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Newborn and Infant Care

Difficulty drinking a bottle

12/31/2008

Question:

My 6-month-old daughter has always had difficult drinking. She never got the hang of breastfeeding, so I switched her to a bottle. She always sounds like milk is in her nose when she is drinking, but that congestion isn`t there normally when she`s not drinking. She also is very fidgety when she eats -- not fussy or crying -- just always moving and won`t look at me. SHe also will stop a lot and let the nipple come out of her mouth. It`s never a continuous suck. She has done a little better since we switched her to a faster nipple, but she still has the noisy nose. My question is ... do you think this is something she`ll outgrow, or do we need to see a doctor? We never really discussed it with our pediatrician because she is gaining weight, but it makes me nervous that our daughter isn`t comfortable eating. I wonder if this just a bottle thing, or will she be able to use a sippy cup?

Answer:

I'm not sure there is a problem here. If your daughter is gaining weight, all that you have shared is normal for an infant. Infants are noisy little things and aren't very good at controlling their secretions. Therefore, the gurgling sound. You actually may notice an improvement if you get a nipple that flows slower, so that the your child has to work a little more to get her formula. This extra work is very satisfying to babies and may comfort her into being more calm during feeds. Finally, make sure you approach her calmly at feeding times; infants take behaviors cues from those around them. If you have anxiety regarding the feeding process, you may inadvertently share this with your child.

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Response by:

Sarah Sauntry, RN, MS, CPNP-PC
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati