Bottle Feeding Problems

Mothers choose bottle feeding over breast feeding for any number of reasons. No matter which way you choose to feed your baby, the most important aspect is that the baby is being nourished well and has the love and attention s/he deserves. Bottle feeding does not necessarily detract from that special bonding that comes between a mother and her baby during feeding time. Lots of close skin-to-skin time and interaction both during feeding and at other times helps to ensure your bond with your baby is healthy and strong.

One thing to remember is that you may well hit some bumps along the road when it comes to bottle feeding your baby. Most of them are minor and quite easy to fix. If you do have some major problems with bottle feeding, then a talk with your pediatrician is in order. In this article we'll look at some of the possible problems you may experience bottle feeding your baby.

Bottle Feeding Problem: The Nipple

Sometimes the nipple ring is screwed onto the bottle too tightly, prohibiting the flow of air into the bottle to keep the balance of pressure in the bottle. When the baby sucks the milk, air should be going into the bottle. If there is no air, then suction produces nothing but frustration for your baby. The air will enter the bottle through the nipple ring or through a hole in the nipple. You'll know the air-milk transaction is happening correctly when you can see a stream of tiny air bubbles in the milk as baby drinks. If there's no stream of bubbles, there's no air - loosen the cap a bit to see if that helps.

Bottle Feeding Problem: Feeding Times

When breastfeeding is the choice, on-demand feedings are much easier than when you are bottle feeding your baby because you don't have all that preparation to go through. If your baby is inclined to graze (eat every couple of hours) and you are finding it difficult to manage a schedule, you can help the situation by extending the period of time between feedings so the baby takes more at a feeding because s/he is hungry. Be patient with the baby, sometimes s/he with take some formula and then just lay there with the nipple in the mouth. If given a few minutes, s/he will likely start to feed again. It shouldn't be an extremely long process (about 45 minutes or so), but it shouldn't be so quick that baby doesn't eat enough.

Bottle Feeding Problem: Not Really Hungry

Babies have natural reflexes. They jump when they think they're falling, they suck and they root. All babies come equipped with these reflexes and as a mother, you will learn to distinguish between a reflexive action and serious hunger. If baby is offered a bottle every time s/he roots, you may find baby sucks for just a few minutes and then turns away. That's because the sucking reflex is working. Try waiting to see if the baby is really hungry or just wanting to suck.

Bottle Feeding Problem: Tired Baby

Eating and sleeping usually go hand-in-hand for babies. You feed the baby and then the baby goes to sleep - especially when baby is tiny. If your baby isn't feeling well, chances are s/he won't be sleeping very well either, or sleeping longer than usual. A tired baby is often very fussy and feeding can be challenging. The baby may not take enough at a feeding or fall asleep before the feeding is completed. First, determine if your baby is getting enough rest. If the answer is no, then focus on that aspect of the baby's life. Sleep is essential to growth, healthy appetite, and your own peace of mind. Once sleep has improved you'll find feeding improves as well. Almost like magic!

Bottle Feeding Problem: Milk Allergy

Many babies cannot tolerate cows' milk - and most formulas are cows' milk based. There are certain symptoms that are associated with lactose intolerance that will signal you to the possibility of a milk allergy:

· wheezing

· recurrent cough

· phlegm in the chest

· rash

· eczema

· diarrhea

· blood in stools

· failure to gain weight

Goats' milk seems to be a better choice for babies who are lactose intolerant or who are allergic to cows' milk. There are formulas available that are made from soy as well, which may be another alternative. There are a variety of options now available since milk allergies are so prevalent these days. Check your health food store for products that are lactose reduced or designed for babies with milk allergies.


Bottle Feeding Problem: Baby Reflux or Gastro-esophageal reflux (GER)

Nearly half of all babies have reflux at some point. Reflux is the regurgitation of the contents of the stomach into the throat or mouth. It is treatable and usually babies are not bothered too much by it. However, some babies have chronic GER and they may associate eating with pain or heartburn. In this case, baby isn't going to be too thrilled about eating. Early treatment is usually the best way to deal with reflux. Once the baby knows that eating isn't going to cause pain, s/he will return to the bottle.

Bottle feeding has its ups and downs. Learn more about them in our articles on this site.

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