Transition from Enteral to Oral Feeding

Transition from enteral to oral feeding may be considered as a management strategy in response to concerns regarding feeding safety, adequacy, feeding as a positive experience, development, and efficiency.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Transitioning from enteral to oral feeding should be considered from the time enteral feeds are initiated. Setting a clear platform from the outset prevents enteral tubes from being used longer than required.
  • Assess the safety and readiness of the child to begin or increase oral feeding and the readiness of families to work with their child and healthcare professionals toward oral feeding.
  • Feeling comfortable with enteral feeding and/or being in a mealtime setting is essential before facilitating the development of feeding skills and working on oral desensitization.
  • The approach to reducing enteral feeds will be different for each child.
  • Transitioning from enteral to oral feeding is a process. At each stage of the transition process it is important to identify a limited number of achievable, developmentally appropriate and measurable goals.
  • ermanent removal of a feeding tube may be considered when the child is clinically stable, has safe and adequate oral intake to grow appropriately and meet┬ánutrition needs.