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
breastfeed or drink from a bottle. If a mother wants
to breastfeed, 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. When you swaddle your baby, keep the blanket loose around the hips and legs. If the legs are wrapped tightly or straight, hip problems may develop. 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 breastfeeding or bottle-feeding is not possible.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.