How to Fill a Large Feeding Syringe

Written by stephanie mitchell
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How to Fill a Large Feeding Syringe
Caregivers can administer medicine or food with a feeding syringe. (George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images)

Owners of ill pets, parents of fussy babies and caregivers for elderly and disabled patients may all need to use feeding syringes at some point. These syringes are available in various sizes and materials. Large syringes have nozzles or tubes in place of needles, making it easier to feed thick substances to the recipient or to administer them in larger quantities. Some models unscrew to allow easy filling; others require users to fill them the old-fashioned way. In either case, caregivers should make sure that the syringe is free of air bubbles before they feed their patient, child or pet.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Small spoon

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  1. 1

    Unscrew the end of the syringe if it is a two-piece device, and remove the plunger. Fill the syringe with food or medicine using a small spoon. Replace the plunger and screw it back on tightly.

  2. 2

    Turn the syringe upside-down, so the nozzle or tube is pointing upward. Tap the side of the syringe gently with your finger or the spoon to shift air-bubbles to the top. Depress the plunger slowly to squeeze out the air-bubbles.

  3. 3

    Fill a syringe that does not unscrew by depressing the plunger fully, placing the nozzle or tube into the food or medicine, and pulling the plunger slowly upward to draw the substance into the syringe. Use the same tapping system to clear air-bubbles.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you insert the nozzle or tube far enough into the food or medicine that you are not drawing up air bubbles along with the substance.
  • If the feeding substance is too thick to easily draw into the syringe, use a larger syringe.
  • Only fill the syringe to the level specified in the feeding instructions. For example, if you must give a baby 20ml of cough syrup, use the measure indicators on the syringe to determine how far to fill it, and do not exceed that amount.

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