Bottle Feeding - The Ultimate Guide For Baby
On this Page:
- About Bottle Feeding
- What Is Infant Formula?
- Getting Formula Or Milk To Flow When Bottle Feeding
- Choosing The Right Baby Feeding Bottles & Other Equipment
- Giving Your Baby The Bottle
- If Baby Doesn’t Finish The Bottle
Are you a new mum or new ‘mum to be’ and feeling confused about bottle feeding and baby feeding bottles? Should you breastfeed or is it OK to bottle feed? Which of the baby feeding bottles out there should you use, glass or plastic? In this article, we’ll give you some useful advice and help to dispel some of the myths.
About Bottle Feeding
All the information there will tell you that breastfeeding is best. While we don’t disagree with this advice, it’s not always possible to exclusively breastfeed. Maybe you have to go back to work, or your baby has to stay longer in the hospital. You may choose to bottle feed your baby with expressed breast milk, which will help keep your milk supply flowing and give your baby the nutritional benefits of breast milk. Or you may choose to bottle feed your baby infant formula, which is the only alternative to breast milk for babies under 1-year-old.
Whichever way you choose to feed your baby, you don’t have to feel guilty about bottle feeding. Bottle-feeding your baby may take a bit of practice but once you know how to bottle-feed, it will be a warm, comfortable and bonding experience for both of you.
What Is Infant Formula?
Most baby or infant formula is made from cow’s milk which is then modified to suit a baby’s needs. But the use of soya milk is also on the increase. Young babies are unable to digest cow’s milk as completely or easily as breastmilk or formula as the protein level in cow’s milk is too high. So some is taken out for infant formula, and vitamins, minerals and some healthy fats are added which are essential for a new baby’s development.
Most formulas are available over the counter and the choice can be quite daunting. The most expensive is not necessarily the best. Infant formulas come in different forms – in single-bottle sachets, in tins of various sizes, as a powder or as a concentrated liquid. Correct preparation and storage are vital for the health and proper development of your child, so follow the preparation instructions carefully. And always consult a doctor before making a decision.
- Cow’s milk based formula – For most healthy full-term babies, cow’s milk-based baby formulas are recommended until 12 months of age.
- Soya based formula – Some babies can’t have dairy-based products because of allergies, intolerances or cultural or religious beliefs. Soya based formula will give your child all the nutrients he or she needs, but talk to a doctor or dietitian beforehand.
Getting Formula Or Milk To Flow When Bottle Feeding
Always test the flow of breastmilk or formula before bottle feeding your baby. To do this you should hold the bottle upside down when it’s filled with liquid at room temperature. The liquid should drip steadily but not pour or gush out. If you have to shake the bottle to see a drip, the flow is too slow.
A little leakage at the corners of baby’s mouth while feeding is nothing to worry about – as they get older this will stop.
If you have trouble finding the perfect teat, go for a faster teat rather than a slow one. It’s normal to have to try a few different teats before you find one that suits you and your baby.
Choosing The Right Baby Feeding Bottles & Other Equipment
Baby Feeding Bottles
With so much choice on the market, how do you choose the right baby feeding bottle? Nowadays we also have the minefield of BPA or BPS free. And just mentioning glass and babies in the same sentence is enough to cause concern for most mums. But today many glass feeding bottles are made from tempered glass, which makes them harder to break and easy to clean. Others offer the option of a complementary silicone sleeve to help give baby a better grip on the bottle and help prevent breaking if dropped. Cherub Baby has a great range of glass baby bottles that come with a silicone sleeve and have a drop-resistant guarantee. It’s best to do some research about what you and your baby really need and will use.
Again with so much choice how do you choose the correct teat? Rubber or silicon, what shape and what flow? The more modern clear silicone teats are more durable and better able to withstand repeated washing, boiling and sterilising than the more traditional rubber teats.
Flow rates are a bit more standard for bottle feeding with ‘slow’ being recommended for 0–3 months, ‘medium’ for 3–6 months and ‘fast’ for over 6 months. As for shape, there is no conclusive proof which is better. Your baby will show his or her own preference. Just remember to regularly check teats for wear and tear, and replace them frequently.
Bottle Brushes & Sterilising Equipment
All feeding items must be thoroughly washed and rinsed before they are sterilised. Bottle brushes are great for cleaning all those hard to reach places.
There are 3 options to sterilise your baby feeding equipment:
- Using a cold water sterilising solution,
- Steam sterilising by using a microwave or a specific electric steaming steriliser,
Whichever method you use, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are using the boiling method NEVER leave boiling pots unattended!
Giving Your Baby The Bottle
First, make yourself and your baby comfortable. Cuddle your baby close to you, holding them gently but firmly and at a slight angle so any air bubbles rise to the top, making burping easier. Place the teat against baby’s lips, they should accept the teat into their mouth and begin to suck. Keep the neck of the bottle at an angle so it stays filled with formula or milk.
It’s a good idea to change the direction your baby is facing after burping, or about halfway through the feed. This helps to stimulate and develop your baby’s senses equally.
If Baby Doesn’t Finish The Bottle
Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t finish his or her bottle. They will decide how hungry they are, the same way you do! As long as they are steadily gaining weight and are happy and healthy they will be getting enough feed.
Any infant formula or breast milk leftover from a feed should be thrown away. Storing half-empty bottles for future use is risky because they get contaminated quickly once they’ve been sucked on.