Q&A: My 3-week-old baby chokes while bottle feeding. How can I help?
My 3 week old chokes often when feeding on a bottle. I was breastfeeding exclusively for 2 1/2 weeks but decided to alternate formula and expressed breastmilk due to extremely sore nipples. Whether I'm feeding her breastmilk or formula in a bottle, she seems to choke at least once every feeding. When she is feeding, she seems to be drinking fast and milk sometimes comes out the side of her mouth. I've tried to put her in an upright position, but this doesn't seem to help much. I do notice that she chokes less when she is calm, but calming her is sometimes very hard to do. I have even tried to feed her right when I notice that she is hungry, but she still chokes. I'm very worried about this and it makes me very upset to see her like this. Do you have any suggestions?
From the details of your question, I gather that there was no choking when you breast fed, so abnormalities of the nose, mouth or esophagus shouldn’t be a concern. The problem, then must be within the feeding unit of baby, food and delivery system(bottle). Feeding from the breast requires a slightly different technique than bottle feeding, and usually means a stronger suck. If your daughter is applying the same force to the bottle, she will get the milk faster. Perhaps she is gagging on the excess volume. Slowing her down and calming her are the right responses, and she might even make her own adjustments over time without your help. The other option is to search for a bottle system that most closely resembles the shape of a human nipple, which is shorter and squater than the standard bottle nipple. The one that I know of is the Playtex system that includes a short, tan nipple, a hollow cylinder and disposable plastic inserts for the formula or milk. This may slow down the volume of milk per suck during feeding. If it doesn’t help, try to find a lactation consultant in your area who can watch the feeding event and may be able to trouble shoot the problem for you. Good Luck!