Spoon Feeding

  • Spoon feeding a newborn is an alternative method of feeding when trying to establish breastfeeding by not introducing an artificial nipple and hopefully preventing nipple confusion. 

  • Spoon feedings are a great was to supplement expressed breastmilk after birth for an infant who is sleepy, having trouble latching, or needs the nutrition right away. 

  • Hand expression is optimal to express the first drops of milk, colostrum, directly onto the spoon. Newborns only eat drops – 5mls per feeding in the first 24 hours of life! That’s maybe an ounce in 24 hours. 

  • Since a spoon only holds a small amount, it gives parents ease of mind that their baby won’t choke while eating.  

  • Starting a feeding with a spoon is a great way to get a baby who is too sleepy to latch, time to be aroused with the small taste of milk. Once awake babies are more able to latch to the breast to complete a feeding. 

To spoon feed your baby:

  1. Sit your baby upright in your lap, supporting your babies head and neck by placing your hand on their upper back. 
  2. Use your other hand to put the spoon to your babies lips so they can taste the breastmilk. Let them lead the way with how fast they want to eat.
  3. Do not pour the milk into your babies mouth! 
  4. Your baby will start to lap up the milk by sticking their tongue in and out.
  5. Allow time for your baby to swallow before filling the spoon. 


Wilson-Clay, Hoover, The Breastfeeding Atlas Sixth Edition. LacNews Press, 2017; pp. 115-125