• Breastfeeding and the Hazelbaker fingerfeeder

    Posted on November 26, 2011 by in Breastfeeding Challenges, Infant Challenges, Maternal Challenges

    What is Finger Feeding?

    Situations may arise where breastfeeding at the breast may not be a possibility. This could be due to medical problems for the mother or baby, sucking issues in the infant, or short-term separation of mother and baby. In these situations, finger feeding is a viable option. Finger feeding also helps a baby who might be struggling with latching on to the breast learn how to do so.

    Finger feeding prevents issues that may confound the nursing baby. Artificial bottle nipples could present risks to the breastfeeding relationship by way of nipple confusion or flow preference. To “milk” a bottle, babies use different muscles than they do when at the breast; milk also flows differently through a bottle versus a breast. Using a finger feeder, babies experience a more “breast-like” nursing session, as the shape and skin of the finger encourages proper infant sucking (as compared to some other feeding devices) and finger feeders allow the baby to pace the flow of the milk.

    With soft, flexible tubing and a baby-controlled flow rate, breastfeeding and the Hazelbaker fingerfeeder is an effective and durable tool for finger feeding a baby who cannot nurse at the breast for various reasons.

    How to Use the Hazelbaker Fingerfeeder

    1. Trim your fingernails. Make sure the fingernail on the finger you intend to use is trimmed close so as not to scratch inside the baby’s mouth. The finger you choose to use is dependent upon what’s most comfortable for you and your baby. Oftentimes, the pinky is the preferred finger.
    2. Wash your hands. Practice good hand-washing techniques, such as scrubbing for at least twenty seconds.
    3. Assemble and fill the HazelbakerTM Fingerfeeder. Line up the tubing from the Hazelbaker Fingerfeeder so that it sits on the soft part of the finger you’ve chosen to feed with.
    4. Get in your preferred feeding position, where you can comfortably hold the baby, supporting the baby’s head in your hand with your baby’s head and shoulders resting in between your thumb and forefinger.
    5. Allow your baby to latch on to your finger, making sure to practice the same techniques involved in latching on to the breast as best you can (such as tickling baby’s lips and allowing them to pull the finger into their mouth on their own).
    6. Finish the feeding and then disassemble and clean the Hazelbaker.

    Please note that when the Hazelbaker Fingerfeeder is being used as a “training” tool to help baby learn the appropriate mouth movements to nurse at the breast, only use the feeder until the ravenous baby is calmed by having a sip of milk; then try putting the baby to the breast.

    How to Wash a Hazelbaker Fingerfeeder

    Disassemble and wash and rinse the HazelbakerTM with hot, soapy water. It can be sanitized in a dishwasher or microwave and can be boiled or autoclaved to sterilize.

    Additional Resources

    Melissa can work with your healthcare provider to
    support your milk supply and healthy lactation. 

    Contact her here or by calling (509) 228-8710.

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