Expressed breast milk oral care

  • Expressed breast milk (EBM) can be used to clean babies mouths and to provide the taste and smell of breastmilk to babies on Butterfly Ward. This is called EBM oral care.

    Babies love the taste and smell of breast milk and in most cases, they can enjoy this from admission, even if they are not currently able to have feeds.

    Ask your bedside nurse to show you how to do this with your baby.

    Step-by-step guide to EBM Oral Care

    1. A clean cotton bud is dipped into the EBM or mother can express directly onto the cotton bud (about 0.2ml). 
    2. Ideally, your baby should be arousing or in an awake state. If your baby is heavily sedated, cluster with cares.
    3. Prepare your baby with voice then rest the cotton bud on the lower lip. 
    4. Move the cotton bud over the lower lip then the upper lip if they are receptive. 
    5. Gently insert the cotton bud inside the mouth and coat the tongue and buccal mucosa (cheeks). 
    6. Support your baby with positive touch and respond appropriately to cues. 
    7. Repeat every 3-4hrs or in conjunction with tube feeds. 

    If your baby shows disengagement cues like turning away, frowning, gagging. Stop and try again another time. Use your voice to reassure them.