Video:How to Bottle Feed Premature Babieswith Danielle Lipke
Learning how to bottle feed premature babies is not as difficult as it may seem. Here, our expert explains how to bottle feed premature babies without too much trouble.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Bottle Feed Premature BabiesHi, I'm Danielle Lipke, one of the Pediatric Speech Pathologists here at The Bristol-Meyers Squibb Hospital at Robert Woods Johnson, talking to you for About.com.
Today, I'm going to talk to you about how to bottle feed a premature baby. So, just because a baby is premature doesn't mean that it can not be bottle fed. Generally what we need to see are certain skills that the baby has developed in order to initiate bottle feeding with them. What these skills would be are stable vitals. Your baby needs to show an interest in eating as well as be developmentally ready for it which generally occurs between 34 and 36 weeks, gestationally.
Generally, bottle feeding we initiate between 34 and 36, sometimes they're earlier with breast feeding, but between 32 and 34 weeks. So, one of the things that we see a lot with infants that are premature is the development of their suckle, swallow, breathe coordination. Now infants need to have a good suck, swallow, breathe coordination in order to eat a bottle safely. So they suck, they swallow, they breathe, they suck, they swallow, they breathe.
And, generally, infants, who are younger then 32–34 weeks don't have that ability to regulate themselves -- to suck, swallow, breathe –- suck, swallow, breathe. And a lot of the time we'll see that they suck, swallow, suck, swallow, suck, swallow, suck, swallow. And they'll forget to take their breath. And so what we have to do is to pace their baby.
Instructions to Bottle Feed a Premature BabySo an infant who has difficulty in coordinating their sucking and swallowing breathing. So what we would do is let your baby suck, suck, suck. You tilt your baby down and bring the bottle up. So they can take a breath and then you let them do that again. Suck, suck, suck, tilt the bottle down. Bring your baby up.
You would have to assess how much your baby can tolerate sucking and swallowing before they have a lot of issues. A lot of babies who have a lot of problems sucking, swallowing and breathing will have episodes of difficulty breathing and their heart rate will drop. Then they can have oxygenation problems too. So that's an important thing to do.
This is just a regular standard nipple. This is just a regular nipple. It has one hole in it. It's nice and soft and pliable. It's made of rubber. These you can buy commercially anywhere. We usually try to start with a standard nipple for a baby. These kind of drip a little bit if you put liquid in them. They're harder for the babies to control. They have a faster flow of liquid.
So, then, sometimes what we'll do if the baby has a hard time controlling a large sip with the regular nipple –- we can use, this is a Mead Johnson slow-flow nipple. And this nipple is a little bit harder and it has a smaller hole in it so it doesn't leak as much.
So, when the babies, when they use this nipple, it's harder for them to compress on the nipple because it's a little bit stiffer and there's a smaller hole, so they have less liquid come out from it. So, it gives them a little bit of a slower flow which is easier for them to handle.
But, if you're noticing that your baby is having a hard time feeding I would recommend that you ask your doctor for a consult for a feeding evaluation with a speech pathologist.
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