If you are thinking about bottle-feeding your baby, there are a number of key ideas to keep in mind. Bottle-feeding can be easier for women who are working and can be easier to manage out in the public if you are shy of breastfeeding. Moreover, it can be a very good way to let the baby bond with its father as the responsibility can be shared evenly. It can help the father to bond better with the baby as they can really participate in the intimate bond. Moreover, it is often way more socially acceptable to bottle feed your baby, however, if you want to breastfeed your child in the public, more power to you!
If you want to bottle-feed your baby, here are a few tips to help you with the process.
One of the things that you need to understand is that you don’t really need to follow a very strict feeding schedule for your child in the first few weeks of birth though patterns will probably be formed within a few months.
To feed your baby, what you need to do is to offer your baby a bottle or your breast every 2-3 hours whenever the baby seems to be hungry. Till the baby reaches a weight of about 10 lb, you will have to feed it 1-3 ounces every feeding.
Do not force feed the baby to eat till it is ready to. Consult a pediatrician to know about your baby’s feeding requirements.
Sterilizing the bottles
Before using any bottle, rings or nipples, you need to sterilize them to ensure that no germs enter your baby’s food. To sterilize your bottle, all you need to do is submerge them in a pot of boiling water and leave them in for 5 minutes and then let them dry on a clean towel. After this process, you can clean your bottles in hot and soapy water or put them in a dishwasher.
However, there are two exceptions to this rule.
- If you are using water from the well, you should try to keep on sterilizing your bottles as the water itself may be contaminated.
- Do not boil plastic bottles. These bottles are made with a bunch of chemicals, including bisphenol A which is released when it is heated up and can end up in your baby’s food and cause the baby harm. If you want to find better quality bottle feeding gear, all you need to do is go to a store for baby products.
Baby food and breast milk
While you can mix up breast milk and baby formula to feed your baby in the same container, you would probably not like to waste the breast milk if you want to supplement it with formula. The better idea is to feed the baby any breast milk that you have produced and then add any baby formula that you need to increase the amount of food.
Warming up a bottle
While there are no very major health benefits of warming breast milk, there are some mothers who do like to warm up the milk first, since babies generally like warmer milk. If you do want to warm up the milk, all you need heat it up in a bowl of warm water (not boiling or hot) or by running it under warm water. Baby bottle warmers can also help to heat it up.
You should never microwave the bottle of breast milk or formula as this can spread the heat unevenly, since it can cause hot pockets and these can burn your baby. Moreover, it often leads to a loss of nutrients in it.
Comfortably feeding your baby
What you need to feed your baby with ease, you would need to observe. If you are hearing too many noisy suckling sounds, while it feeds, there may be too much air. This can be corrected by holding the baby at a 45 deg angle and the bottle can be tilted to fill the nipple and neck completely at all times. Also, don’t prop the bottle as it can lead your baby to choke on it.
After feeding restlessness
If a baby has swallowed air while bottle-feeding and is put to sleep just afterwards, they are likely to be uncomfortable and cry. It is helpful to hold the baby upright against the shoulder or propped up on the lap and gently rub the back to get rid of trapped air however, wind is not too big a problem.
Vomiting after feeding
Some babies can bring up a lot of milk during or just after feeding. Termed as regurgitating, possetting or reflux and you should keep a cloth handy.
If your baby is bringing up too much milk too often or if it is extremely sick, in pain or if you are worried for any reason, you need to talk to a pediatrician to ensure that the baby is not suffering from any major health related issues.
Check for the hole in the bottle or the nipple as if it is too big and give milk too fast, it can lead to sickness.
Sitting the baby up can help your baby to avoid regurgitating. If the baby is vomiting, it may get hungry often. Don’t force feed your baby, some babies like to feed a little multiple times, where others like a lot over less time.
Allergic reactions to baby products
If you are concerned that your baby is having any type of allergic reactions or intolerance to any infant formula, consult a pediatrician as they can help you to get prescription special formula baby food that are called extensively hydrolyzed protein feeds.
Though some formula are labelled as being hypoallergenic, they may still not be suitable for a baby who has a diagnosed allergy to cows’ milk. Talking to your pediatrician before administering any types of hypoallergenic or soy based baby formula, as a baby who is allergic to cow milk can be allergic to soy-based formulas as well.
These are some of the tips that you need to ensure that you bottle-feed your baby with ease and help you with some of the common problems associated with bottle feeding.