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3 Tips For Feeding Your Sick Baby

Updated: Mar 16, 2023


When babies are sick, they often have difficulty feeding. This is especially true if they have nasal congestion, which makes it difficult to breath during breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Babies may often pull away or become fussy during feeds. If babies continue to feel uncomfortable during feedings, they can begin to develop oral aversion, which causes increased stress on mom and baby. Here are some tips for feeding your baby while they are sick:

  1. Slow the flow. If the flow is too fast, babies can become overwhelmed, especially when they are having difficulty breathing through their nose. You can slow the flow by decreasing the nipple flow rate on the bottle and changing positions. Try feeding in an elevated side-lying position. If breastfeeding, you can try hand expressing a small amount off first if you have a fast let down or abundant supply. You can also try a side-lying or reclined position while breastfeeding.

  2. Offer paced feedings. With the bottle, this looks like holding infant in an elevated side-lying position with the bottle showing horizontal milk flow. Slowly offer the baby few sucks, then tip or remove the bottle after a few sucks to allow them a breath. You can pace at the breast by offering a few sucks and removing breast to allow for frequent breaths. Give frequent breaks as needed!

  3. Skin to skin can be very comforting for baby while they are sick. Skin to skin allows you to watch them closely and read their cues. Skin to skin is also beneficial for maintaining your supply!

We are always here to help if you are struggling to feed your little one. At Little Ones, Infant and Pediatric Therapy, we offer individualized feeding assessments for your bottle or breastfed infant. We can also offer counsel regarding your lactation concerns. We are conveniently located in Lubbock, TX. We offer pediatric speech/language therapy and feeding therapy for your birth to school age child. Whether you're struggling with feeding your infant or toddler, we're here to help. If you are concerned with your child's speech/language development, we can help in that area as well. Owner, Kelli Barnes, is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Lactation Counselor. Feel free to also give us a call if you want to know if your child would benefit from our services. If not, we can help direct you to the appropriate provider. Teletherapy services also available if you are not local to Lubbock, Texas. It's never too early to seek intervention!


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