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Tube Feeding Formula Basics

There is a wide range of tube feeding formulas available. Formulas come in a variety of formats and packaging. Your healthcare professional will consider your medical diagnosis, your unique nutritional requirements, and your feeding schedule when recommending a formula.


A standard tube-feeding formula is a formula that is designed for adults and children who have normal digestion. Standard formulas include all of the nutrients required to maintain health. Some standard formulas can be used for both tube feeding and as an oral supplement and some contain added ingredients, such as fiber, for digestive health and bowel management.

Examples include Isosource® HN, Isosource® 1.5 Cal, Fibersource® HN, Nutren® 1.0, Nutren® 1.0 Fiber, Nutren® 1.5, Nutren® 2.0, Replete® and Replete® Fiber, Nutren® Junior, Nutren® Junior Fiber.


Elemental formulas are easier for the digestive system to digest and absorb, making them better suited for adults and children with digestive problems, including malabsorption, short bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis and other conditions that can cause problems with absorbing nutrition.

Examples include Peptamen®, Peptamen Junior®, Alfamino™ Junior, and Vivonex® RTF.


Commercially prepared blenderized formulas are made from real food ingredients such as chicken, vegetables and fruit, along with added vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. Blenderized formulas may be suitable for adults and children who have difficulty digesting a standard formula, or for those who will require a tube-feeding for a long period of time.

A blenderized formula also has the advantage of providing ingredients from real foods, which may help you participate in family mealtime because you are enjoying some of the same foods.

Examples include Compleat®, Compleat® Pediatric, and Compleat® Pediatric Reduced Calorie.


Blenderized formula can also be made at home. Home-prepared formula can be less expensive than prepared formulas, but preparation may be time-consuming and may not meet all vitamin and minerals needs without a supplement. It is also very important to follow specific techniques during handling, preparation, storage and usage of the formula because of the risk for bacterial contamination from the formula ingredients or containers.

A nutritionally complete formula such as Compleat®, Compleat® Pediatric, and Compleat® Pediatric Reduced Calorie may be used as a base for a blenderized diet. A variety of other foods, including fruits, vegetables, and a protein source, can then be added to the mixture and blended. If using one of these formulas as a base for a blenderized feeding, the added ingredients used should be reviewed by a registered dietitian to make sure that nutrient requirements are be met. Vitamin, mineral, or protein supplements may be necessary to meet nutrient requirements.


Specialized formulas are available for adults and children with special needs, such as diabetes, kidney failure, respiratory disease, or liver disorders. The formula should be selected by a physician or a dietitian who is familiar with the various formulas.

Examples include: Glytrol®, Diabetisource® AC, Novasource® Renal, Nutren® Pulmonary, and NutriHep®.

ENFit™ Information


A NEW connection system for enteral devices is on the way! The new ENFit™ connector system is part of an international initiative to promote safe nutrition delivery by reducing the risk of accidental misconnections. Worldwide, all enteral feeding tubes, sets and syringes will have a connector which will only be compatible with tube feeding equipment and comply with an international design standard (ISO 80369–3). This change has the support of hospitals, industry, patient advocacy groups, and regulatory bodies worldwide.

Stay up to date on the latest news about the new ENFit™ Connector System at