When direct breastfeeding is not possible, a mother can express breast milk and feed her baby with a spoon or cup. We use a suthi spoon, also called as paladai.
Here’s why parents may need to spoon feed their baby.
- When the mother is unhealthy. If the mother has active tuberculosis or chickenpox infection, doctors do not allow direct breastfeeding for a while, but she can feed expressed breast milk.
If the mother has Covid-19 and cannot breastfeed, she can express her breast milk for her baby.
In any illness where the mother is unable to breastfeed, nursing staff can assist to express her breast milk. This will keep her breasts healthy.
Mother expressing her breast milk to treat sore nipples or engorged breasts can feed it to her baby with a suthi.
- When the baby is premature. Babies born before the due date may not develop the sucking-swallowing coordination needed for direct breastfeeding. Baby’s doctor may advise giving spoon feeds to such babies.
- When the baby is admitted in NICU. Such babies may not be able to breastfeed due to their illness, but doctors may allow spoon feeding in some cases.
- A working mother can express and store her breast milk. Caregivers can feed this expressed breast milk with a spoon.
How to spoon feed your baby
- Thaw (melt) frozen breast milk
Place frozen breast milk container in a lukewarm water bath till it is no longer cold (37 ºC).
Learn how to store and prepare expressed mother’s milk.
- Support your baby
Support the baby in your lap in an upright position with your one hand beneath the baby’s upper back and neck – keep the baby’s neck slightly extended.
Place a cloth on your baby’s chest because some milk may spill.
- Allow the baby to suckle from the spoon
Take out some milk in a sterile katori.
Fill suthi spoon with milk.
Gently insert the tip of suthi spoon in baby’s mouth.
Allow the baby to suckle the milk – do not pour milk into baby’s mouth.
Learn how to clean and sterilize baby feeding utensils.
Here’s why you should give spoon feeding instead of bottle
- Bottle-feeding causes nipple confusion – this decreases breastfeeding and breast milk production.
- Bottle feeding in lying down posture causes ear infections.
- Bottle-feeding may cause obesity.
- Giving formula or animal milk causes recurrent diarrhea and respiratory infections.
Post your questions or suggestions in the comment section below. Happy breastfeeding!