6 Weeks Old Trouble Swallowing

Updated on June 03, 2010
S.M. asks from Broomfield, CO
19 answers

I have a 6 week old son. Ever since he was born it seemed that he was having trouble swallowing. They told use that it was reflux and put him on a different formula. Since then they have switched his formula 5 times and now have him on Simlac Soy and on Previcaid. He is still having a lot of trouble swallowing and it seems like every time we give him a bottle he cries and wont eat alot. He also gags the entire time he eats like he is having trouble swallowing it. I aam becoming very irritated with the doctors because they are not finding a solution. I feel horrible for him because he is eatting and gaining weight but seems like he can't swallow or breath sometimes. Does anyone have any ideas it would help? I currently have him on medicaid so i need some help finding a specialist maybe that accepts that? His cord was wrapped around his neck as well at birth which I heard could have caused problems? I am a first time mom who is 19 years old so I have no idea. Please help

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

I also have to wonder - did you try breastmilk? Goats milk is good, healthy, but it is not what the baby needs now - it doesn't have the same vitamin and mineral make-up of cows milk. I researched this extensively. I couldn't get my baby to drink ANY formula, and I also couldn't get him to drink goat's milk either. I say try the Alimentum too - and those super allergy prone formulas. They are more expensive.
Can you get him to drink water at all? Not to advicate water necessarily, although it's not bad for them to have 2-4 ounces per day at this stage - but maybe that is a way to weed out the nipples, drinking types, and when you get one he likes with water, then narrow down the formula.
Good luck!!



answers from Salt Lake City on

Have you tried breast feeding? I don't know of a child that is allergic to his mothers milk. even expressed breast milk would work.

More Answers



answers from Cincinnati on

hi -
There could be many reasons why this is happening but they need to try to figure it out not just switch formulas. It sounds like he may be aspirating ("choking") on the formula. I would strongly recommend looking for a pediatric specialist that specializes in swallowing and feeding. As far as your question if the cord being around his neck is what is not affecting his swallowing - No it is not "causal" (meaning that out of all the babies that have the cord around the neck not all of them have swallowing issues).

Here is the web address for children's hospital - they have a swallowing clinic http://www.thechildrenshospital.org/conditions/clinical-n... - For more information call The Children's Hospital at ###-###-#### and ask for the Feeding and Swallowing Program.

I believe they are not for profit and will take Medicaid

good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Since you are feeding formula, the first thing that comes to mind is so simple that your doctor may not have thought to check.
Check out the nipples you are using. Many manufacturers offer different "flow" speeds. You may be inadvertently using a flow speed that is to high and he is getting too much formula - making it hard to swallow.

You might want to go out and get some "slow flow" or newborn or "breastflow" or stage 0 nipples. Different manufacturers call them different names.

It"s just a thought - since you didn't mention trying different nipples or bottle systems.
Good luck.



answers from Salt Lake City on

You may want to have an ear nose and throat specialist check him it sounds like he may need to have his tongue clipped. My daughter had the sAme thing and it made a huge difference. Good luCk and remeber the Dr.s work for you and if you don't like what is going on ask questions and if you need to get another opinion. You know whAt is best for your child be confident in that and keep asking until you feel comfortable with the solution



answers from College Station on

Oh sweetie I think you should call around and ask other pedi's if they are accepting medicaid and new patiants! The doctors should be looking for the problem not just ignoring it! Oh and I know medicaid has a nurses hotline CALL THAT! Ask them any and all questions. Sometimes they can help and others they will give you an opinion on what you should say/do to get you doc to help! I am sending your little guy lots of prayers hope hes feeling better soon :)



answers from Pocatello on

We had this problem with our boy. We were told the same thing and changed his formula 5 or 6 times. Some brands even made him throw up. He couldn't drink any kind of Similac. And screamed and choked if I tried to feed him any brand of Soy. I remembered my mother telling me that one of my brothers couldn't keep anything down and would scream with hunger so I figured it was worth a try to do what she did, even though keeping down food, compared to choking on it wasn't the same. I gave him Buttermilk. Except for the look on his face saying "yuck" he was able to swallow better and didn't cry. He kept it down and it got me thinking. I started checking out the different nipples on bottles. I figured if the buttermilk was thicker, that could be why he didn't choke so much. To make a long story shorter, we ended up using a NUK. The hole in the nipple is on top, not on the end. It has helped so much. Our boy is now 9 mo. old and eats like a little pig. He still uses the newborn size nipple. We tried to change him to the next size and he started choking again. He loves his bottle. The milk flows plenty fast for him at this age. He still uses the smaller one, (5oz I believe) and would rather us add more milk when he runs out then use the bigger bottle. (LOL, Just what he likes.) We don't mind, at least he is not crying and choking all the time. It hasn't completely stopped the problem but we don't have to watch him every second and worry as much. When we figured out the bottle problem it made it easier to pick out the formula. He was able to drink the "good start gentle formula" . At 7 mo. old I tried the "western family gentle formula" and he did fine on it. ( alot cheaper price.) 2 weeks later by accident I bought the plain WF infant formula and He likes it alot better.

