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Weak Kids & Tube Feeding:
Weak kids will sometimes respond better to a bottle or try to stand and nurse if you use Dextrose Solution 50% (this is the same solution used in IV's) use under the tongue, 1cc after birth. It gives newborn or weak kids a sudden boost of energy to help them get started, if kids become sluggish again after trying to nurse, this can be repeated. I have also heard of using coffee in the same manner to stimulate weak kids but I have never tried it.
Kids that are born premature or have had a stressful birth may not respond at all to sucking a bottle. Then it will be necessary to tube feed the weak kid using a weak kid syringe (Save-A-Kid Syringe). Any kid that will not nurse will need to be fed in this manner. If the kid is too weak to hold their head up, it is unlikely that the kid's system will be strong enough to digest the milk or colostrum and often times a kid in this poor of condition will die. Kids born 10 days or more premature run a very high risk of dying.
First you will need to determine the correct amount of milk to feed the kid. A kid will eat up to 10% of their body weight in a 24 hour period. Tube feeding is only necessary when the kid is too weak to suck. As the kid regains strength, it should be introduced to a bottle. Tube Feeding should be divided up as much as possible for the first three days, ideally six times in a 24 hour period.
Then, determine how far the feeding tube needs to be inserted to reach the stomach by positioning the tube along the outside of the kid with the feeding tip reaching the last rib and the syringe end of the feeding tube positioned at the mouth. With a marker, put a mark on the tube at the mouth so you will be able to insert it to the proper length to reach the stomach once it is inserted.
Next, rest the weak kid on your lap with its head slightly tilted back or lay them flat on their side on the ground to provide a straight path for the feeding tube to follow. Open the kids mouth and insert the feeding tube towards the back of the kids throat. Slide the tube gently down the throat into the stomach. You can feel the motion of the tube on the front of the kid's throat, this way you will know that it is the esophagus and not the trachea. If it stops short of the mark on the tube, you will know that you are in the lungs and will need to start again.
With the tube in the correct position, you will need to remove the plunger from the syringe and then attach the syringe to the feeding tube. Pinch off the feeding tube with your fingers at the tip of the syringe so that the fluid will not be flowing out of the syringe while you are filling it. Fill the syringe with the proper amount of fluid. Continue to keep the feeding tube pinched off and release for short periods of time allowing the fluid to gently flow into the stomach. I do not use the plunger at all because the force or pressure of the plunger can cause the stomach to rupture. Once all the fluid has been released into the stomach, detach the syringe from the tube and pinch the end of the tube shut to prevent any leakage of the fluid into the lungs while you pull the tube slowly out of the stomach. Kids will often show improvement within several minutes to an hour after receiving fluid.
***Note: Check your feeding tube each time before inserting it into the kid to make sure there are no holes in the tube. If a kid is trying to chew on the tube, check the tube for damage immediately. Or to help prevent the feeding tube from being damaged should the kid try to chew on it, take an ink pen apart and slide the barrel of the ink pen over the top part of the feeding tube that will be sticking out of the kids mouth to protect the tube from damage before you put the syringe on the feeding tube. If the feeding tube gets a hole in it, the fluid will end up in the lungs and the kid will gasp for air and will die within minutes of the fluid reaching the lungs.