Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA, CST-T, RCST (614) 326-3504

Dr. Hazelbaker specializes in cross-disciplinary treatment and to that end has taken training in several modalities to best assist her clients. She is a certified Craniosacral Therapist, a Lymph Drainage Therapy practitioner, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Advantages of Finger-Feeding and the Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder

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 Controlled Flow Rate: Milk flows too fast from bottles for most babies. This overwhelming milk flow creates some mild to significant problems for the baby, especially if she or he is experiencing sucking problems. When babies cannot tolerate the flow, they suspend breathing, may cough, sputter or choke during the feed. The baby may develop a compensatory tongue movement pattern that protects the airway but does not efficiently remove milk from the breast. If a baby changes the way they suck because of bottle-feeding, known as Nipple Confusion, they will need to be retrained to suck properly at breast.

A baby may become addicted to the faster flow from the bottle. This Flow Preference, as it is commonly called, causes the baby to become impatient and frustrated at breast. Because the baby has become used to instant flow gratification as soon as the bottle touches his or her tongue, they often will not remain at breast long enough to pull milk out, expecting instant flow gratification at breast just as o the bottle.

Although switching to a slower flow bottle teat can help with these problems, finger-feeding with the Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder prevents the development of these problems. The Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder requires the baby to pace the feed. Milk will not flow unless the baby exerts effort that mimics good sucking at breast. As a built in feature of the Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder, this infant control can be augmented by a gentle squeeze of the milk container should the baby not be able to generate adequate negative pressure to draw milk from the device. However, the top will pop off if the caregiver squeezes too hard thereby ensuring that the baby’s airway is protected from a flow rate that overwhelms their ability.

Easy Handling: Other finger feeding devices, many makeshift and difficult to handle, do not have built-in pacing features. Those that require the caregiver to push down on a syringe plunger may require added finger and arm strength and guarantee that the flow of milk will be inconsistent, robbing the baby of the opportunity to pace their own feed.

Many other finger feeding devices require two hands. Using two hands for feeding complicates the feed unnecessarily. As well, other devices must be placed either on a table or in the bra. These placements increase instability of the device making finger feeding more precarious and involved. The Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder was designed to be easily used in one hand, ensuring feed consistency and ease while freeing up the opposite arm and hand to provide postural stability to the baby for optimal feeding and to cuddle.

Flexible Tubing: Others have very stiff tubing. Stiff tubing causes some babies to reject feedings; the firmness of the tube creates discomfort at the hard palate. Conversely, if the tube is too soft, it will collapse, preventing milk flow, when the baby exerts negative pressure during sucking.

Better Results: The devices that sit next to the mother on a table have long tubes. The extra length requires that the caregiver assist with the feed by manipulating the device if the baby cannot produce enough negative pressure. Longer tubing also demands greater intra-oral pressures to pull the milk through the tubing, a problem for many babies experiencing breastfeeding difficulties. Either way, optimal feed pacing can be undermined using these devices. The Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder eliminates these concerns: its tubing is the perfect length to ensure proper feeding technique.

Easy Assembly and Cleaning: The Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder has only a few parts that assemble easily. It takes but one try to learn how to put it together correctly. This efficient design also makes it easier to keep clean. Instructions for proper assembly and cleaning come with the device.

Durable: Unlike many other devices used for finger-feeding, The Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder is durable and can be used indefinitely for the same baby. It can be sanitized and sterilized making it ideal for longer-term use when indicated. Other devices must be disposed after one or two uses and/or are destroyed or damaged during sterilization.