Top of the page
Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) is a way to give nutrients to your baby through a tube (catheter). This tube is inserted into a vein. The tube sends liquid nutrients directly into the blood. The blood carries the nutrients to your baby's tissues and organs. The nutrients don't have to go through the digestive system.
TPN is used if your baby can't get enough nutrition by mouth or through a feeding tube. Your baby can get TPN as long as needed.
Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. The hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.
A doctor or specially trained nurse carefully places one end of a thin, flexible tube into one of your baby's major veins. This may be done through the belly button. The outside end of the tube is called the port. That's where the TPN goes in.
TPN comes in a pouch. This is attached to a pump. The pump sends the nutrients through the tube up to 24 hours a day.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Jennifer Merchant MD - Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.