Methods of giving breast milk and formula

Both breast milk and infant formula can be given from a bottle, a cup or an at-breast supplementer.

How do I cup-feed my newborn?

When cup-feeding, let baby set the pace. Choose a small cup. Hold baby semi-upright in the crook of your arm, or on your lap facing you, while you support his neck. Your baby will naturally bring his hands to his mouth when about to drink. You should offer baby the milk; don’t pour it into his mouth. Place the cup against baby's lower lip. Tilt the cup until the milk just touches baby's upper lip. Wait for him to respond and sip the milk. When baby starts to swallow, watch carefully. Take a break if your baby needs one, for example, if he stops drinking, frets or turns away. Cup-feeding can be helpful before breastfeeding is established.

How should I plan bottle-feeds?

You should feed your baby when she shows signs of being hungry. Use clean bottles and carefully prepared infant formula or breast milk. The milk should feel lukewarm against your wrist. With clean hands, check that the bottle teat is intact. Use teats with as few holes as possible, so that the baby has to work to get the milk. Try to find somewhere quiet, without too many distractions. Get yourselves comfortable. Hold baby close, semi-upright in the crook of your arm. Make eye contact and talk to your baby. Your baby will give you many cues during a feed. Keep hot water and drinks (tea/coffee) out of baby's reach. While feeding, your baby will need closeness and soothing.

How do I bottle-feed my baby?

Hold baby close, semi-upright in the crook of your arm. Make eye contact and talk to your baby. 

The bottle teat should tickle baby's upper lip and should be offered when baby opens wide. Hold the bottle horizontal. With slow, paced feeding, baby will have time to start feeling full and satisfy her natural sucking urge. It should be easy to take breaks. During the feeding breaks, the bottle teat should touch baby’s upper lip, as a sign that the milk is there when she’s ready again. Signs that baby is full or needs a break are stopping drinking, turning her head away, splayed fingers, difficulty swallowing or pushing the bottle away. Your baby will decide when to stop feeding, even if the bottle is not empty. Many infants need to burp both during and after feeds.