Caring for a new G-tube site or learning to feed via G-tube at first can seem daunting, but having the right gear makes it a lot easier. Most of this I learned as we went and from other moms online (srsly thank you for the Internet!). So, I hope this list of all my favourite G-tube supplies for babies helps you, if you’re a new tubie parent.
Many of these items apply to kiddos with NG or other kinds of tubes as well, though some will be for just G-tubes as that’s what my experience is in.
On the Go Items
MUST. HAVE. if you syringe feed. A 60ml cath tip syringe fits perfectly in the top spout. Insert, flip it upside down (it’s airtight – no mess), pull back your syringe and bam – easily loaded blended tube food! Total required item for going out. Makes it so easy!
I was skeptical how easy they were to clean but they actually are. I take the cap/ring off and handwash those then pop the silicone bottle in the dishwasher. They can also be refrigerated and frozen. Before a big appointment day, I load up 2-3 and grab and go from the fridge in the morning.
Carabiner Clips / Mommy Hook
When the boys were on the Infinity pumps during the day (we recently switched to syringe bolus!), I had the pumps in the travel backpacks and hung those from my stroller’s handlebar with a giant clip that velcros on. Super easy!
Also great for travelling! It worked perfectly to hold the bags at our airBNB for our Toronto MEDEK intensive trip.
This bag from Skiphop is big enough to hold 2 full size 8oz/250ml bottles of food/milk when out, plus a thin ice pack AND the G-tube extension in the little pocket inside. I love it for shorter outings as it also clips onto the handlebar of my stroller. It is also large enough to hold 2 x 16oz Squeasy Gear bottles, an ice pack and the G-tube extension!
Cleaning & Care
Our hospital told us not to use those cute little cotton pads you see all over Insta. 🙂 Apparently it is better for the site to have air flow, which makes sense. However we’ve found they work really well for Jaxon.
For whatever reason, Axel’s g-tube site has never had an issue. No granulation tissue, no irritation or leakage, just NOTHING. But Jaxon has had nothing but problems. We clean them both the same, but J’s tube site always has granulation tissue, leaks a lot and is just never pain-free for him it seems. It makes me so sad because we’ve tried EVERYTHING. We even do the silver nitrate at home regularly ourselves (silver nitrate burns off the granulation tissue but you have to be careful not to get it on regular skin as it really hurts).
Because of all the leakage from his site, we use the pads on him sometimes (but not 24/7 – we let it breathe a lot too). Since we don’t really have anything to go to for g-tube help.
I only found these a few months ago but they’re AMAZING! It’s basically a perfectly sized pipe cleaner to get all the gunk out of the Mic-key extension when washing it. Ours used to get really gross with the fat from breastmilk, and now do with the thick blended food we push through too. Water flushes don’t get everything. So after every feed, we run hot water through from the tap and give them a good cleaning wand scrub. We only get like 1-2 extensions per month so keeping them clean (and bacteria free!) is really important.
The Basics… Upgraded!
These syringes are LIFE. Believe the hype. So they’re available from a site dedicated to rehabilitation supplies for wild squirrels. Yes, really. But the quality is amazing. They last for years and are so easy to push, unlike the standard issue DME/medical supply 60ml cath tip ones.
I use 10ml (meds), 20ml (water flushes) and the 60ml cath tip for feeds. They also have leur lock and slip tip options for whatever connection you have. They are WORTH IT!
We have tried a lot of tapes! For the extensions, it is recommended to tape it to the stomach so it doesn’t pull on the button (irritating the g-tube site) or get caught and pull out the button, etc. I see some people who don’t tape but their kids buttons look pretty sturdy? Jaxon’s moves a lot so it MUST be taped… I don’t know, I guess every kid is different.
Anyway we like the Nexcare Sensitive blue tape. It’s expensive, about $11 a roll in local stores here (in BC), and we go through a roll like every week. But it’s cheaper on Amazon in a 6 pack, especially when you add it to a Subscribe and Save order (if you’re a Prime member!) which saves an extra 15% and makes it like $6 a roll.
I love this company, and I’m not being paid to say that, lol. This is a company local to me (Lower Mainland of BC) who makes super comfy, stretchy and soft bamboo rompers for babies and toddlers (I think they go up to 2-3T right now with plans for larger sizes).
They fit for a long time as many of them have roll up cuffs on arms and legs. AND most importantly for tubes, they fold down at the waist (which makes diaper changes easy) but also makes tube feeding easy, especially for keeping the extension away from curious hands.
You can attach the button without undressing your kid, and tuck the extension up under the “kangaroo pocket” to keep it out of sight. If Axel sees his, he YANKS on it and can pull his button out. Not exactly something I wanna deal with in public! For that reason, these are our go-to “hospital day” or long trip outfits!
You can use code “GTUBEBABY” to save $5 off any order – even sale!
Here are some pics of how they work…
We use this Infant to Toddler Rocker chair from Fisher Price after they outgrew their Rock n Plays for pump feeds. I love it because it’s a nice incline (for reflux) and also there is a little hole in the back so you can run the tube out there. So convenient! And, the covers are easy to take off and throw in the wash for all those refluxy pukes.
We use 3M command clips to make a place to hang their feed bags when they were still on Infinity pump feeds. We had this awesome IKEA cart loaded up with all their supplies, had the pumps on the middle shelf and the bags hanging from these hooks.
Now we do syringe feeds during the day, but this is also a great option for travelling for those long overnight feeds. 🙂
The Infinity feed bag and extension must be kept refrigerated between feeds to minimize bacteria growth. Especially as here we only get 15 bags per month, so have to reuse each one for 48 hours, which was about 10 feeds when they were on the pump for all feeds (now just the night one).
I didn’t want the bags or extensions to touch food or other items in our fridge (bacteriaaaa) so I got these organizing bins from Amazon (one for each boy). They’re the perfect size for a bag and extension storage in the fridge! (Can also fit 2 bags and 2 extensions into one bin if you stuff it in.) I got size Medium.
There ya have it. I hope that was helpful. What are your must-have tubie items?