It helpped , when he was younger to hold him up a bit so he wasn't laying flat. For us we feel like the bottle has been the best blessing. it is fatter and different but works great. Make sure the hole is up. Good luck and Maybe this will help.



answers from Salt Lake City on

6 weeks old is scary- to me it was at least. My son had allergies to the formula so we switched about 7-8 times as well. It sounds like you're doing a great job being a mommy! Just make sure that you are the super hero for your son- get second opinions and stuff. as far as the gagging goes- have you tried switching bottles??? My boys both gagged if we gave them the nipples that are the orange/brown nipples. Once we switched to the Avent brand bottles they'd chug a bottle in minutes flat. The chord around the neck thing is actully pretty common and doesn't necissarily warant much concern unless your dr's tell you to be worried. good luck- you're doing great, just be patient, dr's are doing their best to figure out the puzzle. Keep asking questions and such any time you're worried, but realize that every child is totally different.



answers from Lexington on

I am so sorry about your baby. There should be a number on your medicaid card that you can call, and get a list of doctors in your area that accept it. I hope you figure out whats going on and he gets better. Keep up updated on his situation. :)



answers from Salt Lake City on


It really sounds like he needs a chiropractic adjustment. My daughter had the cord wrapped around her neck as well. An adjustment or two has really helped her. If you live in Salt Lake I recommend Family First Chiropractic. They specialize in children. 495 East 4500 South Salt Lake City, UT 84107-2787 - ###-###-####
Good luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

It sounds like it is more of a reflux issue rather than swallowing. It is so painful for babies when acid is coming up their throats. When you feed him if he is gasping and swalling air, then refusing to eat more, his tummy is probably hurting from the air and needs to be burped often. If you haven't already, prop him up when you are feeding him to help prevent the stomach acid from coming up while he is eating. They also say to keep them propped up for at least 1/2 after feedings, on your shoulder or even in his car seat.
My baby had reflux terribly until he was about six months, then out grew it. I didn't do any meds for him, but you might want to check into switching from Prevacaid to something else. It doesn't sound like it is working. Look on the internet under GERD in infants and it will pull up all kinds of information for you to check out. We can certainly respect and appreciate doctors, but sometimes you just have to take the matter in to your own hands and investigate more than they tell you.

In any case that it isn't reflux, there are also other options rather than Soy formula that Medicaid and WIC will pay for. Nutramigen, Alimentum, and if those are not working, NeoCate.
Don't worry. I know it is so hard and very frustrating with a fussy baby all the time. It will get better as time passes and he is able to eat solids and his little tummy matures more. You can do it!! There are so many joys in motherhood. This will pass. Good luck.



answers from Cheyenne on

I was going to say it sounds like the flow of formula is too fast that he can't swallow it, but someone already said that. I would add to her advice though, that if you have one of the nipples with different settings, make sure you hold the bottle so that the 1 is up. We had bottles that had a 1, 2, or 3 around the base of the nipple...3 is the fastest setting, 1 is the slowest. And check to make sure the holes are not cracked, because that will make it flow faster if they are. If that doesn't help, then I'd look for a different doctor. Good luck!



answers from Boise on

I would take him to an ENT and have them look at his throat and maybe his tongue. My daughter had a hard time feeding when she was born and it was due to her having what they call a tongue tie...where the frenulum under the tongue is too close to the front of the tongue. An ENT will be able to identify that and it is a quick 20 second procedure to get it corrected (they just numb it and clip it...does not even bleed). And if that is not the case they should be able to help you figure out what is going on with him.



