15 answers

My Newborn Is Having Problems Sucking

My son is 7 weeks old and we are having problems with him sucking. We do have a dr brown bottle that he does VERY well with, its the skinny tall one. We also have the short fat ones but he doesn't do well with those. We have bought other bottles in hopes that he would be able to suck on the nipple and get formula out, but so far he is unable to. Is there anyway that we can teach him to suck better? Or should we just stick with the bottle that works? I'd just hate to have all these other bottles go to waste. Any advice would be appreciated...thanks

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Featured Answers

Hi K.,

My little one couldn't breastfeed and had trouble with bottles, too. We saw several lactation consultants, and the problem seemed to be her tongue--she'd put it up on the roof of her mouth. All babies are different, but if that's the problem, then angling the nipple toward the roof of her mouth when you first put it in might help. Good luck!


More Answers

Hi K.,

My little one couldn't breastfeed and had trouble with bottles, too. We saw several lactation consultants, and the problem seemed to be her tongue--she'd put it up on the roof of her mouth. All babies are different, but if that's the problem, then angling the nipple toward the roof of her mouth when you first put it in might help. Good luck!


The other bottles won't go to waste. You let him learn on the one he's sucking on now and as he learns and he gets really good at it you can start to use the other bottles. Some babies just do better at first with one kind of bottle, but they learn and start to use others as well. So I would just stick with what works and use the other bottles later. Babies just learn at their own pace.

I would stick with the bottle that is working, plus those are really great bottles. You might want to look and see if there is a trading group in your area, where local moms can get together and trade items that don't work for them for items that do. It is great to get rid of stuff you don't need and hopefully get stuff you do. If you don't have one I would bundle all your products together that you don't use and either try to sell them or just donate them to goodwill and take the tax break.

Northeast Medical Center has a program called "Ask First". The number is 1-800-575-1275. You can call there and request to speak to a "Lactation Nurse". These women are very knowledgeable and will be glad to help you with this type of problem. It's a free service and I think you'll find it worth the call. I'd try that.

My son was an 8 week preemie so he had not learned or developed the sucking when he was first born. The nurses in the neonatal nursery always told us (and they would practice with him when we weren't there) to us a pacifer. This would get my son to practice sucking when he wasn't eating because at the time he was being tube fed and then once he was able to suck the pacifer they pulled out the bottles. His favorite was the tall, skinny Dr. Brown's. We used EVERY brand and the Dr. Brown's were the best. Hope that helps

Something else is to ck to make sure you're getting the nipple all the way in his mouth - while it seems like it would gag him, it's important that the nipple be inserted and the round 'breast like' part of the bottle be close to his mouth if not touching his little nose...

Mine only used Avent from day 1 - and he's 7.5 months old, and has adjusted to Playtex Ventair in the last 2 months as well...

Good luck!

Stick with what works if he is having problems with the others you don't want him to get tired and then not eat because he has given up. You could always give the others away.

There is a thing called a finger feeder. It looks like a tube the hospital would use for patients that need to be tube fed and you connect it to a large syringe. The end of the tube gets taped to your finger and you put your finger in the baby's mouth. As the baby sucks on the tube (and your finger) the formula or breast milk comes out of the syringe into the tube and into the baby's mouth. This way you'd be able to see what the problem is...if the baby isn't sucking or if he just doesn't like the nipples you're using. Your peditrician should be able to get you one or you can ask the nurses in the office. Good luck!

Save the other bottles for when he gets older. I was only able to use one kid of nipple on my children also. The bad part was I had a ton of nipples for one kid and the next one didn't take that kind. But really later when he is older, you can give him the others and he won't care.

Hi K.
we had some trouble too when our son was first born. We found that the dr. brown bottles and a slow flow nipple worked the best. After a few weeks we switched to the the level one dr. brown nipple that comes with the bottle and he was fine.
I know how frustrating it is, so good luck.

Stick with what works. But you should definately use a pacifier. That will help tremendously. Pacifiers aren't as hard to get rid of as you think. I have 3 boys and none of them were hard to break. Best of luck!!!

When my daughter was born and I wasn't able to nurse, we bought Avent bottles and she never looked back. So, when my son was born and I wasn't able to nurse again, we just broke out the Avent bottles. When my son started gagging on the nipple, I went out and bought the smallest package of as many bottles as I could find at Wal-Mart and Target. We hand-washed and sterilized a lot in those few days, but his favorite botttle was the Gerber with the silicone nipple without bumps! LOL- The cheapest of the lot!!! I hated for the Avents to go to waste, but we will pass them on to other family members when they get pregnant.

I say just go with what your son likes. Some resale shops have bottles, and I've seen a LOT of Dr. Brown bottles in the ones I've visited around the country. I've heard from friends that REALLY picky babies LOVE the Dr. Brown bottles.

Another friend of mine took a good look at her own nipples and then went to the store with that in mind. She was trying to do bottle and breast to go back to work. This worked out very well for her.

Good luck and hang in there!

PS- I just thought of another thing. Remember that the nipples have different flow amounts. Most bottles are sold with the newborn or slow flow nipples. Maybe your son feels like he's working too hard with the other bottles.

Hi K.,

My advice would be that maybe the form of the other nipples aren't to your newborn's liking. I would just use what works for now and as the baby gets a little bigger, then maybe the baby will adjust to using other nipples.
Babies have their own pickiness about things and like and dislike certain things. Luckily Dr. Browns has developed the different stages of nipples for the bottles as they get older and more advanced.

As for wasting the other bottles, maybe he will use the other ones later, just not now. If you aren't going to have anymore, you can always boil the bottles and donate them to another new mom.
I hope that answers your question. Feel free to ask anything you need.

( I work with infants 6 weeks to 14 months) I also have a 3 year old!

I know this sounds stupid, but do you allow him to suck a pacifier? You would be surprised how many people are particular about allowing their child to have one. My son had a difficult time at first sucking......I breastfed with both of my children but he was the more difficult of the two. So, like my daughter, I tried and let him use a pacifier and he developed strong sucking skills soon after that. Im sorry I don't have anymore advice but that's all I can think of. GOOD LUCK!!

Hi K..

Sucking is a learning process for many babies, especially the ones who have been traumatized at birth with an aggressive use of the sucking bulb (you know, the one that the doctor uses to suck out the fluid in the newborn throat as soon as the baby comes out).

Your baby is already 7 weeks, therefore you don't have anymore time to lose: call a lactation consultant or go visit her at the local hospital. If where you live you don't have this service, write me, I'll give you the number of the one that I use.

Lactation consultants are key for forming good nursing habits for both Mom and Baby and they can help you with the bottle too.There's nothing more important than your baby's health, these are his first steps to a good nutrition.

My baby learned to suck effectively after a week of biting my nipples. It took patience and a couple of exercises, but everything fell into places and I nursed (and still nurse) with no problems. He can switch my nipple and the bottle as needed and he never hurt my breast because he never developed a wrong sucking habit.

Call the professionals, they'll help you.

Good luck


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