When the doctor dropped the bomb that our baby preemie twins needed G-Tube surgery, I won’t lie – panic and worry set in like no other. Picture this: our little fighters had just hit the one-year mark, and the struggle to pack on those ounces was real. No matter how many feeds we tried, their tiny bodies had their own plans. So, G-Tube surgery became the solution to help them thrive. Can you relate to that “oh no, what now?” moment? If you’re nodding along, you’re not alone.
Having walked the G-Tube journey, I’m here to share seven eye-opening lessons learned after my twins’ procedure, complete with pictures. 📸Visuals always make things clearer. 😉 This insight is geared to help you navigate the path based on our experience. So, let’s jump right in!
7 Surprising Lessons I Learned After My Twins’ G-Tube Surgery
1. Granulation – “Growing Skin”
If you’re like me, you might be asking, “What exactly IS granulation?”
I hadn’t come across this term until my girls had their G-Tube surgery, but it’s something you might become well-acquainted with. It’s a pretty common condition that many kiddos experience after G-Tube surgery.
Granulation is when extra tissue forms around the G-Tube site, and it can sometimes cause problems for your little one like irritation, redness, or light bleeding.
To manage and prevent these issues, keeping the area clean and dry is crucial. Use mild soap and water during bathing, and pat the site gently to dry. Avoid harsh chemicals or strong solutions. Using a soft, non-stick dressing over the G-Tube to help minimize friction and irritation I’ve found this to be one of the best ways to keep granulation at bay.
Keep an eye out for any redness, swelling, or discharge, AND if you notice anything unusual, it’s always a good idea to check in with your GI (Gastrointestinal) team. Regular check-ups and careful attention to cleanliness can go a long way in preventing granulation hassles.
Don’t worry if your little one develops granulation because it is easily treatable!
2. Cellulitis – The “Red Spread”
When cellulitis unexpectedly hit my daughter the day before Thanksgiving, we found ourselves rushing to the ER since our GI clinic was closed for the holiday. It all started with redness around her G-Tube site that we noticed was spreading (this is a BIG sign), and we knew it was time to act.
The ER prescribed antibiotics, guiding us through a diligent treatment plan. Keeping the area clean and ensuring she finished the full antibiotic course were key.
Cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, can happen if hygiene isn’t maintained, leading to redness, swelling, and warmth.
In Lua’s case, her G-Tube site looked fantastic after surgery, but several months later, when we had to replace her G-Tube, cellulitis popped up. Unfortunately, even with top-notch cleanliness, it can still happen unexpectedly.
Recognizing it EARLY and seeking prompt medical attention, is vital to prevent complications. Always consult with your healthcare professionals for personalized advice. Swift action with antibiotics is essential to stop the infection from spreading and promoting a quick recovery for your little one.
3. Gauze – Manage “Leakage”
If you’re facing G-Tube leakage, say hello to your go-to sidekick – gauze. Let’s delve into WHY it’s your ultimate lifesaver.
When those unexpected leaks strike, gauze steps up as your cleanliness hero. It’s absorbent, kind to delicate skin, and acts as a barrier to keep things in check.
Now, post G-Tube surgery, anticipate some leakage. I mistakenly thought it was a temporary thing, but truth be told, it is ongoing. 🙄
As I’m writing this post, our twins are six months post-surgery, deal with leakage daily. While it may not be the most glamorous solution, using gauze is far easier for cleanup. Dealing with the sticky residue is a challenge, especially with sterile water – warm soap and water during bath time do the trick!
4 Tips for Using Gauze Effectively to Avoid Discomfort:
- Choose the right gauze: opt for soft, non-stick gauze to keep irritation at bay.
- Change on the regular: keep a good eye on leakage and promptly swap out the gauze to maintain cleanliness. I usually change my twins gauze 1 to 2 times a day depending on how much leakage they have.
- Handle with care: when applying gauze around the g-tube site, be gentle to prevent any discomfort for your little one.
