Online since 2002 |   866-316-0162

Articles and News

A Guide to Bolus Feeding

A Guide to Bolus Feeding
Kevin Cleary

Key Takeaways:

  • Bolus feeding is one of several ways to administer nutritional liquid food.
  • Administering a liquid diet through a feeding tube safely requires proper training and knowledge.
  • Bolus feeding uses a catheter syringe to introduce food through a feeding tube.
  • Improper bolus feeding procedures can cause problems such as diarrhea, nausea, and bloating.
  • Properly following bolus feeding procedures can improve nutritional intake, and HPFY has numerous options to help with bolus feeding.


Being able to receive proper nutrition is critically important to all of us. For those with feeding tubes, this can be even more crucial since they can’t get their nutrition through the normal act of eating. The use of a feeding tube (a.k.a. enteral feeding or enteral nutrition) may be the only option for the introduction of nutrition. Administering liquid nutrition through a feeding tube can be done in several ways, but the most common is bolus feeding. Let me give you some insight into what bolus feeding is and how to do it safely.

What Is Bolus Feeding?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “feeding tube,” but do you really understand what this medical device requires? What is a bolus, and what does it do? Certain medical issues can require the insertion of a feeding tube to introduce nutrition safely. These can include:

The feeding tube inserted introduces a liquid with needed nutritional content directly into the stomach, bypassing any medical condition that makes standard eating impossible. The flexible tube is inserted through the nose or belly, providing needed nutrients. By connecting a syringe filled with formula/liquid supplement to the feeding tube and slowly introducing this nutritional liquid into the feeding tube, patients can receive the nutrition they require. A bolus feeding schedule should be established to introduce vital nutrition regularly.

How It’s Done

So, what exactly does bolus feeding mean, and how is it achieved? In order to deliver liquid nutrition into a feeding tube, bolus feeding accomplishes this by attaching a syringe full of nutritional liquid and slowly introducing it into the feeding tube. You will need:

If you should be utilizing homemade, blended food, be absolutely sure that it is exceptionally smooth and viscous so that the feeding tube doesn’t clog. The best way to achieve this is with a high-quality blender. The steps you need to take for bolus feeding are:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly: Be sure to wash with antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds in warm water. Wear your gloves to prevent potential infections.
  2. Check for liquid formula/supplement expiration date: By ensuring that any liquid injected hasn’t expired, the risk of food poisoning or other gastrointestinal issues can be minimized.
  3. Flush with water: Flush the feeding tube with approximately 60 mL of water. This can reduce clogs/blockages as well as lubricate the feeding tube.
  4. Connect feeding tube to port: Connect the feeding tube to the gastrostomy port in the patient.
  5. Fill syringe: Pour the prescribed amount of formula/supplement into the syringe and close the feeding tube clamp.
  6. Connect to feeding tube: Be sure to connect the syringe to the feeding tube securely to ensure that there are no leaks.
  7. Administered feeding: Slowly inject the formula/supplement by pressing down on the syringe. Typically, 15 ounces of liquid takes approximately eight minutes to administer safely.
  8. Close port and remove tube: Once the nutritional liquid is fully administered, close the gastrostomy port and remove the feeding tube. Wash all components and let them air dry.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If done properly, there should be minimal or no issues. Since bolus feedings can be new or even scary to some, work with a registered dietitian or your doctor/physician if you have questions. You should call your doctor if you experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Tube displacement
  • Site irritation/tube leakage

Delivering necessary nutrition via a feeding tube can seem scary. By utilizing bolus feeding, this process can be achieved in a safe manner. Working with your doctor, nutritionist, or nurse can help you become familiar with this procedure so you can give your loved one or patient the proper nutrition they need.

Where to buy supplies for bolus feeding?

HPFY has been online since 2002. We carry a wide range of medical supplies, including enteral feeding products, to help you take care of your loved ones. Explore our catalog today to find all that you need. 




Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

Continue reading

Trending Articles

Enteral Feeding: The What, When, and How

Shweta Chaubey

When traditional oral intake is not feasible, enteral feeding comes into play. It supports nutritional needs of individuals recovering from an injury or surgery. Dive into this informative article and learn what, when, why, and how of enteral feeding and ensure optimal patient care.

Using the Carpal Solution Carpal Tunnel Wrist Support

Kevin Cleary

Looking for a non-invasive option to manage carpal tunnel symptoms? Experience relief from constant tingling and pain with this Carpal Solution Wrist Support. Read this article to know about the unique features and benefits of this wrist support brace designed to deal with CTS and find why it is one of the most reliable wrist braces available on the market.

Top 5 Best Reviewed Nebulizers of 2023

Kevin Cleary

Need an effective and affordable nebulizer? Look no further, in this article we offer 5 of our best reviewed nebulizers that are loved by our customers. Click to read more and find the perfect nebulizer for all your respiratory needs.

10 Best Overnight Adult Diapers

Shweta Chaubey

Worried about nighttime leaks? Say goodbye to leakage with our ten best overnight adult diapers and wake up refreshed and dry.

Five Best Cervical Traction Devices of 2023

Taikhum Sadiq

Neck pain can wreak havoc on your otherwise healthy life. Traction device improves your cervical health and overall well-being. Read more to find our best cervical traction devices designed to curb the stiffness and discomfort of cervical muscles.