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How to Prevent a Baby From Swallowing Air When Bottle Feeding

Updated July 20, 2017

Due to their immature digestive systems, babies are more prone to gas than older children or adults. Bottle-fed babies are even more prone to it, as they take in more air than breast-fed babies. It is important to prevent babies from swallowing too much air when bottle feeding because it makes them uncomfortable, fussy and even unable to sleep. There are ways to prevent babies from taking in too much air during feedings.

Feed your baby with bottles that reduce gas. There are different types of bottles for this purpose. Some bottles come with a bend in the middle that keeps the nipple filled with formula to prevent your baby from swallowing air. Other bottles come with a plastic liner that collapses as your baby drinks the milk, reducing the air in the bottle. There are also bottles that have a vent system for a vacuum-free feeding; air never mixes with the formula so it prevents your baby from swallowing it. Try a few bottles, and choose the one that best suits your baby.

Use a slow-flowing nipple. Try a few different flow options until you find the slowest one your baby will drink from comfortably. The faster your baby drinks the formula, the more air he will take in. Test the flow of the nipple by turning it upside down -- one drop should fall every second.

Feed your baby at a 45-degree angle. Sit in a comfortable chair where you can rest the arm that is holding your baby. Babies usually take 20 minutes to drink their bottles; your arm needs to be comfortable to maintain the angled position.

Make sure the nipple of the bottle is always filled with formula. Your baby will swallow the air in the nipple if it's not completely filled. Keep an angled position to fill the nipple.

Burp your baby throughout the feeding -- every couple of minutes, especially if he drinks the formula in a short amount of time. Place your baby on your shoulder, and gently tap his back until he burps. You can then continue the feeding.

Avoid allowing the baby to suck on an empty bottle. Remove the bottle as soon as he is done drinking the formula. He will swallow air if you keep the empty bottle in his mouth.

Tip

Massage your baby's stomach in circles after a feeding to help him release the air he swallowed and to prevent gas.

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About the Author

Lucia Mata has been writing since 2008, covering parenting and design topics. Her work has appeared in both English and Spanish publications. Mata has an Associate of Arts in interior design from Salt Lake Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Utah Valley University.