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Bronchiolitis feeding

This information will explain your baby’s feeding needs and how this will happen whilst on the ward.

Will my baby be able to take enough feed?

Sometimes it is hard for a baby to take their normal amount of feed. This is because they are breathing more rapidly than usual and will become tired more easily when they have bronchiolitis.

It is better to offer smaller bottles or breast feeds more often than the usual amount. To help check your baby’s needs, the nursing staff will ask for your support in recording how much feed your baby takes, how often, and how many wet and dirty nappies they have.

What will happen if my baby is unable to take enough bottles or breast feeds?

There are a couple of ways. One is usually by giving the milk feed through a nasogastric tube and another is an intravenous drip, meaning giving fluids through a vein.

What is a nasogastric tube?

A small plastic tube is passed through one of your baby’s nostrils and down to their stomach. Nurses and doctors usually call this an ‘NG tube’. It is fixed to the cheek with tape and the tube will be taken out when your baby is able to bottle or breast feed well enough.

How is my baby given their feed through a nasogastric tube?

Your baby will have their normal formula or breast milk through the tube every 1 to 4 hours, depending on how much they can take. It may also be given continuously through this tube using a feeding pump.

If you are breastfeeding, there are places and equipment available for you to express your milk. This can then be given through the nasogastric tube.

If you would like further support about breastfeeding, please discuss this with the nurse caring for your baby.

Is it possible to help with nasogastric feeds?

Yes. If you wish to do this, the nursing staff will be happy to teach you how to do this safely and support you if you have any worries or concerns.

How long will my baby need nasogastric feeding?

The tube will remain in place until your baby is able to take enough bottle or breast feeds without any breathing difficulty or tiredness.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: WD34-4

Resource Type: Article

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