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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Tube feeding with a nasogastric or nasojejunal tube

This factsheet tells you how to care for your feeding tube and how to take your feed and medications via your tube. Your dietitian needs to fill in parts of this factsheet.

What is a nasogastric (NG) or nasojejunal (NJ) tube?

This a tube that goes through your nose and into your stomach (NG) or jejunum, a part of your small intestine (NJ). The tube allows you to take special liquid food (feed), medications and fluids if you can't meet all of your nutritional needs by eating normally.

You have a   _______________________________   tube.

If you have an NG tube, there are two types of tube feeding, bolus feeding using a syringe, and pump feeding. Both types of feeding are described in the following sections. Your dietitian will decide which type of feeding is best for you.

If you have an NJ tube, you can only use pump feeding.

Getting ready to tube feed


Only put down your feeding tube:

Bolus feeding using a syringe

This is when you have a set amount of feed at specified times during the day. This is similar to having meals at mealtimes. Your dietitian will give you a bolus tube feeding plan with the details filled in.

  1. Collect all the equipment you'll need (a 60 mL syringe, a measuring and pouring jug, and your feed). Check the expiry date on the feed and shake it well before opening it.
  2. Wash your hands with warm soapy water.
  3. Remove the cap on your feeding tube. Remove the plunger from the syringe and connect the syringe to your feeding tube.
  4. Hold the syringe upright and pour the prescribed amount of warm water into the syringe to flush the tube.
  5. Pour the prescribed amount of feed into the syringe. Allow the feed to flow into the feeding tube until it has gone.
  6. Pour the prescribed amount of warm water into the syringe to flush the tube.
  7. Disconnect the syringe and close your feeding tube with the attached cap. 

Pump Feeding

Pump feeding uses a feeding pump that continuously delivers a set amount of feed through your feeding tube over a set amount of time. Your dietitian will give you a pump tube feeding plan with the details filled in.


The hospital pharmacist will review your medications before you go home to make sure you can take them through your feeding tube.

Caring for your equipment and feed

Feeding tube blockage

Your feeding tube may block if you don’t flush it regularly or you don’t take your medications correctly.

You can stop your tube from blocking by flushing the tube with warm water before and after each feed, before and after giving medications, and every three to four hours during continuous pump feeding.

If your tube blocks, try the following to try to clear the blockage:


If your feeding tube comes out during working hours, contact your GP or District Nursing Service. If after hours, present to the emergency department.

Caring for your mouth

Taking good care of your mouth is important, especially if you can't eat or drink.

Supplies and giving sets

For syringes, contact your dietitian who will arrange an ongoing supply from the West Coast DHB Stores Department (see below).

When you're discharged from hospital, the hospital dietitian will give you ten nose plasters. When you need more, you can order them from your local pharmacy. Nasofix is one of the brands you can use. You can also ask your dietitian who may be able to organise an ongoing supply.

For giving sets, contact your dietitian or phone the West Coast DHB Stores Department (see below).

Give as much notice as possible. Let them know if you can't collect the giving sets as they can courier them to you. There's no charge for giving sets or delivery.

Your hospital dietitian will organise your feed when you first go home. After this, your GP will organise it. You'll need to collect your feed from your community pharmacy.

Contact details

West Coast DHB Stores Department

Phone: (03) 769-7400 ext. 2806

Address: Grey Base Hospital, High Street Greymouth

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm.

Feeding pump suppliers

For any concerns about your pump, use the following contact details:







Written by Nutrition & Dietetics, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created July 2018.


Page reference: 525334

Review key: HITUB-482880