How to Cup Feed

Why Cup Feed

•        It is an alternative method of feeding a baby when the mother is unavailable.
•        It is an alternative when mother is ill.
•        It is an alternative when baby is not latching on correctly.
•        It is an alternative when mother is resting sore nipples.
•        It is an alternative for a preterm baby who cannot take sufficient milk from the breast.
•        It is an alternative when a baby has a cleft palate.
•        It provides a very positive oral experience.
•        It avoids the use of bottles, which may cause sucking confusion.

The advantages of cup feeding

•        Baby controls the feeding.
•        Does not take much energy for the baby to learn to cup feed.
•        Stimulates tongue and jaw movement.
•        Promotes good eye contact.

The disadvantages of cup feeding

•        A little milk may be lost.
•        No sucking opportunity.

How to cup feed your baby:

Babies learn to cup feed quickly.  Before getting started make sure you have everything you need.

•        Foley Cup Feeder
•        Breast Milk
•        A blanket to wrap your baby in
•        Extra towels – Wash cloths
•        A comfortable chair and a table to put your supplies on

Pour a small amount of milk into the Foley Cup Feeder.  Start with a calm baby.  Wrap your
baby gently in a blanket with his hands gently restrained and hold the baby in a semi-upright
position to avoid aspiration, supporting the shoulders, neck, and head with your hands.  Put a
wash cloth under his chin to catch spills.  Rest the cup on the baby’s lower lip, allowing your
baby to smell the milk, keeping the cup tipped so his tongue can lap or sip the milk.  Fill cup
with more expressed milk as necessary.  Stop often to rub baby’s back and give him time to burp
if he needs to.  Record amounts taken.  Stay in touch with your pediatrician or lactation

Keep the milk at the baby’s mouth like a tranquil lake.  Do not pour the milk into the baby’s
mouth – avoid a tidal wave of milk into the baby’s mouth, as this may cause him to cough and

Cup feeding is awkward at first but take the time to become familiar with it and you will find it
easy and fun.  Don’t forget to take a picture because your baby will be nursing soon, and the
image of your tiny baby drinking from a cup will be gone forever.


1.        Marie Biancuzzo, RN, MS, IBCLC, Sample Protocol: Cup Feeding a Newborn.
Breastfeeding the Newborn 1999; 12: 376-377

2.        Nicholson W. Cup feeding notes MALC Newsletter 1999; February; Editor: Mary Ann
Brehmer (from Internet)

3.        Lang S. Cup-feeding: an alternative method Midwives Chronicle 1994; May: 171-176

4.        Lang S., Lawrence CJ, L’E Orme R. Cup-feeding: an alternative method of infant feeding.
Arch Di Child 1994; 71: 365-369

5.        Weber F, Woolridge MW, Baum JD.  An Ultrasonographic study of the organization of
sucking and swallowing by newborn infants.  Dev Med Child Neurol 1986; 28: 19-24
6.        Newman J. Breastfeeding problems associated with the early introduction of bottles and
pacifiers.  Jhum Lact 1990; 6(2): 59-63

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Foley Development, Inc.
2441Q Old Fort Pkwy Suit 393
Murfreesboro, TN  37128
888-463-2688 - Phone
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Foley Cup Feeder