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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital


A child with a tracheostomy can eat regular foods. However, it is important that your child eats with your supervision. Do not leave your child during meals or prop him or her with a bottle.

Steps for Feeding

To feed your child safely, follow these tips:

  • Suction before eating. If your child can breathe smoothly, he or she will not tire as easily during meals.
  • Wash your hands and your child's hand before eating.
  • Always have the trach collar or disposable humidity device in place during feedings to provide humidity and extra protection for the trach.
  • If your child is an infant, hold him or her while feeding. After feeding, burp your child well and put him or her in an infant seat or on his or her side.
  • If you spoon-feed your child, wrap a towel or cotton bib loosely below your child's chin to cover the trach.
  • If any liquid drips into the trach, suction your child immediately.
  • Unless it is absolutely necessary, do not suction your child for about a half an hour after he or she has eaten. Suctioning may cause vomiting.

Nutrition and Hydration

Because of the tracheostomy, it is very important for your child to eat balanced meals. Because your child spends added energy breathing and clearing secretions, he or she must have extra calories to grow and develop properly. Your child also loses more body fluids with a tracheostomy, so it is very important that he or she gets adequate amounts of liquid. Your child's healthcare team will work with you to develop nutrition guidelines.