Enteral feeding or tube feeding is often necessary to ensure adequate nutrition in sick infants and children. Weaning a child off enteral feeding can be difficult as many will have developed feeding problems.


  • Screening tool and care pathway developed.
  • Four children have successfully returned to being completely orally fed and feeding devices have been permanently removed.
  • Four remaining children have significantly reduced their need for enteral feeding.
  • Feeding team now well established and is improving multi-disciplinary working.
  • Families reported feeling better supported through the process of weaning.


  • Parental information literature
  • Screening tool and pathway developed.
  • From Enteral to Oral poster

Case Study

‘Lucy’ was 16 months old at the start of the programme and unable to take any food or drink orally. She was receiving five feeds per day given via a gastrostomy device. Her mother was trying to offer her juice but she was refusing to take anything orally.

The first feed was reduced by half and replaced with the same volume of water. This was to ensure that she remained hydrated whilst allowing her to become hungrier for her tea time meal. Over the next few months Lucy’s feeds were gradually reduced and her weight very carefully monitored. She started to take small amounts of food and found that she loved garden peas! After 6 months she was taking juice from a cup and was beginning to ask for food, something her parents hadn’t dared hope she would ever do.

At the end of the project year, Lucy is eating well on most days. She loves to share a bit of pizza with her brother. She still needs two half feeds per day to keep her weight up but she has made amazing progress. For Lucy and her family, the biggest bonus has been to venture out as a family without the ties of a 4 hourly pump feeding schedule. Lucy’s parents involvement in her weaning programme was vital. They reported how supported they felt during the programme and how the liaison with the feeding team helped them.

Back to Resources


  • Location
  • Project date
    Duration: one year
  • Key aim
    The aim of the project was to develop a care pathway to re-introduce oral feeding to enterally fed children.