions below where orogastric
tubes may need to be placed:
Nasal prong CPAP
Babies with an oxygen requirement
Follow the steps to ensure correct tube placement.
Measure the distance from either the nostril or the mouth (depending on
insertion site) to the tragus (lobe of the ear) to the half way point
between the xiphisternum and the umbilicus.
Swaddle infant to provide comfort
Gently check nostrils for patency.
Select the appropriate size gastric tube; size 6 French for the majority
of infants, alternatively size 8 French for large infants or those requiring
The tube is gently inserted to point obtained at measurement by nursing staff.
Check position by aspirating and checking with pH strips using a 2 – 5
ml enteral syringe.The pH strip
needs to show a reading of 5 or less to indicate tube is in the stomach and
therefore safe to use.
Place a duoderm base on the infant’s cheek and secure tubing with
Safety of Infant is Maintained
Follow the steps below to ensure the safety of the baby is maintained.
Ensure tube remains in correct position. Check before first feed on each shift with
Visually check position of tube before each feed. If in doubt aspirate to check position.
Check that the duoderm and hypafix tape is firmly attached to the tube.
Aspirate routinely 6 hourly or PRN as ordered or if uncertain of
Observe for abdominal distension.
Ensure NBM infants have their tubes on free drainage with the free end
of the tube draining into a specimen pot.
Replace tubes every 2 weeks. (note if the gastric tube is not to be
removed e.g. post TOF repair –
see surgical guideline)
Document date, time and depth of insertion on observation chart and care map.
Note: If N/G tube is unable to be inserted in either nares after two
attempts, a senior nurse colleague may have one further attempt. If still
unsuccessful, discontinue procedure, notify medical staff and document same
in clinical record
All infants with a trans-pyloric feeding tube require a gastric tube in place
for aspiration, potentially drainage and possible medication administration
(consult the Pharmacist or Neonatologist involved).
Trans-pyloric tubes may be on free drainage but are not used for regular
Infants who are not tolerating gastric feeds.
Duodenal atresia – post-operatively
Infants who are at great risk for aspiration, e.g. gastro-oesophageal
reflux receiving CPAP. Risk is minimised because the end of the tube is
beyond the pyloric sphincter.
Difficulty with tube placement
Perforation of the gut
Trans-pyloric feeding may induce symptoms of malabsorption because the
stomach is not able to aid in digestion e.g. frequent bowel motion, slow
weight gain, necrotising enterocolitis.
Consider where medication is absorbed prior to administration (i.e.
stomach or small intestines)
Trans-pyloric Tube Placement
Follow the steps below for placement of trans-pyloric tube.
A weighted tube is required for trans-pyloric placement (white Vygon
paediatric duodenal tube with weighted tip, 6 Fr or Corpak Jejunal weighted
tube). These do not harden over time and may be left in situ for several
Length for tube insertion is measured from as per gastric placement with
a further length from the xiphoid to the left or right costal margin.
The tube is allowed to cool in the refrigerator for an hour; this
reduces the chance of it coiling during insertion.
Swaddle infant to provide comfort
With the infant lying supine at a 15o-40o angle,
insert the tube to the stomach as normal.
Check stomach positioning by aspirating and testing on a pH strip
(reading of 5 or less)
Place the infant into a right lateral position
Advance the tube 1 cm at a time while instilling up to 2-3 ml of air and
auscultate the abdomen
Transpyloirc placement is characterised by high pitch crackles and the
inability to withdraw air (‘snap test’)
Insert further length (as measured) to ensure distal duodenal or
proximal jejunal placement.
Give a 3 ml feed and remove stylet (if present with brand).
The infant should then be placed right side down for 1-1.5 hours
Confirmation of placement will then be made by a radiograph.
Secure tubing to infant’s cheek in same manner as gastric tubes
Insertion should be documented in the infant’s caremap (equipment
section) and in the clinical notes
Commencing Continuous Gastric or Trans-pyloric Feeding
Continuous feeding should only be instituted once the infant has reached
volumes of at least 7 ml/hr, or on discussion with Neonatologist. This
restriction is to avoid the need to purge the tubing every 4 hr with the change
of bottle that would be required for lower rates (due to safe hang times).
Follow the steps below for commencing continuous Gastric or Jejunal feeding
Draw up prescribed volume of milk.
Label with type of milk, date and time.
Ensure the correct procedure for setting up the continuous feed pump is
Check that the tube is in the correct position and the tape is secure
Commence continuous feed.
Aspirate gastric tube at least once per shift to confirm placement and
determine residual volume
Nutritional Needs of the Infant
Follow the steps below to ensure the nutritional needs of the baby are met.
Check that the correct ml/kg are calculated daily
Infant’s weight is updated as ordered and documented.
Observe for spills and abdominal distension.
Accurate intake is recorded hourly.
Ensure correct type of milk is given and documented.
Ensure the amount of EBM/milk mixture in the bottle is recorded
The Safety of the Infant is Maintained
Follow the steps below to ensure the safety of the infant is maintained.
That the correct hourly rate on the continuous feed pump is maintained
The total volume infused is accurate.
Two nurses check and sign on the balance sheet each time rate is changed
and at the change of shift.
The tubing is changed every 24 hours and labelled clearly with date,
time and EBM/NIF.
Ensures that the trans-pyloric tube is not aspirated unless on
Gastric tube is aspirated 6 hourly and documented.
Administer medication as prescribed by disconnecting at the junction of
the trans-pyloric tube and the pump tubing or as per medical staff/NS-ANP
instruction (be aware of where of where medication is absorbed)
Only use four hours worth of milk at a time (unless otherwise specified
on the bottle label)
Long Term Gastric Feeding Tube Care and Insertion
If an infant is expected to require long term gastric feeding the parents
need to be taught care and insertion techniques prior to discharge.
Prior to tube insertion the tube must be lubricated with water.
Measure length of tube as for short term gastric tubes.
Ensure that the cap is on the medication port of the Corpak long term
Insert long term feeding tube as for short term tubes.
Remove stylet once inserted.
Establish gastric placement by aspirating stomach contents and testing
on pH strips. A reading of 5 or less should be apparent when touched with
If unable to aspirate fluid then push 1-2 ml of air with a 50 ml
syringe. Listen with a stethoscope on the baby’s stomach. You should hear a
‘whoosh’ of air.
Secure tube to face with duoderm base and hypafix on top.
Flush tube with 3 ml of water using 50 ml syringe.
Rinse stylet with warm soapy water and save for future use.
Follow the steps below for commencing feeds via a long term tube.
Warm milk in a bottle and bowl of warm water as usual.
If the infant is in a cot pick them up for feeds and utilise a pacifier
for non-nutritive sucking if appropriate
Connect a 50 ml syringe to the long term feeding tube and pour feed into
Adjust the flow of the feed by raising or lowering the height of the
When finished flush the tube with 3 ml of sterile water via 50 ml
Note: USE ONLY A 50 ML SYRINGE TO ADMINISTER ANY MILK OR MEDICATION. The higher pressure of the smaller syringes has potential to perforate the