What Is the Purpose of Finger-feeding?

What is finger-feeding? How does it work? Why would I need to do this?
profile picture of Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC
ByCatherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC
Lactation Specialist
Updated
Feb 2017
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Finger-feeding is another way to feed babies who cannot yet breastfeed without resorting to a bottle. The baby takes milk from a tube while sucking a parent’s finger. A nurse or lactation consultant should be able to teach you how to finger-feed if you would like to do this. In one small study, preterm babies who finger-fed in the hospital were more likely to breastfeed once they got home than those who were bottle-fed in the NICU.

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