To prevent breastfeeding problems, cup-feeding has been recommended as a method of providing medically necessary supplemental feedings to breastfed infants.


To compare amounts ingested, administration time, and infant physiologic stability during cup-, bottle-, and breastfeeding.


A total of 98 term, healthy newborns were randomized to either cup-feeding (n = 51) or bottle-feeding (n = 47). The heart (HR), respiratory (RR), and oxygen (O2) saturation rates were monitored on these infants and 25 breastfed newborns during 1 feeding. Differences in amounts ingested and administration times were evaluated with t tests and physiologic data with repeat measures analysis of variance.


There were no significant differences in administration time, amounts ingested or overall HR, RR, and (O2) saturation rates, between cup and bottle groups. Breastfed infants had longer administration times and lower overall HR, RR, and higher O2 saturation as compared with cup- and bottle-fed infants.


Administration times, amounts ingested, and infant physiologic stability do not differ with cup- and bottle-feeding. Breastfeeding takes longer than cup- or bottle-feeding, but infants experience less physiologic variability. These data support cup-feeding as an alternative to bottle-feeding for supplying supplements to breastfed infants.

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