Finger Feeding to Supplement Newborns

Making sure a baby is fed enough calories and fluid to protect their brain and vital organs in the first days of life and beyond is one of our most important jobs as parents and health care providers. One alternative to bottle-feeding is finger-feeding, using a tube and syringe or supplemental feeding system.  This can be done in the hospital and at home with a 5-French pediatric feeding tube attached to a syringe, bottle or commercially available feeding vessel.  The tube is taped to your finger and your finger is used to supplement a baby instead of the nipple or a bottle.

Please note that the feeding tube and supplemental milk container must be cleaned with soap and clean water every single time to prevent contamination.  Here is Ray White supplementing his newborn in the hospital using the finger-feeding method.


We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.

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Disclaimer:  This resource page does not replace in-person physician evaluation and treatment.  It  is meant to inform parents of the most recent data regarding infant feeding and to increase their knowledge on how to protect their newborns from hyperbilirubinemia, dehydration, hypernatremia, hypoglycemia and extended or repeat hospitalizations due to complications from underfeeding.  Earlier supplementation may be needed for babies who are premature or have medical conditions. It is recommended that a parent seeks evaluation by a physician trained in newborn care for any concerns regarding the health and safety of her baby if they arise.