Hunny Nurseries

Nurseries based in Leicestershire

Prop feeding dangers

By on 4th July 2017


When you prop your baby’s bottle, the milk keeps flowing into the mouth, whether your baby is ready to swallow or not. If your baby gets more milk than they can handle, they can choke and aspirate formula into the lungs. If your baby aspirates a large quantity of formula, it could affect their ability to get air into the lungs and could result in death.


Propping a bottle enables formula to pool in your baby’s mouth, where teeth can rot. A child with bottle-mouth syndrome develops multiple cavities because the sugar in the formula destroys the enamel that protects the tooth from decay. Teeth can turn black, break off and require extensive root canal repair, capping or fillings. Infection can spread to the gums, causing painful abscesses that need surgical drainage.

Ear Infections

Bottle-fed babies have a higher risk of ear infections than breastfed babies. Sucking creates negative pressure within the bottle, which can lead to excessive sucking that causes negative pressure within the ear. When your baby lies down to drink a bottle, the formula that pools in the back of the mouth can enter the ear through the Eustachian tubes, which are shorter, more horizontal and wider in children than adults are. This creates an ideal environment for ear infections. Being held upright makes it less likely that formula will enter the Eustachian tubes


Propping a bottle requires the use of blankets, bottle holders or other soft material, and these pose a suffocation risk to young infants. Don’t place any soft material into a baby’s crib. The material you use to prop the bottle could fall over the baby’s face leading to suffocation.

Emotional Harm

Bottle feeding can be a warm, loving experience which prop feeding does not offer and you will miss an opportunity to bond with your baby.


Over or Underfeeding

Bottle propping poses two nutrition risks: overfeeding and underfeeding. If your baby is too young to push the bottle from their mouth, they have to drink all of it. If the bottle slips out of their mouth they won’t get the nutrition they need.