Shield HealthCare’s How to Bolus Feed

Hi, my name is Amy Long Carrera, Corporate Dietitian at Shield HealthCare. Today, we are going to talk about how to bolus feed through your feeding tube. Bolus feeding is a type a feeding in which you use a syringe to deliver formula through your tube. It may also be called
syringe feeding or gravity feeding because you actually use a syringe to
allow the formula to flow by gravity down your feeding tube. Most people will
take a bolus feeding every few hours or so, and each feeding should take about 20 minutes. This type of feeding allows you to have more freedom in your daily
activities. In order to bolus feed you will need a 60 milliliter catheter
tip or oral syringe, a cup of room-temperature water, and formula. Always wash your hands before handling
your tube or any supplies. If you have a low-profile feeding tube, the first thing
you need to do is prime the extension set before attaching it to
the feeding tube. Priming the extension set removes any air that could otherwise
enter your stomach and cause discomfort. The first thing you’ll do to start your
bolus feeding is to remove the plunger from the syringe, and attach the syringe
to your extension tube. Pour in 10 to 15 milliliters of water and allow it to
flow just to the end of the tubing. Next, clamp the extension tubing. Now you’re
ready to attach it to your feeding tube. If you have a regular gastrostomy tube,
flush your tube with water. This will help to push anything through
that might be stuck in the tube from your previous feeding. To flush your tube
with water remove the plunger from the syringe. Next, take your
syringe and attach it to your feeding tube. Now you’ll pour 10 to 15
milliliters of water into the syringe and let it flow through your tube. Now, go ahead and
grab your formula container. You’ll want to shake it and clean off the top before
you open it. With your other hand, slowly pour formula into the syringe. Allow it to
flow by gravity into your stomach. It should take about 15 minutes to give
yourself about an 8 ounce can of formula. You can speed your feeding up, or slow
it down, depending on your tolerance. You’re more likely to tolerate your
feeding better if you’re sitting upright during your bolus feeding and for at
least half an hour afterward. So, to make your formula flow
faster, you could actually raise your syringe higher in relation to your
stomach; or you can take a plunger and push the formula through. You can make the
formula flow more slowly by lowering your syringe in relation to your
stomach, or you can try taking only a quarter of the can or half of the can at a time,
with a few minutes break in between. You may need to slow down your formula if
you experience nausea or fullness during feeding. You may also need to slow down
your formula if you have diarrhea or an upset stomach immediately after your feeding. Refrigerate any leftover formula for up to 24 hours and remember to take it out
about 30 minutes before your feeding. Cold formula can upset your stomach. For more tips and tricks on tube feeding be sure to

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