Skip to main content


Care of a feeding tube right after surgery


This information will help you care for your child’s feeding tube right after it is placed in surgery. Refer to other education information shared with you for care of the tube after the first 24 hours after surgery.

When can I give my child medicine in the tube?

It is OK to use the tube for medicine right after surgery.

When can I give my child feedings in the tube?

A clinical dietitian will explain how much your child can start with and how to increase the feeding amount. Your child may start to have feedings 6 hours after surgery or as ordered by your medical care team.  

Care for the feeding tube

  • The feeding tube site dressing will stay in place for 24 hours after surgery.
  • After the first 24 hours, the dressing should be changed daily or if it gets wet or dirty. A split gauze should be positioned between the tube and the skin at all times. This will prevent a pressure injury on the skin while the tube is taped. Keep using a dressing like this for 3 weeks.
  • If your child has a button tube, keep it taped on 4 sides over a split gauze for the first 3 weeks after the operation to allow the skin to grow around the inserted part of the tube. This will help prevent the tube from spinning. Do not turn the tube for 3 weeks after surgery.
  • Do not check balloon volume for one (1) week after it is placed. After one (1) week, you may check the balloon as you were taught.

What if the feeding tube comes out?

If the tube comes out less than 6 weeks after placement, insert a temporary tube right away as you were taught. Call the hospital right away and plan to return to the hospital to have the feeding tube replaced. (See Do You Know… How to Replace a Feeding Tube That Comes Out)

If the tube comes out more than 6 weeks after placement, you may try to reinsert a new feeding tube as you were taught or you may insert a temporary tube and return to the hospital right away for replacement. (See Do You Know... How to Replace a Feeding Tube That Comes Out)

Do not use the temporary tube or a feeding tube unless the St. Jude team checks that it is back in the right position.

Questions or to reach the hospital after you place a new tube

Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday–Friday, call your child’s St. Jude clinic. After hours and on weekends, call St. Jude at 901-595-3300. Ask for the doctor on call or the nursing coordinator.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).