Bottle Feeding Problems
Getting around a common parenting problem
Bottle feeding a newborn is often convenient, particularly for premature babies as you will be able to tell how much milk your baby has actually had. Getting the right bottles and teats can be a case of trial and error however. If you are combination feeding your baby, finding teats that are the closest to nipples will often work in your favour. Look for softer teats that bend easily in your baby’s mouth. Before you invest in a large number of bottles for your baby, you may find it beneficial to buy one of several brands to see which one works best for your baby. All babies are different, and will have slightly different mouth shapes and sucking reflexes.
One of the common problems is finding a teat with the correct flow strength. Your newborn will often take some time to finish a bottle. If your baby drinks the milk to fast then this can cause reflux, vomiting and wind problems. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines on teats to make sure that they are suitable for your newborn. They will usually only have one small hole in the teat to enable your baby to develop a good sucking reflex without getting excess wind whilst they are feeding.
If your baby has too much wind when you are bottle feeding they will be uncomfortable and will often cry during feeding. Your baby may also make grunting noises or get hiccups. You should be able to feel your baby’s body to see if he has wind. Your baby’s stomach will be hard and often they will tense up their bodies right down to the tips of their feet. It is important that you help your baby get rid of the wind before continuing the feed or it will become uncomfortable for your baby. Winding techniques include rubbing your baby’s back whilst holding them sitting up on your lap, or holding your baby against your body so that their head is looking over your shoulder. You will probably need to be a little patient with this, but usually a burp shouldn’t take too long.
Bottle feeding problems 0-4 months
As your baby develops so will his digestive system. Over the first four months they will be able to take in a little more milk at each feed to help them keep going. Sometimes there are issues such as colic and reflux however which may hinder this. You may find it beneficial in these first few months to use bottles that help cut down the wind and colic issues. There are several brands of bottle on the market that have special mechanisms designed to steady the milk intake in order to cut down on wind.
The time you feed your baby is of equal importance. Although your goal may be to get into a feeding routine, sometimes this can be quite difficult when your baby is having constant growth spurts. If you sense that your baby is getting hungry and has started to cry, you should start to feed your baby as soon as you can. If your baby is left to long crying or has become hysterical then they will be drawing in more air which often leads to difficulties with wind.
It is important also never to let your baby completely finish a bottle - always aim to leave a little milk still in the teat, or your baby will suck in air causing further wind problems. Colic and reflux is common in babies and cause them some discomfort and issues sleeping. If your baby is not putting on much weight over the first four months and is spending long periods of the day crying you should always consult your GP.
As your baby grows and his sucking reflex improves you may also find that it is time to move on to a new teat that allows more milk to come through. If you find your baby is sucking the teat so that the top of it is flat and makes a squeaking noise then it is often a sign that it is time to move on to a more grown up teat. If a baby is not drawing in enough milk when they are feeding then they can often get bored or frustrated. They may cry, buck away from the bottle or play with the teat of the bottles in their mouths rather than sucking.
Finally where you feed your baby can often help with bottle feeding problems in the first four months. Always look to feed your baby in a quiet room where they will not be distracted by noises, colours and sounds. Once they have finished feeding, then is the time for playing. Bottle feeding your baby in a calm environment can help keep your baby calm and happy feeding.
Laura has three sons and writes on behalf of a leading leather sectionals retailer. She has not received monetary compensation for this article.