It can be hard to know if your baby’s feeding troubles are normal or if he/she requires feeding therapy. Below are some warning signs to look for as you bottle-feed your infant:
Is your baby’s lip curled under? When typical babies latch, the protruded part of the bottle nipple is fully in their mouth and their lips are placed around the wider base of the nipple. His/her top lip should be extended and relaxed without being curled under itself.
Is your baby making a smacking sound while sucking? When babies suck on their bottle nipple, their tongue makes a wave-like motion. When this motion is not done correctly, they will make a smacking sound while sucking. This can possibly lead to difficulties such as fatigue, not eating appropriate amounts of food, increased gas, etc.
Is your baby consistently coughing, gagging, or do they have wide eyes while feeding? These are warning signs that could mean your baby is not able to feed correctly using their current nipple. This can possibly lead to difficulties such as fatigue, not eating appropriate amounts of food, etc.
Does your baby seem to be working very hard to suck their formula out of the nipple? This could mean your baby is not able to feed correctly using their current nipple. This can possibly lead to difficulties such as fatigue, not eating appropriate amounts of food, etc.
Is your baby not eating an age-appropriate amount of food? Always check with your pediatrician to find out how many ounces your baby should be consuming. On average, 0–4-month-olds should be consuming 3-4oz every 4 hours. 5–6-month-olds should be consuming 6-8oz every 4 hours.
Does your baby seem to suck a lot of times without pausing to take a breath? The number of sucks before a breath varies based on a baby’s age. When they are younger, they usually take 3-10 sucks before a breath. As they get older, this range can grow to 10-30 sucks.
Is your baby taking longer than 30 minutes to consume their bottle? This is a warning sign that he/she is having difficulties with a certain part of the feeding process or possibly one of the other difficulties listed above.
If you notice these warning signs happening consistently over a few weeks, schedule your complete feeding evaluation with an infant feeding therapist by calling TEAM 4 Kids at 1-800-376-3440. An infant feeding therapist will be able to make appropriate recommendations and put together a treatment plan to correct these struggles.
Whitney Stefanski MS, CCC-SLP