Making the choice to bottle feed your baby is a difficult one. Sometimes a woman who intends to breast feed finds out it is not for her. If you decide that breast-feeding is not the right choice for you and your baby then you need the correct information about how to bottle-feed.
If you are able to express your own breast milk using a breast pump, for at least a while after your baby is born, it is a good idea to do so. Breast milk has antibodies in it that pass from the mother to the baby and helps protect him against illness and allergies. If you have trouble expressing milk and need to feed your baby a mixture of breast milk and formula put them in two separate bottles and always give your breast milk to the baby first so that none of it is wasted.
Choosing a formula
Cow’s milk is no longer considered appropriate food for human babies under a year old. It contains too little sugar and the wrong kind of fat and is hard for babies to digest. Similarly, goat’s milk should not be used until the baby is one.
Formula-fed babies do thrive and you can be reassured that most infant formulas are designed to be as close to human breast milk as possible. Whey based formula is the most like breast milk with similar levels of minerals and protein and is best for newborns. Most formulas are fortified with all the necessary vitamins your baby needs for at least the first eight months including iron and vitamin C.
Cows’ milk-based formulas are considered to be the best unless your doctor has said that your baby has a cows’ milk allergy. Milk allergies in babies are fairly rare; such babies get major skin rashes and become ill when they drink cow’s milk.
Health professionals may be reluctant to recommend a particular brand of formula. It is best to use a well-known and recognized brand. If you have any friends or family who bottle-feeds try asking them. Using the same brand of formula as friends and family mean that you can borrow from each other and entertain each other’s babies. Always have a spare tin of formula in the house in case you run out and the shop is closed.
You will need 5 bottles, and nipples, a bottlebrush a container and sterilizing fluid, or a microwave sterilizer or a pot for boiling the babies bottles if money is tight
Buy full-sized bottles you will need them in the long run
The most important thing when buying teats is to make sure that the flow is right A newborn baby will splutter and gag if given a nipple with a fast flow, while an older baby will become very frustrated by a slow nipple. Nipples are divided into three categories slow, medium, and fast. You can check by turning the bottle upside down and giving it a few shakes if milk pours or squirts out it’s flowing too quickly. Sometimes if your baby is crying when you give him or her the bottle, you may need to test that the nipple is not clogged. You can unclog the hole in the nipple or make the nipple bigger buy piercing it with a hot sterilized needle.
Sterilizing is of the utmost importance. It is best to sterilize your baby’s bottles until she or he is at least six months old. New babies have little defense against germs. It takes time for immunity to build. A bottle full of milk that has been left sitting out in a warm room will quickly breed more bacteria than a newborn can handle.
To prepare bottles and nipples, you must first wash them in hot soapy water and scrub the inside of the bottle with a bottlebrush. Nipples must be washed inside and out with detergent. Then rinse them off thoroughly. You have three choices of sterilization. The cheapest way is to throw the bottles and nipples in a big pot and boil them. Another way is to soak them in an antibacterial solution carefully following the instructions on the packet. The third way is to buy a microwave bottle sterilizer. These are very handy and easy to use.
Sterilized bottles can be stored in the fridge, the chemical solution, or the microwave sterilizer. As the baby gets older sterilization becomes less important. Don’t mix up baby cereals in your bottles. Save them for milk and water only. For the first four months, your baby doesn’t really need anything other than properly prepared formula (or breast milk) unless your health professional tells you otherwise.
Preparing the formula
You will need to use boiled water to make up the formula. Before you go to bed at night fill the kettle up to maximum volume with water and boil it. Train all the members of your family to fill up the kettle and boil it whenever they see it empty so that you always have boiled water on hand. Read the instructions on the formula can carefully and do exactly what it says.
Too little formula can leave your baby hungry, too much can cause dehydration in your baby because of salt overload, it can also lead to obesity. Measure the formula out carefully. Don’t compress the powder in the scoop. Scrape excess powder off the scoop level with a knife. There is no need to add anything to a well known and approved infant formula and in fact, it is best not to. Don’t worry too much though. If your baby is gaining weight and is happy then you must be feeding him or her correctly. Once you have prepared the bottle shake it thoroughly.
It is not actually necessary to heat the baby’s bottle as long as it is room temperature. Many health professionals suggest that you should heat the baby’s bottle in hot water in a container rather than a microwave because the microwave heats the milk unevenly. However many women choose the convenience of a microwave anyway. If you do choose to microwave your baby’s bottle do not heat it up too much.
Take the lid off the bottle first. I left the cap on the bottle once and my microwave blew up! Give the bottle a vigorous shaking afterward to ensure no area of the bottle is too hot. Test the milk on the inside of your wrist to make sure the temperature is Ok.
Feeding the baby
Cuddles and comfort are as important for your baby as feeding is. Don’t let anyone tell you that your bottle-fed baby won’t bond with you. There is no reason why bottle-feeding can’t be a warm and loving experience. If it’s summer you can let your baby feel your bare skin. Make sure that you are comfortable. Feeding your baby in an awkward position will only compound the aches and pains most new mothers feel.
Never feed your baby while he or she is lying down. The milk can go up the tiny tubes and into the baby’s ears causing ear infections. Cradling your baby in your arms is the easiest position. Don’t prop the bottle and leave a young baby to feed itself; it is dangerous.
To protect your clothes and your baby’s clothes, remember to put a bib on the baby. Younger babies need to be burped two or three times during each feed. They find it hard to burp naturally on their own. If your baby is crying, screaming, and squirming during a feed he or she probably needs to be winded. Sit your baby up (making sure to support the head if he or she is a newborn.) Rub baby’s back gently in round circular movements until he burps. This may take a while.
Wind usually becomes less of a problem as a baby gets older. When your baby has finished his bottle tip any leftover milk out. Bacteria from your baby’s mouth can be introduced into the milk and multiply quickly. If your baby is a newborn (under 3 months) tip the milk out within twenty minutes after the feed.
Traveling with Baby
When traveling with baby don’t carry around warm bottles, as they are a breeding ground for bacteria. Take bottles out of the fridge and put in an insulated bottle carrier. When you have a newborn never go out without a bottle with you. Heat your bottle up at your destination. Never give a baby a bottle of milk that is below room temperature.
Once you have made your choice to bottle-feed don’t let other people make you feel guilty. It is your baby, your body, and your choice.