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The valve from the esophagus, or food tube, into the stomach is higher and more to the rear in the body than the valve from the stomach to the small intestine, which lies lower and more forward in the body. As soon as a person starts to eat, the stomach begins churning with waves of contraction and relaxation back and forth to mix the swallowed food with digestive juices. The valves naturally open and close with all this churning. If the baby is fed in an upright position, the air bubble stays at the top of the stomach, and away from the exit valve to the small intestine.
This is a good idea to remember, because once air is through the second valve into the bowel, it has to travel down twelve feet of kinky, crampy little baby guts that do NOT like air bubbles. Everyone has had a bad gas cramp and knows how much it hurts. If you don't want your baby to have many of these, keep her upright for feedings!