Tube feeding in infancy: implications for the development of normal eating and drinking skills

Dysphagia. 2005 Winter;20(1):46-61. doi: 10.1007/s00455-004-0025-2.


Tube feeding is commonly used as a method of giving children nutrition while they are being treated for disease. While this is an effective way of ensuring a child thrives and grows, research studies and clinical experience have shown that long-term oral feeding difficulties often arise when the child no longer requires tube feeding. This article gives a critical review of the literature on tube feeding and its effect on normal eating and drinking skills. While few studies have followed a rigorous research design, there is enough literature to identify a number of factors which may be implicated in later feeding difficulties and which therefore need further exploration in research studies. These factors include age at which oral feeding commences, medical complications, exposure to taste and textures during sensitive periods, aversive experiences, and different methods of delivering tube feeds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Drinking*
  • Eating*
  • Enteral Nutrition* / adverse effects
  • Gastrostomy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care*