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J Trop Pediatr. 1999 Apr;45(2):108-10.

Cup feeding: an alternative to bottle feeding in a neonatal intensive care unit.

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Department of Pediatrics, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Rohini, New Delhi, India.


Cup feeding has been suggested as an alternative to bottle feeding to help promote breastfeeding by avoiding nipple confusion. To demonstrate the possibility and utility of cup feeding, records of 59 preterm and low birthweight babies (born before 37 weeks' gestation) admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from May 1995 to April 1996 were analyzed. Feeding was initiated on cup if swallowing was present and cup feeding was possible as early as 29 weeks' gestational age with a birthweight of 900 g. In the case of five infants (38 per cent) in the gestational age group 28-30 weeks, 19 infants (52 per cent) in the 31-34 weeks' gestation group, and six (56 per cent) in the 35-37 weeks' gestation group, feeding could be commenced directly with a cup. Out of 59 infants, 33 infants (56 per cent) could be discharged on exclusive breastfeeding. It was concluded that cup feeding is a useful alternative to bottle feeding and an effective method of feeding preterm and small infants in NICU. Cup feeding allows successful breastfeeding without causing 'nipple confusion'.

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