answers from Provo on

Both my daughter and my son have had this problem, my son especially. we cannot get through a nursing session hardly without him choking and gaging and gasping.
Here are some things to think about. Acid reflux can definitely cause this problem, but there are other things to consider. If the flow of liquid is too fast they might have problems. At this age make sure that the nipple you are using only has one hole. If you are and he is still having a prblem try feeding him in a bit of an upright position. Also the position you feed him in can really affect his ability to suck correctly, especially if you nurse.
try burping him more frequently throughout the meal. Often times when my son is having an especially hard time it is becasue he is getting too much air as he swallows, and I have to burp him throughout the feeding. Try a different bottle and see if that helps. there are definitely good and bad bottles out there.
On a side note, i would suggest you stop using soy formula or at least do some more research. I have read some things that suggest it may not be very healthy for babies becasue of the estrogen that it is it. I have heard that that can cause reproduction issues. I am not a doctor or an expert, so do some of your own research to see if you agree.
One other thing to think about is perhaps he has a diary allergy. My daughter has a dairy allergy and the only formula we can use (when we had to sart using it) is Similacs Alimentum. When I was nursing i had to go off all dairy. But this imrpoved her acid reflux tremendously.
Also to help with the acid reflux try proping his crib up at a bit of an angle.
And i know it is against the doctors usual reccommendations but my son and daughter choke and gag too much on their backs when they sleep so we sleep them on their stomachs. i talked to my doctor about it and why and was told it was ok.
I hope this helps you.



answers from Denver on

I will just start out that being a first time mom is the most stressful thing in the world that not one person can prepare you for. Even if someone tried you wouldn't get it until that baby was here.

There are a couple of things I would try:

First, I would go to another doc. I am not sure you need a specialist but you could certainly use a second opinion. You also want to bring him when he is hungry so you can show the doctor what is going on. Sometimes the doctors do not always understand that severity of the situation.

Second, keep in mind that your baby is flourishing, which means he is getting enough food. I have three kids and one of them acted a bit like this. although it is stressful, it may be that he is just trying to get a handle on things and it will take a while for him to calm down about eating.

Third, one of the toughest things we do to our babies is switch formula a ton of times. I know how hard it is not to when your baby is so upset but you do want to give one type of formula a solid 2 weeks before you make a judgement of changing it. I also know that although soy is a solution for reflux, babies typically hate it and fuss about eating it. My one child that had this problem never would take soy, I kept him on regular formula and had a prescription I gave him just before he ate every time. I wish I could remember the name of the script - sorry - but it sure helped.

Unfortunately, babies are SO hard to diagnose since they cannot tell us what is wrong. Doctors do their best to give direction but ultimately as parents we have to wait a lot of these things out. My son wasn't truly better where I wasn't worried and stressed until he was about 8 or 9 months old. I felt the same thing as you, massive frustration, anger at the docs, and finally depression.

Your baby will be fine, my guess is he is just taking a while to calm down and indeed the cord around his neck could have played a part. Just remember that your emotions and frustration transfer directly to your little guy, he can feel what you feel. So, the more upset you are the more upset he will be.

Good luck!



answers from Denver on

I had two kids that had a lot of reflux that resulted in feeding issues. We had great service with Children's Hospital while the kids were on Medicaid. There is a great setup in Boulder, too, although I can't remember the hospital right now. Feeding therapy is amazing, if for nothing else, therapists know so much about this stuff, they get right to the issue, and you can make progress immediately, before you even leave the evaluation. I could get you the number for the Boulder scheduler, if you are interested. fyi -- my son is on both Prevacid and Zantac, so it is possible to get different med options. GL!



answers from Colorado Springs on


Soy formula can cause some real problems...I'm not saying that can be causing his swallowing issues, but the soy can really create future issues. Have you thought of trying goats milk? It's so much easier to digest than cow's milk (which most formulas are made from), and much healthier than soy. The phytoestrogens in the soy will definately keep him gaining weight, but that's not necessarily a good thing if he's not gaining from good health. When I couldn't nurse, I used goats milk and an infant vitamin drop--worked very well..I would advise storebought goats milk--even Walmart has it now-- as the water in Co. can be very bad and you're better off with milk not locally produced.

Best wishes and blessings to you!



answers from Denver on

My son had a similar situation, though not as severe as what you describe. Our doctor prescribed Prevacid for reflux but we also went to a specialist that told us our son had weak throat muscles. We went to speech therapy for mouth exercises (sounds silly, I know) and physical therapy for exercises to strengthen his core muscles. Eventually, he improved. I think the most important issue is, is your baby gaining weight?



answers from Portland on

Hi S.,

I would first of all change pediatricians to an pediatric internal specialist. I would tell them everything that you just detailed here. When you have a child that has trouble swallowing SOMETIMES, and this is NOT meant as medical advice, there is a problem with GERD, which is what they seem to unsuccessfully treating him with, or Cerebal Palsey.

In the mean time, I would make sure that after he does eat, he is kept at an upward angle, kind of like in a bouncy seat, on your shoulder, or is a car seat. Sometimes they put babies in car seats to sleep, or raise th ehead of the crib up so that they are elevated.

Best of luck to you, and please keep us updated.

T. Nelson CD (DONA)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions