Living With A Gastrostomy Feeding Device
A gastrostomy is a surgical opening through the abdomen into the stomach. A feeding device is inserted through this opening. This allows your child to be fed directly into their stomach, bypassing the mouth and throat.
Charlies Stomach is on his right side due to Abdominal Heterotaxy
"Usually the stomach is placed on your left"
Charlie has what is know as a Gastrostomy Balloon button, it is held in place by a water-filled balloon. The G -button are the most common G-tube for children once the stoma (G-tube site) is fully healed. They can also be replaced at home after training.
The Gastrostomy Button do not have a long tube permanently attached outside the stomach. Instead, they have a tube called an extension set that is attached for feeding or medication administration and then disconnected when not in use. When an extension set is not attached to the button, it lies fairly flat against the body making it quite discrete.
Charlie benefits from gastrostomy feeding due to the difficulties he's developed as a result of NEC at 5 weeks old. Charlie has daily struggles with food and ongoing aversion with eating.
Charlie was unable to experience the weaning process and was only aloud to start small amounts of puree at 22 months of age.
There are many other reasons why someone might have feeding difficulties, including neurological (nervous system) disorders and gastrointestinal (digestive system) disorders. Some people also have difficulty swallowing, which increases the chance that they will breathe in food (aspirate).
A number of children will have been feeding using a naso-gastric (NG) tube (a thin, plastic tube that is inserted into one of the nostrils, down the back of the throat into the stomach) for some time and decide that a longer-term device such as a gastrostomy is needed.