BOTTLE FEEDING: COMMON PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

Excessive puking: Sounds fantastic, doesn't it?!

All babies puke! However, if your baby is puking after every feed and letting out a burp as they are being sick, then this is a problem that is being caused by your bottle.  A couple of things to check are:

1.     Is the flow of the teat fast enough? Check the teat and try going up a flow size.

2.     Are they breaking the vacuum seal around the teat while feeding? If the vacuum seal doesn’t stay intact throughout the feed, this can cause your baby to suck down excess air, thus trapping it under the formula. When you go to wind them, the wind forces the formula that is on top of it up and the baby throws up. To fix this, you should check the shape of the teat and try one that is a different shape as it might be better suited to your child. 

3.    Does your baby have a tongue-tie? If the answer is yes, then your baby will be sucking in air while feeding which can make him very sicky. (See our section on tongue-ties and what to do here.)

Choking

Your baby shouldn’t be choking while feeding and, if she is, there are a few things to check.  Firstly, have a look at the teat.  If the milk is coming out too fast this might cause choking.  For this, you need to change the teat and go down a flow size.  Also, check the length/shape of your teat as it might be ill suited to your baby’s mouth shape. Try one of the brands I recommend in our section Bottle Feeding Kit List.

 

Check the position of your baby when you are feeding, and make sure the baby’s head isn’t too far forward or too far back.  The ideal position is to sit them up at a 45-degree angle holding the head so you can still see the neck. 

Colic 

Colic is a tricky issue to solve as it isn’t always obvious what is causing the babies digestion to be unsettled.  The first thing to look at is the formula – try a few different brands in case one contains something that doesn’t agree with your baby. Then check the teat as it is possible that the flow is too fast or slow – if your baby is choking on the milk then go down a flow size. While you are looking at the teat, make sure that it is the correct shape for your baby and that a seal is created that isn’t broken during the feed. 

It is important to correctly wind a colicky baby and I have a trick to make this as effective as possible. When you feed, stop every three to five minutes – wind your baby until they burp – and then continue the feed.  Repeat this until the end of the feed. 

Reflux 

In all my years of being a newborn photographer, I’ve only ever had to reshoot one newborn that was less than 10 days old. It turned out that he was later diagnosed as having reflux. Reflux happens because the muscles at the base of your baby’s food pipe have not fully developed and so milk comes back up easily. For some babies, this can be painful and make their throats sore. The baby I was photographing could only be soothed by feeding to ease the discomfort; Mum literally couldn’t put the baby down as he wanted to feed non-stop.  Thankfully, she knew that something was not correct, trusted her gut and got some medication from her doctor straight away. If you think your baby is suffering from reflux, please make an appointment to see your health professional as they will be able to help. 

Constipation

I bet you didn’t realise how obsessed you’d become about poo!  How big, how often, what colour!! Every baby has their own natural routine and what is normal for your baby might not be the same as for everyone else’s.  However, if your baby hasn’t had a poo for 48 hours then he might be constipated. Bottle fed babies tend to poo less than breastfed babies and, after two days, you’ll need to help them out. 

The first thing to do is put two tablespoons of virgin olive oil into a warm bath.  After the bath, lie your baby on his back, bring his knees up to his chest and hold there for 30 seconds.  You can also give your baby a gentle massage on his stomach. 

If the problem persists, make an appointment to visit your health professional and discuss changing the type of formula you are using.