- Secure, but not TOO tight: ensure the gauze is snug enough to stay put without causing irritation.
Remember, gauze isn’t just a quick fix; it’s your proactive ally, making the challenge of g-tube leakage a tad less stressful for both you and your little one!
💡A quick tip from our experience: When our twins had their G-Tube surgery, consistently using gauze for Lua prevented granulation issues. On the flip side, our other little one had her surgery earlier and faced granulation because we skipped the gauze the first month, thinking the wound needed to “air out.” Lesson learned – definitely use gauze for a smoother ride.Additionally, our gauze packets came with two pieces, and we typically used one, occasionally opting for the second if a tighter fit around the site was needed. 😊
4. Introducing The “Baby Belly Band”…
Oh how this will come in handy for you.
Let’s face it, babies are natural explorers, and their curiosity can lead to some unintended tugs on their g-tube. Eek.
To safeguard against their tiny hands getting a little TOO curious, I found a couple of solutions:
It’s a simple yet effective solution to prevent any unintentional pulling on the G-Tube site. By wrapping a bandage around, you are not only providing a protective barrier but also offering your little one the freedom to satisfy their curiosity safely.
This bandage trick became a game-changer in navigating the delicate balance between exploration and protection.
💡A quick tip from our experience: around the age of 1 to 1 1/2 years, our girls began getting oh-so-curious about their G-Tube! 😲
5. Post-Surgery Pain, Ugh
Let’s be real – the post-surgery discomfort caught me off guard when our girls had their G-Tube procedure. Here’s how we navigated it:
- We picked them up slowly, supporting their back and head, aiming for minimal movement during laydowns. Changing diapers became WAY easier and more manageable for them when using a comfy surface like the bed or couch instead of the changing table.
- We kept a routine of Motrin and Tylenol, as per our doctor’s advice, rotating between the two during the initial one to two weeks for their comfort.
- A bouncer chair and their favorite show were lifesavers when we needed our hands free. Now, if your little one is on the go, a bouncer chair might not be the safest bet. Choose what’s safest for your babe, considering their stage of development and where they’re at. Of course, safety first, ALWAYS.
After those first challenging weeks, our girls gradually bounced back and felt better. Just stay patient because you got this!
6. Clothing Choices – A “Two-Piece” Triumphs A Onesie
When it comes to dressing your little one post g-tube surgery, two-piece outfits are a MUST.
They offer easy access to the G-Tube site, making tube feeds a breeze. On the flip side, onesies can be a bit of a challenge, requiring you to fully undress your little one for g-tube maintenance. Who needs that extra fuss, right?
We’ve found that opting for cute and comfy two-piece ensembles not only simplifies g-tube accessibility but also keeps your baby oh-so-adorable. So say adios to onesies and hello to two-piece outfits for your sweet babe.
💡A quick tip from our experience: Button sleepers are lifesavers – just unbutton a couple for G-Tube access. Zip-up sleepers are handy for fast feeds, ensuring your baby stays cozy and warm during chilly moments, especially as the top area is more exposed.
7. Turn the G-Tube Daily for Skin Health
Here’s an extra nugget of wisdom based on our experience. We were advised to turn the g-tube clockwise (180 degrees) once to twice daily, starting immediately after surgery and continuing every day.
This is very important to do because it helps prevent the skin around the site from attempting to close, ensuring continued access and a smoother experience for your little one. It’s an easy tip, and I do this daily when cleaning around my girls g-tube area.
Just a small but impactful measure to keep in mind!
To Wrap It Up
The journey through g-tube surgery with my twins taught me and my hubs these seven valuable lessons. I hope these insights make your experience SMOOTHER and less daunting.
Remember, you’re not alone in this, and every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Share your experiences or ask questions in the comments below—I would love to hear from you!
I wish your little one (or one’s) a speedy recovery! Sending you lots of love and positive energy. 🙏
You made my day being here today; thank you!
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About The Author
Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation, a 510c3 that helps children across the United States with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive. ♥
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