Using a Playtex Nurser Bottle…the kind with the drop-ins….is the bottle to use when feeding your baby with Down syndrome.. It is important to note that when feeding your little one….you also have to be sure to adhere to the following:
1. Baby should be fed in more of an upright position with chin down…..chin should be lower than the ears. Most of us…..when feeding our little ones….feed her in more of a cradled position….with her head tilted back…..in this position her chin is higher up than her ears. We do not want that position…..be sure that your little one’s head has her chin down….ears should be higher up than chin.
2. Slow to medium flow nipple….not the fast flow. Now….if your little one has some cardiac concerns…the slow flow nipple may be too difficult for her…in the sense that she may take a longer period of time to drink the bottle…because the nipple is slow flow. My experience has been that when a little one has cardiac concerns….and she is using a slow flow nipple….she really is working extra hard to drink the formula or breast milk….and if it is too difficult for her…and she is working too hard….she may be burning more calories than she is getting. So be sure to consult with your speech and language pathologist and your little one’s pediatrician with regard to the type of nipple.
The fast flow nipples….are just too fast….and the muscles in your little one’s mouth are not getting enough of a “work out”. We want to strengthen the muscles of the cheeks, lips and the tongue….and encourage tongue retraction.
3. Using the Playtex Nurser….in the chin down position: The first step is to remove all of the air from the bottle and nipple…..and next present the bottle to your little one. The correct presentation: the bottle should be in a downward position…by this I mean that the bottom of the bottle is down…and the bottom of the bottle is lower than the top of the bottle ( a downward angle). Typically when we feed babies…the baby is in that cradled position…with head back…and the bottom of the bottle is higher up in the air…so the bottle is angled up. I want the bottle angled down.
4.You may initially need to push some of the formula or breast milk into your little one’s mouth…so she understands that she needs to really suck in order to obtain the liquid.
When feeding your little one with Down Syndrome…with this bottle and in the above position…you are forcing her to use tongue retraction in order to suck the liquid out of the bottle. When drinking a bottle the typical way….the tongue protrudes during sucking. If we feed your baby in the above position with the Playtex Nurser she will use tongue retraction….as well as strengthening the muscles of the lips, cheeks and tongue. It may take her a little bit of practice…but she will get it!
HONEY BEAR SIPPY CUP
When your little one is ready for a sippy cup…..DO NOT use the sippy cups that have the inserts…these promote tongue protrusion. I love the Honey Bear Sippy cup….which you can find on the above web-site. Your little one will have to retract her tongue just as she did with the Playtex Nurser. The Honey Bear Sippy cup is great for all kids…not just kids with Down Syndrome…..so be sure to try this with your little one. I have had little ones at four…five and six month of age (with Down Syndrome)…using the Honey Bear.
If you have any questions please be sure to post a question.