You may hear your child’s doctor or nurse use some unfamiliar terms that are specific to tube feeding. We’ve collected some of these terms in this list and briefly defined them below.
A bolus is a tube feed that is given like a meal. Typically, a larger amount is given in a short period of time, usually less than 30 minutes. There is often a break of several hours between feeds. There are multiple ways to administer bolus feeds. For more information, see our page on Bolus, Gravity, and Intermittent Feeding.
Continuous feeding is done using a feeding pump to deliver a slow and steady amount of formula, over many hours (typically 18-24 hours). Some children with a G-tube tolerate a continuous feed better than bolus feedings. When using a GJ-tube or a J-tube, you must use a continuous feeding schedule. For more information, see the pages on Continuous Feeding at Night and Continuous Feeding during the Day.
Many children use a combination of feeding methods, such as bolus for day time and continuous for overnight.
Administering water into the feeding tube, usually with a syringe, to clear food, formula, or medication in order to keep it from clogging is called a flush.

The amount of the flush is dependent on the length of the tube, but is usually between 10–20ml (about half an ounce) of water. It is generally advised to flush both before and after giving medications; however, in infants and children who can only take small amounts, parents often flush only after medications. You always need to flush at the end of a tube feed.

Venting is letting the air out of the stomach with a feeding tube, usually through an open 60ml syringe. For more information, including pictures and videos, see Living with a G-tube or GJ-tubes.

Farrell Bags allow for venting the stomach while feeding. The food and air first passes through the bag, where the air is vented, and the food is then gravity fed back into the stomach. Click here for manufacturer information.

How a child reacts to tube feeds is referred to as feeding tolerance or intolerance. If a child seems happy or content during and after feeding, he is tolerating feeds well. If there is discomfort, coughing, vomiting, or retching during or after feedings, then there is feeding intolerance. You can read more on Feeding Tolerance and Intolerance in our Troubleshooting section.
Motility is the movement of food and liquids through the GI tract. If there is a motility issue, which is referred to as dysmotility, then food isn’t moving through as it should (either too slowly or quickly). There can be dysmotility at any point in the GI tract, from the esophagus all the way to the stomach, intestines, and bowels. Read more about Motility Disorders.
The stoma is the tube site itself for G-, GJ- and J-tubes. It is the opening that connects the feeding tube on the outside of the body to the stomach or intestine on the inside. Read more about troubleshooting site problems.
An extension set is used with low-profile buttons to administer feedings or vent. The extension hooks into the feeding button during the feeding, and then can be removed when it is done. There are many different styles of extension sets, including ones of different lengths, ones that are best for bolus feeds, and ones that are best for venting.

More information on extension sets can be found on our page Syringes, Extensions, and Other Supplies.