The Forgotten Tool of Breastfeeding Success: Cup-Feeding the Infant Who is Struggling to Breastfeed
Though a mother’s body is ready to provide nourishment through breastfeeding after birth, not every infant may be ready to feed at the breast. Cup feeding is one of many tools that can be used to support successful breastfeeding. A cup (e.g. medicine cup, bottle lid, paladai cup) is placed to the infant’s lips to simulate the natural suckswallow-breath pattern and to allow the infant’s own control of intake. The World Health Organization recommends cup feeding as a tool for infants who require an alternative feeding method. However, whether cup feeding has actually been implemented into practice or recommended by healthcare providers remains unclear. The objective of this study was to inquire if cup feeding has been recommended to mothers in Lewis & Clark County, MT compared to Snohomish County, WA as a tool to increase breastfeeding success. Using a convenience sample, surveys (either paper or online) were completed by over 200 mothers between November 2019 and March 2020. The survey was anonymous, offered in English or Spanish, and asked mothers to answer questions about their demographics, past maternal history, and experiences with breastfeeding and cup feeding. Very few mothers in both counties have been offered or suggested cup feeding as a tool to help with breastfeeding. The majority of participants in the study reported being open to cup feeding if educated on cup feeding benefits. Therefore, the results suggest that there is an interest in cup feeding but a lack of implementation and education regarding it as a tool for breastfeeding success.