Recovering from gastroschisis surgery
After surgery, we have experienced GI and dietary specialists who work together to maximize your child’s ability to eat and get enough nutrition to ensure that they will grow appropriately— even after you head home from the hospital.
In rare circumstances where the intestinal length may be too short, Children’s Mercy has the only intestinal rehabilitation team in the region to help restore your child’s intestinal function as much as possible.
Feeding your baby after surgery
Before and after surgery, your baby will have a nasogastric (through the nose) or orogastric (through the mouth) tube. These are sometimes called NG or OG tubes.
This tube goes through the nose or mouth and into the stomach. It is used to remove air and stomach fluids until the intestines begin to function. At first, the fluid from the gastric tube will be dark green, but it will turn clear as bowel function returns. Your baby will receive nutrition through IV fluids until the body is ready to digest food.
It will take the intestines several weeks to recover after a gastroschisis repair. Signs of returning function include "spit" colored fluid in decreasing amounts from the NG/OG tube and the start of your baby pooping.
When feedings are started, your baby will receive a small amount of milk through a feeding tube while still receiving IV nutrition. Tube feedings will slowly be increased and later changed to feedings by mouth. Mothers planning to breastfeed are encouraged to pump breast milk that will be frozen and stored until your baby is able to eat.
Starting and increasing feedings is a slow and gradual process. Some infants who have a gastroschisis repair will have occasional setbacks requiring bowel rest or additional surgery.
When can we go home?
The length of stay in the NICU for an infant with gastroschisis varies. Your baby will be able to go home when they can tolerate full feedings and are gaining weight.
After discharge, a pediatrician will monitor your baby. Your baby will come back to Children’s Mercy for follow up appointments with the pediatric surgeon or any other necessary specialists.