If you want to start bottle feeding your baby, there are a few things you need be aware of before milk preparation.
Deciding to bottle feed your little one can stem from a lot of reasons; sometimes it’s because your baby just simply refuses to take the boob, maybe it’s time to head back to work and you’ve started expressing, or maybe dad wants to get involved in some of the feeds. Regardless the reason, the Philips Mother and Child Division knows that every mom needs help to get through this process:
Easy guide to preparing bottle feeds
1. Always clean and sterilise all bottle-feeding parts before each use.
2. Wash your hands thoroughly and make sure your surfaces are clean before handling the sterilised equipment
3. Don’t use abrasive cleaning agents or antibacterial cleaners when you’re cleaning bottles and teats.
4. It’s important to get a teat with the right-sized hole for your baby. You can choose slow, medium or fast-flow teats.
- A newborn baby will normally need a soft, slow-flow teat.
- If your baby seems to take a long time to finish a bottle or gives up in the middle, the hole may be too small. Try changing to a medium-flow teat.
- If your baby is spluttering as they feed, the hole in the teat may be too big.
- You may also like to try variable-flow teats that can give slow, medium or fast flow using just the one teat.
5. To inspect the teat, pull it in each direction to make sure it’s not blocked and the air flow is not restricted.
6. Don’t warm milk in a microwave, as this may cause uneven heating and could scald your baby. Rather use a bottle warmer.
7. Always check the milk temperature before feeding by squirting it onto the inside of your arm.
8. Make sure that the bottles are not over-tightened.
The rest is up to you but, as with breastfeeding, there are certain positions that will suit your baby better when they move on to bottle feeding. Hold your baby close to you on your lap in a semi-upright position so you can make eye contact. If necessary, put a pillow on your lap to raise your baby up.
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Some additional tips include:
- Your baby will enjoy feeding from the bottle more if you smile and chat.
- Tilt the bottle so that the neck and teat fill up with milk, before you carefully place the teat in their mouth. This avoids swallowing any air bubbles, which could cause gas.
- If your baby seems unsettled during the feed, the cause may be wind. Try gently rubbing their back to encourage burping.
- Try to get into the habit of burping about halfway through the feed and after feeding, as this can help to prevent spitting up.
- As with breastfeeding, alternate your hold positions from side to side to help your baby’s eyes and neck to develop more equally. Try alternating halfway through the bottle after burping your baby. By doing this from the very start, your baby is less likely to choose a preferred side.
There is no right or wrong way of bottle feeding. Do what works for you and baby and enjoy this new journey together.
Source: Philips Mother and Child Division. Image: Shutterstock