Hazelbaker Finger Feeder
What is Finger-Feeding?
Finger-feeding, a substitute technique for breastfeeding, has probably existed for thousands of years as a way to keep a baby fed who has difficulties going to breast or who needs to be separated from mother for any length of time.
Finger-feeding provides the touch of human skin, as in breastfeeding, for optimal infant to caregiver feedback and to allow the baby to pace the feed. The caregiver’s finger, placed correctly in the baby’s mouth, either encourages the baby’s tongue to come down and forward into its proper placement for breastfeeding or preserves the tongue’s optimal function so that the baby can maintain proper suck-swallow-breathe coordination.
Finger-feeding, for example, might be used after a baby receives a frenotomy for tongue-tie or for a baby with low intro-oral tone, as a therapeutic method to strengthen the tongue and other intra-oral muscles. Other sucking problems also respond well to this alternative feeding method when it is used for therapeutic reasons.