10 Reasons to Cup-feed Your Baby (Instead of Bottle-feeding)
At some point in your baby’s journey, you will be encouraged to transition from breastfeeding to other forms of feeding. Most mothers opt for bottle-feeding for the many benefits and conveniences it offers. However, recent trends suggest cup-feeding might be the better alternative.
Before we get to the benefits of cup-feeding, let us first take a look at how cup-feeding is done.
WATCH: Demonstration of Cup-feeding a Baby
Key Takeaway: In this video, baby Sophie is cup-fed by a doctor. This demonstration will help you understand how to hold your baby and go about cup-feeding her.
Make sure you have blankets or swaddles to swaddle your baby. This keeps their hands from getting in the way.
Keep a few napkins handy, as cup-feeding can get messy.
As you can see in the video, cup-feeding is easy. Babies take to it more readily than we imagine, and they are also able to assess their hunger better. Notice how baby Sophie stops feeding after a few sips!
10 Reasons to Ditch the Bottle and Pick the Cup
Before them bottles were conceived (pun intended!) and manufactured, most women perhaps opted to cup-feed their babies, while trying to wean them off breastfeeding. However, the many conveniences that bottles offered, made the humble cup take a back-seat. Prolonged use over more than several generations has now revealed the many cons of bottle-feeding.
Here are 10 benefits that cup-feeding offers over bottle-feeding – making a strong case for their comeback!
No separate cup training required!
Being able to drink from a glass or a cup is an important milestone that babies need to achieve. If you never offer your baby a bottle and start with cup-feeding from the beginning they are more likely to achieve this milestone sooner. What’s more, they will achieve it on their own, without the need for any special training with sippy-cups.
Continue to breastfeed your baby without a glitch!
A lot of times mothers experience that their babies refuse to breastfeed when they get used to the easier, simpler option of bottle-feeding. Not only does this rob the mother of a beautiful emotional experience and a chance to bond with her baby, it also gives rise to other problems associated with bottle-feeding, such as over-feeding, poorer immunity, etc. With cup-feeding, you can continue to breastfeed your baby without a glitch.
No dental-braces, thanks to perfect pearly whites!
Bottle-feeding has been linked with malocclusion – the misalignment of teeth. This misalignment may be seen in milk teeth and/or permanent teeth. Correcting this misalignment is not only a costly but also a painful affair, and can at time require drastic measure such as tooth-extraction, or other orthognathic surgeries (which involve surgically re-shaping the jaw). All these risks are eliminated during cup-feeding since the cup never enters your baby’s mouth.
Bottles pose a greater chance of germs getting caught – in the nipple, in the threads of the bottle, in the bottle cap, etc. If proper care with respect to cleaning the bottles is not taken, this can increase chances of dental caries and cavities in your baby. Cup-feeding minimises contact with the feeding-equipment and reduces chances of cavities.
Big savings on bottles and cleaning supplies!
Having a baby is an expensive affair, and every penny saved counts! Bottles, nipples, sterilisers, all cost a lot of money and are high-maintenance equipment. On the other hand, cups are inexpensive, easy to clean, and hassle-free!
No fear of over-feeding!
Bottle-feeding has also been linked to obesity in babies. Part of this is due to the fact that bottle-feeding is easier than breastfeeding (which requires more effort on the baby’s part), so babies can go at it for longer periods. Another factor is the comfort that the artificial nipple provides (due to its morphological similarity to the mother’s breast) – the feeling makes babies feed more, so much so that they cry when you take the bottle away! On the other hand, cup-feeding can be controlled more efficiently.
It is teething-friendly!
Babies latch better till they have no teeth in their mouth – be it on the mother’s breast or the bottle. However, teething babies find it difficult. This is another factor that is responsible for weight-loss in babies. No more of that with cup-feeding, as it works like a charm for teething babies too!
No more bloating!
Due to the comfort that suckling provides, a lot of babies refuse to give up the bottle even after they have emptied its contents! On the other hand, as the contents of the bottle start reducing, an air cavity is created in the bottle. If the bottle is not held at the right angle, this air enters your child’s tummy and can cause bloating, gas, and sometimes even colic. You can do away with all these problems by opting to cup-feed instead.
No more hunger pangs!
The air that babies tend to ingest while bottle-feeding can ‘fill them up’ faster, causing them to at times under-feed. This not only deprives them nutritionally but also makes it difficult for them to develop a regularised hunger and feeding pattern. Cup-feeding, on the other hand, poses no such problem.
It’s more hygienic!
A cup and spoon are definitely easier to wash, clean, and maintain than a bottle. It does not require any special equipment for cleaning, as long as you do not put your baby’s cup and spoon in with the rest of the vessels in the dishwasher!