Supporting Oral Feeding Skills Through Bottle Selection

Written By: Erin Ross, Lauren Fuhrman


Infants who have feeding difficulties often struggle with coordinating sucking, swallowing, and breathing, and have difficulty eating sufficient quantities for adequate growth. Speech- language pathologists (SLPs) need advanced expertise across a number of areas (e.g., development, medical, swallowing) to work effectively with these young infants, and they use a variety of strategies when treating this population. Therapists working with infants who have feeding difficulties use bottles as a primary therapy tool; how the infant tolerates the flow rate from the bottle/nipple is a major consideration. Caregivers must understand the influence of bottle/nipple flow rates on eating skills, so they can support the emerging oral skill development for these fragile infants, and help parents decide what bottle system to use in their home. Both infant and equipment factors influence bottle/nipple flow rates. This article discusses the influencing factors that need to be considered when determining the optimal flow rate for an individual infant.

Ross E, Fuhrman L. Supporting oral feeding skills through bottle selection. Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 2015;24; 50-57.