Every parent who wants to bottle feed their baby must go through the bottle feeding basics and must know these super helpful tips I wish I knew from the beginning. Whether you formula feed your baby or previously pumped and stored breastmilk you must know which bottle is good to use and more importantly safe for your baby. What are the best techniques to use when it comes to bottle cleaning and sterilizing etc. Don’t worry you will find all the details you need here!!
Which bottle should you use for bottle feeding?
Glass or Steel bottles are best to use for bottle feeding your baby. Glass or steel bottle is safest to use because plastic bottles may release a lot of chemicals if not used properly. The only downside to using glass bottles is they are a little heavy to hold and should be carefully taken care of. You find a wide variety of options available in the market or online to suit your requirement the best.
If you are using plastic bottles please go for the BPA free ones. “Philips Avent” series is used worldwide. Also follow proper cleaning instructions while using plastic bottle.
Shape of the teat
It is best to choose teats which are similar to breasts. This can avoid conditions like “Nipple confusion” which many babies who are both breastfed and bottle fed tend to face. It should be wide, soft and long enough to encourage the proper suction. This helps the babies to go back and forth between breast and bottle feeding comfortably. This will help in proper palate formation. The suction that the baby uses to get milk helps strengthen the gums and jaws. It also helps in minimizing the teething troubles in future.
When a baby drinks from bottle there are chances of the baby intaking air trapped in the bottle. Consequently this can cause colic and other gas troubles. Hence choose a bottle which has proper venting so the air trapped is released while the baby is drinking.
When choosing the teat for the bottle, please select the one that has a slow flow or a baby guided flow. This is because the baby has to suck properly to get the milk from breast. It is an exercise for babies which is good for palate formation. Thus making it a hard work for them, whereas bottles with heavy flow of milk into baby’s mouth makes it much easier.
Some babies lose the desire to suck milk from breast if they like the easy flow of bottle. Some babies might lose interest in breastfeeding and start preferring bottle because it’s just too easy for them. My little one was one of them. So if you plan on Breastfeeding and bottle feeding the baby please choose the bottle with the slow flow or the one that matches the rhythm of breastfeeding.
Click here to know more about why you should keep continuing breastfeeding while supplementing with bottle.
Bottle feed schedule: How often should you bottle feed your baby?
The newborn babies should be fed every three or four hours according to a few pediatricians. But some babies love to sleep a lot ( mine too), consequently sleeping for around 5 to 6 hours between feedings. Some babies need more milk whereas some need less. Let the baby guide you. Baby will show the signs of hunger like sucking, looking for breast etc. Do not worry if your baby does not finish the bottle if he/she is gaining weight properly.
Do I need to sterilize the bottles?
When you buy a new bottle make sure you separate the ring, the teat and the bottle and sterilize it in a pot of hot boiling water for 10 minutes. After that clean the bottle with a cleaning solution meant for baby products. After cleaning sterilize the bottles in a specially designed sterilizers for baby bottles and feeding supplies.
You need to sterilize the bottle before every feed for the first year. Please note that do not boil the plastic bottles in hot water or heat them in microwaves as plastic bottles release chemicals when heated. The harmful chemicals might mix with a baby’s formula or breastmilk.
After the feeding throw away the remaining formula. You should rinse the bottle with warm water. Also clean the bottle with the cleaning solution twice a day. This will help in avoiding any bacterial growth.
After sterilizing the bottles you can let it air dry on a paper sheet, a clean towel or a bottle drying rack whichever is easily available.
Warming the bottle before you feed:
If your baby prefers warm milk you might need to heat the bottle. Keep the bottle in a bowl of warm water or run it under a hot water tap. You can also use bottle warmer designed specifically for this purpose. You are very lucky if your baby prefers room temperature milk. Then there will be no hassle of heating the milk.
In case of formula feeding you can heat water and store it in a flask. Use this warm water to make the formula.
Do not heat the bottle in a microwave as it can create hotspots i.e it can unevenly heat the milk sometimes causing burns in the baby’s mouth.
How to bottle feed your baby?
Best position to feed your baby in:
The best position for bottle feeding your baby is by holding her at a 45 degree angle. Make sure she is comfortable. The bottle teat should be full with milk to avoid air bubbles. To make her and yourself more comfortable you can buy a feeding cushion. So both of you can enjoy the bottle feeding.
Look for the signs that baby is full. Your baby might start moving her head around if she is full. Overfeeding your baby might lead to spit up or vomiting which is not good.
Burp after every feed to release the trapped air.
You should burp your baby after every feed. This helps release the air trapped inside. You can also burp the baby in between feeds if it is goes on for too long. Burping your baby frequently after and during the feeds can also help reduce the gas and colic problems.
Now that you know the basics of bottle feeding. Let me give you some easy and experienced tips which will make bottle feeding fluent and fun for both of you.
Tips for bottle feeding:
Find a comfortable spot for you and your baby:
Find a spot around the house which your baby loves. My little one loved looking at the floral print curtain in the room or at the black and white flashcards I had made for him. So they will enjoy the feeding. Now make yourself comfortable too by propping up with the right cushion for your back. A water bottle or snack around for you.
Take help from people around the house with bottle feedings
Moms you need all the rest you can get at least in the beginning few weeks. So you can hand over this responsibility of feeding to the daddy or in laws. Don’t worry baby will not lose any touch with you if you do this. There is in fact chances of the baby getting to know the other people more so you can rest without any worry. If you are a new mom or a second time mom you must check out our “Top 20 proven tips for new moms“.
If your baby is allergic to a particular formula
Make sure your baby is not allergic to the formula you are giving him. If he is, please consult his pediatrician and change the formula according to his needs. Click on the link to know more about perks of Formula feeding !!
Talk to the baby
Talk to your baby when you are feeding him/her. This is the best time for you to bond with your baby. You can sing to her/him. You need not talk about anything really important. Just talk about weather, explain the sounds of the surrounding or tell him/her a story. Talking to your baby at any chance you get is really important for their brain development. All this will help them in future. It will contribute in their development.
Tips for night time feedings:
- Boil some water and keep the hot water ready in a flask.
- Clean the bottle, sterilize it and keep it ready to use.
- The bottle warmer should be nearby ready to use or keep a bowl of water to be heated in microwave ready to warm the bottle.
- Keep the powdered formula or ready to use formula handy.
You won’t even be able to keep your eyes open and the baby won’t stop crying until you feed him. Trust me you need to be prepared for the nights!!!
Hope all this information helped you get a hang of how to start with bottle feedings. If you have any doubts or want to add any tips for bottle feeding, please comment below.
Thank you!! Happy Feeding!!