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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Cup-Feeding Baby With Breast Milk or Formula
Cup-feeding is a way to provide breast milk or formula to a baby who
is unwilling or unable to
breast-feed or drink from a bottle. If a mother wants
to breast-feed, cup-feeding is also sometimes used as an alternative to
bottle-feeding for a baby who needs supplementation for a few days.
To cup-feed your baby, fill a medicine cup to about
1 fl oz (30 mL) with breast
milk or formula. Make sure your baby is supported in an upright position and is
wrapped or swaddled to keep his or her hands from getting in the way and
spilling the cup. Your baby should also be alert.
You want your baby to slurp or sip the milk. Do not pour the milk
into his or her mouth. To do this:
The feeding should last no more than about 30 minutes. Follow your
baby's cues about when to stop.
Many babies with special needs can easily learn how to cup-feed. This
feeding technique can promote the physical bond between the mother and baby
when breast-feeding or bottle-feeding is not possible.
April 12, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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