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Oral Stimulation Program to Encourage Feeding in Infants

SILKExternal Stimulation:

  1. Stroke from her ear to the corner of the mouth, like you are making the letter "C." Repeat on the other side.
  2. Place your finger on the chin and roll your finger to the bottom lip.
  3. Place your finger under the nose and roll your finger down to the upper lip.
  4. Trace the upper lip and lower lip with your finger.

Internal Stimulation:

  1. Rub the upper gum, then the lower gum.
  2. Stroke along the right and left gums.
  3. Stroke the insides of the cheek.
  4. Stroke the sides of the tongue.
  5. Stroke the roof of the mouth (back to front).
  6. Stroke the center of the tongue (back to front).


  1. Try to get your baby to suck on your finger by stroking the center of the tongue, pulling your finger out of your baby's mouth, or wiggling your finger inside of your baby's mouth.
  2. Try to get your baby to suck on a pacifier. You may be able to dip the pacifier in breast milk, formula, or Sweet Ease to help with this. Check with your baby's nurse, PT, or physician.
  3. Note any biting or pushing out with your baby's tongue.
  • Perform the following movements 10 times each. The idea is to stimulate all aspects of your baby's mouth, including the muscles, lips, gums, and tongue. Complete the program daily, before your baby eats, until your baby has no difficulty with breastfeeding or taking a bottle.

The Chester County Hospital Lactaction Consultants: 610.738.2582

The Chester County Hospital NICU's Support in Lactation and Kangaroo Care (SILK) program was created in 2010. It is adapted from the UCSD SPIN Program 9/08.

Last Updated: 6/23/2011