Only a few mothers are not able to breastfeed for special reasons. If you are one of them, or if you have chosen not to breastfeed for any other reason, you should not feel guilty about doing so. There are even a few advantages of bottle feeding with the most important one being that your partner can feed the baby when you are away or sleeping. However, there are chances of your baby choking on milk while bottle feeding if you are not careful.

Hence, in this article, we are going to cover all the possible causes or mistakes parents, guardians, or babysitters can make when feeding a child and what can be done to help a baby that is choking on its food or baby formula. 

Causes & Solutions of Baby Choking on Milk While Bottle Feeding

Causes & Solutions of Baby Choking on Milk While Bottle Feeding

Babies can choke on milk while bottle feeding for various reasons, this section will discuss all the possible reasons of a baby choking on milk while bottle feeding and what you can do to make your baby’s bottle feeding experience better. 

1. Using Incorrect Nipples for Bottle Feeding

One of the most common reasons for a baby to choke on milk while bottle feeding is the incorrect size of the nipple that has been attached to the bottle. If the nipple is too big, the milk will flow faster than the baby can swallow the milk causing him or her to choke on the milk. To resolve this issue, try to find a nipple that prevents the milk from flowing too fast for the baby to swallow. This can be a difficult task which is why it is wise to take suggestions from friends and reviewers who have shared the same experience you are currently facing. 

2. Bottle Feeding in The Wrong Position

If the baby is wrongly positioned while bottle feeding, the baby is prone to choking on the milk. For Example; if the baby is positioned horizontally while the bottle is held upright, you are increasing the flow of the milk while making it difficult for the baby to swallow the milk. To feed the baby while ensuring it does not choke on the milk, ensure that you hold the baby in an upright position and that the bottom of the bottle is not tilted too high. 

The best way to feed the baby in my opinion is to use the paced bottle feeding method where the bottle is placed horizontally, and the baby can actively suck out milk at their own pace. This method also ensures that the baby is not forced to swallow more milk than desired, and he/she can drink the milk at regular intervals. 

3. Using A Prop Feeder

Another reason why your baby can cause your baby to choke on the milk is the prop feeder. When you use a prop to hold the bottle, you can’t control the rate at which the milk flows out of the bottle. In such a scenario, the baby can start choking on the milk if he/she is not ready to swallow the milk. This can be especially risky if you are not near your baby as you won’t be able to hear them choking. This is why it is highly discouraged to use a prop feeder. 

4. Baby is Not Swallowing/Sucking 

When bottle feeding your baby, you may have noticed that there are times when the baby stops sucking the bottle or swallowing the milk. In such a case, it is advisable to remove the bottle from the baby’s mouth and wait till he/she is ready to have more milk.

5. Baby is Too Hungry

If your baby is too hungry and impatient to suck on the bottle, they may gobble down the milk making it difficult for the baby to breathe while drinking. This is why it is essential to feed your baby after regular intervals to ensure that the baby is not too hungry when he is being fed the milk or formula. 

6. Nostrils Get Clogged

There are always chances of the nostrils of the baby getting clogged with drool surrounding the mouthpiece. When this happens, there are chances that the milk runs down their throat and pools down in their stomach while they try to breathe causing a condition known as “Aspiration Pneumonia.” You can prevent this from happening if you use drool bibs or burp cloth that can cover the front of the chest. 

Another way you can ensure that the baby does not choke on milk from bottle feeding is by ensuring that they burp. To do this, you need to hold the baby upright on your lap or shoulder with your hand under their chin and rub the middle of their back gently. 

7. Acid Reflux Issues

A medical condition that is common in babies is Gastroesophageal Reflux. This condition causes the baby’s stomach to come up to the oesophagus, which can cause the baby discomfort and pain. This condition can also cause Acid Reflux. If this condition is a frequent occurrence, you might want to show your baby to a doctor. 

What to Do When Your Baby Chokes

Depending on the way your baby chokes, you may be required to do different treatments. Preventing choking in babies can be very difficult which is why it is essential for parents to know what to do when a child is choking on their feeding bottle. Before we can inform you about the different things that need to be done when a baby is choking, it is important to understand what aspirations are in babies and toddlers. 

When a substance, food or water, enters the lungs and airways of a baby, it is known as Aspiration. Aspirations are common in people who struggle to swallow their food and can also happen in babies if they suffer from “Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.”

When you notice your baby choking on food or fluids, it is important to call the health services and ensure that they are available for help in the unfortunate event that the baby does not stop coughing. In the meantime, follow the steps mentioned below to help the baby breathe. 

  • Lay the baby face down over your arm or leg with the head placed lower than the chest. 
  • Give 5 back blows between the shoulder blades with your hand. 
  • If the baby is still struggling to breathe, turn the baby around with the head, still lower than the chest. Give 5 chest thrusts on the centre of the chest and below the nipple line. Use two fingers to depress the breastbone at least 1 inch.
  • Give alternate back blows and chest thrusts until help arrives or the baby starts breathing normally. 

Conclusion

While choking can seem like a harmless event, it is important to prevent your baby from choking and coughing continuously as this can cause your baby to suffer. As a parent, you must ensure that you feed your baby in the correct procedure. You must also ensure that the daycare or nursery school is following proper techniques to feed your baby, as this will ensure that your baby stays safe and healthy.