It’s easy to convince moms to try to breastfeed their child. But it’s a different story when you ask them to cupfeed.
There are many reasons why moms choose bottlefeeding over cupfeeding. First, they’ve probably already received or invested in the top of the line bottle and nipple range so it would be a waste not to use them. Next, they might have never even heard of cupfeeding- at all. And third, even if they did hear about cupfeeding, it’s just too scary to try. Babies drinking from a cup? Naahhhh...
When I first heard of it, I thought cupfeeding was an alien and radical idea. I thought this was more suited for hippy, commune-style mothers who didn’t wear leather, use plastic or eat meat (no offense). Not for moi - the modern, working woman with the expensive, widely recommended bottle and nipple set.
But although I was fine with the bottle, my daughter - who was actually on the receiving end - hated it. She hated it so much that I had to change my whole bottle set to another type completely. She hated it so much that she wouldn’t take the bottle after a weekend or long period of directfeeding. And she hated it so much that she just refused to take it almost right after her first year. So even if I had an adequate supply of milk, it was also stressful that my daughter would rage and fight against the method she received it.
So I swore to myself, no more “bottle-battles” with my next one.
With my son, I introduced cup feeding at around 4 weeks. I read tips off the internet to my yaya, had her watch a few youtube videos and left the house. I left her with an ounce of milk, a plastic cup and a baby who was about to get hungry. When I got back, I asked if my son drank the milk and she said, yes. Easy.
The rules for cupfeeding are generally commonsense: 1) have the baby sit upright, 2) support the neck, hold the arms (not yours, baby’s) and 3) do not attempt when baby’s pissed off about something. However, here’s a new rule (and the most important one): do not pour down baby’s mouth. Just let the milk touch baby’s lips and baby will instinctively lap at the milk like a kitten (provided that baby is in a zenlike state - refer to rule #3).
Experts say that cupfeeding falls under the baby-led category (like breastfeeding) since baby will simply stop when full.
Anyway, my son took to cupfeeding like a duck to water. By 8 months, he could drink from an adult glass with no backwash whatsoever. By 1 year, he can drink from anything, even a bottle of mineral water.
Cupfeeding has a special place in my advocacy because I’ve already met several moms whose babies rejected the breast somewhere between 3-8 months. These moms are model examples who don’t give supplements, pump regularly at work and breastfeed at home so it’s quite heartbreaking when their baby rejects the breast unexpectedly.
As a result these moms get exhausted from having to pump round the clock instead of experiencing the emotional comfort of having their babies latch on after a long day. They get too tired of pumping and eventally start lessening the pumping sessions. Then their supply dwindles and so on and so forth. You know how their story ends.
But other than the risk of eventual breast rejection, another reason to cupfeed is that it’s more sanitary. Since a cup does not have nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide, you don’t spend too much time cleaning it. It’s also more economical since all you need is one tiny cup - how much can one tiny cup cost? So with cupfeeding, you even get to save on 2 things: your precious time and your precious hard-earned money.
So there you have it, my personal appeal. Please cupfeed. Do not bottlefeed. Cupfeeding is the simplest and most natural progression after breastfeeding.
And it’s not radical, nor dangerous nor hard to do.