It can take anywhere from 1 week to a few months for your baby’s intestines to start working. Your baby will likely need to be fed through a tube that goes into a large vein (central line) or a tube that passes through the nose or mouth into the stomach (nasogastric tube, NG tube; or orogastric tube, OG tube). We will give your baby medicine to reduce pain.
How severe your baby’s gastroschisis is and how long they will stay in the hospital can vary. After surgeons place the intestine back into the belly, your baby will need to be in the hospital until they can eat well. The average length of stay in the hospital for gastroschisis is about a month and a half.
As your baby’s health improves, we will move them from the NICU to a regular hospital room. This is usually a few days after the intestine is back in the belly and after we can remove the ventilator. At Seattle Children’s, babies with gastroschisis typically spend less time in the NICU than at other hospitals because our physicians, nurses and nutritionists have specialized expertise in helping children recover. This makes your family’s hospital stay less stressful and more comfortable.
Some babies have trouble digesting food after the gastroschisis is fixed. With time, more than 95% of babies treated for gastroschisis will eat and gain weight normally. Our team of experts includes nutritionists who specialize in infants with problems such as this. These nutritionists will help monitor your baby to be sure they are growing and gaining enough weight.
Whether you are breastfeeding or pumping, you can get lactation support from your nurses, Lactation Services and Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. They can help with questions or supplies.
Children with gastroschisis usually don’t have long-term problems or need to keep coming back to the hospital. Our doctors and nurses are always here to help you and to answer questions.