Even though the hot summer days are long gone, staying hydrated is still important. Water is essential for life, no matter the season.

While many of us make the connection between tube feeding and nutrition, feeding tubes are also vital in keeping those who need them, properly hydrated. Just as your health care provider reviews a feeding schedule with you and your loved ones, he/she should also discuss water intake. (Please note that the below information regarding water is just a suggestion and actual volumes and administration times should be discussed with your healthcare provider.)

Flushing your tube with water at key moments throughout your day is one of the easiest ways to contribute to your daily required water intake. You are essentially killing two birds with one stone—cleaning your feeding tube while providing hydration. Here are some common times flushing with water is required:

  • Before feeding
  • After feeding
  • Before medications
  • Between medications (if administering multiple)
  • After medications

If you are on continuous feeds, it is typical to pump one bag of water through your tube in between bags of formula.

In addition to these hydration opportunities, your physician and/or dietician should review other times to give water and how much to give if flushing alone will not meet your minimum daily requirements.

While keeping to a schedule is key to preventing dehydration, it’s bound to happen from time-to-time. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, you may be dehydrated if…

  1. You feel thirsty
  2. Urine is dark yellow in color
  3. You are passing urine less than twice a day

Similar to taking medications, we recommend keeping track of water administration through journaling.

How do you make sure you get enough water? Please share on our Facebook page!