Methods for giving breast milk

It is the best when mother's milk can be supplied in its "original packaging", directly from the breast. However, sometimes breastfeeding is not possible or temporarily hindered (read more in: Baby refuses to suck breast, Breast abscess, Bleeding nipples). When breastfeeding is only temporarily impossible and there is still hope that the mum will return to this feeding method, milk should be given in a way not disturbing the breast suckling technique. Here are a few safe ways:

  1. Special cup (plastic, with a rounded rim). Place a cup with milk on the baby's lower lip and tip delicately (do not pour milk into the baby's mouth). The baby should suck milk, not drink it.

  2. Spoon. Place the baby's head on your forearm so the baby is in a semi-recumbent position (applies to newborns and very young infants). With a small, flat spoon (plastic) feed milk in the same way as you would give a medicine.

  3. SNS supporting system. An excellent method to stimulate lactation and convince your baby to suck breast. The system consists of a container filled with mother's milk, and two thin hoses connected to the container. The mother hangs the container with milk around her neck, latches the baby on to her breast and inserts hoses into baby's mouth. Milk will flow from them when the baby starts to suck the breast.

  4. Bottle. When you decide to give milk from the bottle, remember the teat type is the most important. It should mimic a shape of the woman's breast and allow the baby to make the same suckling movements (with his lips and tongue) as when suckling mother's breast. Thus the teat cannot be too soft. The best one is a harder, dynamic teat, so the baby needs to put some effort into extracting the milk.


It is not recommended to use a syringe for giving milk at home, as it easy to make a mistake that can result in serious choking on milk. Correct pressure on the syringe piston requires a significant experience. Even at hospital wards, clinical speech therapists recommend particular caution to trained medical personnel when they need to feed the baby in this way.