TPN and Tube Feeding: Care, Tips, and more

by Mighty Well

We often think of eating as an integral part of human existence. But for many people with GI challenges, eating and drinking may not be the best way to get nutrition. If you find yourself facing alternative nutritional support, it can feel overwhelming! There are many resources available, however, and many other people going through the same challenges. Here are some tips to get you started.


There are many reasons why someone would need alternative nutrition, and so there are many types of feeding tubes to meet different needs. Learning a bit about each type can help you go into your next appointment feeling prepared.


Before needing a feeding tube, you may not have known that there are several different types! Each one is used for different purposes. To understand the different names, here’s what you need to know.


No one expects to end up with a feeding tube, and your first experience can come with a large learning curve. We know the feeling, and want to help lower these barriers! Here is what we wish we knew going in.


Feeding tubes can be a lifesaver – literally. They enable our bodies to absorb the nutrients we need to heal. While tubes are wonderful interventions, they can also come with a risk of complications. So if you are going down the enteral nutrition road, here are a few complications to look out for and tips for avoiding them.


Getting a feeding tube comes with a lot of baggage — literally!

Administering feeds requires a lot of gear. There are the staples – feeds, pump, skin barrier and cleaner – that are crucial to tube feeds. But there are many other products that can make life so much easier! We’ve asked our tubie friends what gear made a difference for them, and compiled this list of recommendations.

With any chronic illness, going out can feel daunting. What if something happens that triggers my symptoms? What if I encounter people who don’t understand or who actively make me feel worse about being sick or disabled?

The sticking point for me is typically the gear – there is so much STUFF involved in keeping my body functioning, that it’s overwhelming to try to bring it all with me.

Navigating tube feeds on the go is tricky, especially for first-timers. We chatted with Erica, one of our Friends in the Fight, about her experiences getting out with a tube.


My name is Gracie Gardner, and I’m 16 years old, living with Idiopathic Gastroparesis. One of the most difficult aspects of having life-sustaining tubes stuck to your face is that it comes with a constant fear of judgment. Instead, they did the exact opposite. After my first day out and about with my tubes in, I quickly learned that the most important part of accepting my illness was for me to have confidence in myself— and that’s exactly what I did.


A feeding tube isn’t a tool of convenience nor is it a sure sign that someone is terminally ill. A child doesn’t get a feeding tube because he or she is a picky eater, either, there are many underling factors.

A feeding tube is a life-saving medical device that tends to make others uneasy. It’s OK to be curious about it, though, because when you ask questions, you help raise awareness. Consider a few truths people with feeding tubes would like you to know.

Learning to thrive with a chronic illness is a team effort. You may need specialists, non-traditional or non-medical practitioners, a PCP to see the big picture, and then everyone (medical or not) who cares for you at home. And yet telling you to just build a team of providers and caregivers is not so simple. Care teams work best when each member is a good fit and addresses a specific part of your journey.

Interested in building a care team for yourself? Here are some tips to get you started on the right foot:


Mental illness can exacerbate constant symptoms and stressful treatments can make it difficult to feel happy and hopeful. Anxiety is understandable when you have no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Some illnesses can even create anxiety and depression on a chemical level, through the dysregulation of hormones and neurotransmitters.


Whatever your body’s journey has been, whatever visible reminders linger on your skin, don’t forget to love yourself for who you are today!

We often think of eating as an integral part of human existence. But for many people with GI challenges, eating and drinking may not be the best way to get nutrition. If you find yourself facing alternative nutritional support, it can feel overwhelming!

There are many resources available, however, and many other people going through the same challenges. Here are some tips to get you started.


Before needing a feeding tube, you may not have known that there are several different types! Each one is used for different purposes. To understand the different names, here’s what you need to know.


No one expects to end up with a feeding tube, and your first experience can come with a large learning curve. We know the feeling, and want to help lower these barriers! Here is what we wish we knew going in.


Feeding tubes can be a lifesaver – literally. They enable our bodies to absorb the nutrients we need to heal. While tubes are wonderful interventions, they can also come with a risk of complications.

So if you are going down the enteral nutrition road, here are a few complications to look out for and tips for avoiding them.


Getting a feeding tube comes with a lot of baggage — literally!

Administering feeds requires a lot of gear. There are the staples – feeds, pump, skin barrier and cleaner – that are crucial to tube feeds. But there are many other products that can make life so much easier! We’ve asked our tubie friends what gear made a difference for them, and compiled this list of recommendations.

With any chronic illness, going out can feel daunting. What if something happens that triggers my symptoms? What if I encounter people who don’t understand or who actively make me feel worse about being sick or disabled?

The sticking point for me is typically the gear – there is so much STUFF involved in keeping my body functioning, that it’s overwhelming to try to bring it all with me.

Navigating tube feeds on the go is tricky, especially for first-timers. We chatted with Erica, one of our Friends in the Fight, about her experiences getting out with a tube.


My name is Gracie Gardner, and I’m 16 years old, living with Idiopathic Gastroparesis. One of the most difficult aspects of having life-sustaining tubes stuck to your face is that it comes with a constant fear of judgment. Instead, they did the exact opposite.

After my first day out and about with my tubes in, I quickly learned that the most important part of accepting my illness was for me to have confidence in myself— and that’s exactly what I did.


A feeding tube isn’t a tool of convenience nor is it a sure sign that someone is terminally ill. A child doesn’t get a feeding tube because he or she is a picky eater, either, there are many underling factors.

A feeding tube is a life-saving medical device that tends to make others uneasy. It’s OK to be curious about it, though, because when you ask questions, you help raise awareness. Consider a few truths people with feeding tubes would like you to know.

Learning to thrive with a chronic illness is a team effort. You may need specialists, non-traditional or non-medical practitioners, a PCP to see the big picture, and then everyone (medical or not) who cares for you at home. And yet telling you to just build a team of providers and caregivers is not so simple. Care teams work best when each member is a good fit and addresses a specific part of your journey.

Interested in building a care team for yourself? Here are some tips to get you started on the right foot.


Mental illness can exacerbate constant symptoms and stressful treatments can make it difficult to feel happy and hopeful. Anxiety is understandable when you have no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Some illnesses can even create anxiety and depression on a chemical level, through the dysregulation of hormones and neurotransmitters.


Whatever your body’s journey has been, whatever visible reminders linger on your skin, don’t forget to love yourself for who you are today!


connect with us:

Got more questions about TPN and Tube Feeding? Join us in our Friends in the Fight Group to connect with our community.

Disclaimer: The information in this platform is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information in this platform as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this platform.

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