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Q&A: My 3-week-old baby chokes while bottle feeding. How can I help?

If there was no choking when you breast-fed, 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 squatter 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 troubleshoot the problem for you. Good luck!

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