What to Do for a Baby Who Swallows Air While Eating?

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Feeding your baby is a learning experience.
Feeding your baby is a learning experience.

Feeding your baby can be a sweet, comforting time in your day. Babies often inadvertently swallow air along with their formula or breast milk, especially when drinking from a bottle, causing a bloated stomach and gas pains. Working together, caregivers and infants can learn to enjoy feeding times that are full of snuggling and affection, and free of upset tummies.

  1. Feeding Position

    • The best way to prepare to feed your baby is to find a relaxing and comfortable place to sit that offers support to both of your arms. Placing the baby in a semi-upright position in your arms at a 45-degree angle decreases the risk of the baby's swallowing air while drinking from the bottle. A baby resting in the correct position has his head resting near your elbow and his back against your forearm.

    Bottle Position

    • Proper bottle positioning decreases the amount of air that a baby can swallow while eating. A bottle maintained at an incline will keep the nipple filled with milk, ensuring that the baby is not taking in air along with formula. Babies require different nipple sizes as they grow, so if the baby appears frustrated when drinking or if milk is leaking out of the corners of his mouth, consider changing the nipple size on the bottle.

    Burping

    • Burping your baby helps to eliminate any extra air that he may swallow while drinking from the bottle. About halfway through each feeding, take the time to hold the baby completely upright and pat him on the back. Applying a small amount of pressure on his belly combined with the patting on the back increases the chance of getting rid of excess air.

    When to Stop Feeding

    • A baby may begin swallowing air when he has finished eating and is still sucking on the bottle as a reflex. The sucking movement does not necessarily indicate that the baby is still hungry. If that is the case with your little one, simply replace the bottle with a pacifier and allow him to continue to suck as he drifts off into a light sleep.

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  • Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images

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