Department of Intensive Care (=Nyfødt Intensiv)

How to train parents in probe feeding

Nutritional probe is used when the child is unable to eat enough by breastfeeding or with bottle. The probe passes through the nose and throat and directly into the stomach.

The nutrition probe is set by the staff at the Department of Intensive Care (Nyfødt Intensiv). To be changed once a week.

Important preparations before the probe feeding:


  • Breast milk or replacement (infant formula) temperated from hot tap water
  • 2 or 5 ml syringe to check if the probe is placed in right position
  • 20 ml syringe for probe feeding
  • A piece of cloth – compress og diaper - as bib

Wash your hands before you do the probe feeding.


  • Check that the probe is placed correctly by the mark (number) at the nose (see the observation sheet)
  • Put 2 or 5 ml syringe on the probe and pull slowly. If there is some liquid from the stomach in the syringe, this indicates that the probe is placed correctly.
  • If there is nothing left in the syringe, press some air down (about 2 ml) or you can meanwhile breastfeed and then check the probe again.
  • Never put food in the probe if you are not sure that it is placed correctly
  • Contact Department of Intensive Care by phone if you are uncertain about the placement of the probe

Additions in milk

  • FM 85 is added to the probe feed. One blue measuring spoon per 20 ml milk
  • NAN can be reinforced with one measuring spoon on the 90 ml regular NAN mixture

Probe feeding

  • Pull the warm milk into a 20 ml syringe
  • Give 2 ml each time. The meal lasts about 10 - 20 min depending on the amount and how well the child can withstand the meal
  • Observe the child during the probation period.
  • If the child becomes disturbed or regurgitates, take a break or end the meal
  • Remember to plug the probe after the meal

Complications connected to the probe feeding

If the probe is not placed correctly, the child will get the milk in the throat. The child will then cough, the skin darkens and the breathing can be heavier. End the probe feeding and lay down the child sideways with the head a little down to ease the cough. Contact Department of Intensive in case of questions.

 If the probe slides out

  • If the probe slides out partly, then pull it out and throw it
  • If it occurs during evening or night: maybe the child can manage until next morning without a probe. If the child has good appetite and eats enough, you can avoid probe feeding until next morning. Then the child must eat more frequently. Eat a little more often than usual, e.g. every 2-3 hours
  • Contact Department of Intensive Care next morning to arrange probe feeding at home or in hospital.

Cleaning of equipment

Syringe for aspiration:

  • New syringe every day

Syringe for probe feeding:

  • Place the syringe in the refrigerator between meals. New syringe every day

Pumping equipment:

  • Rinse in cold and then in hot water. A couple of minutes coking, and then dry between each pumping

(Translated from Norwegian, July 7, 2017, Dep of communications/AH)

Last updated 5/25/2023