Meet our Baby Expert
Our Baby Expert is Katie Hilton, who has a long career as Midwife, Perinatal Nurse and Health visitor. Katie writes our Baby blog every month and gives advice on feeding babies.
You can ask Katie for her advice about baby feeding options by e-mailing [email protected]
Katie Hilton graduated from Staffordshire University with an RN Dip HE in Adult Nursing. She then went on to gain her BSc Hons Midwifery. Katie has worked as a Midwife across the UK and Canada working in Labour, Delivery, Postpartum and Neonatal Units. Throughout her career, Katie has gained experience in all areas of obstetrics, child and family health. Katie is passionate about supporting women and families with their decisions throughout pregnancy, labour, postnatally and into childhood.
Ask the baby expert
Feeding baby - Breast or bottle?
Breast milk is cheap, always available and contains all the nutritional elements your baby needs. This is why it is recommended by WHO and health authorities to breast feed. Unfortunately, breast feeding is not possible for all women. For many mums, the decision to breast feed or formula feed is based on their comfort level, medical situation, lifestyle or simply a question about when they have to return to work after maternity leave. It is a personal choice and important to do what feels right for your and your baby.
If you can't breastfeed or decide not to, infant formula is a healthy alternative and provide all the nutrients your baby needs to grow and thrive.
There is no need to feel like a bad mum if you do not breast feed. A loving mother and her baby always have a special bond. Feeding, no matter how this is done, is a great part of building and strengthening that special bond.
Pumping or expressing breast milk is a good way to increase milk supply and may be necessary when you have to leave baby with Dad or carer.
Expressed breastmilk can stay up to 3 days in the fridge if cooled immediately after expressing. Defrost breastmilk in the fridge.
When warming breastmilk it is very important not to overheat as high temperatures or staying in hot water for a long time will damage nutrition and antibodies found in breastmilk. You may warm breastmilk in a microwave if you use milkymeter. Using revolutionary microweter technology the use of milkymeter removes the risk of hot spots and overheating which means the important nutritional elements in breastmilk are preserved.
You may also want to use the slower methods such as a water bath. Just be careful the water is not too hot and make sure the bottle does not stay in the hot water for a long time as this may damage nutrients. You of course also have to make sure the water bath does not tip over as this may cause serious burns.
Tips on Bottle feeding
Bottom line about how to give baby bottle:
- Feed baby bottle when baby seems hungry and ready.
- Make sure you are sitting comfortably, pillows by your arms and back so both you and baby are comfortable.
- Hold your baby fairly upright. Support baby's head so it can breathe and swallow comfortably.
- Let the bottle touch baby’s lips so baby feels the teat coming and is motivated to open its mouth.
- Make sure the teat is filled with milk. If it isn’t, you risk baby swollows air and gets a stomach ache.
- Observe how baby is sucking, it should have a good grip with the lips and the jaw should be moving up and down.
- It is quite ok and natural for baby to take a few breaks during the feed. Follow your baby’s lead.
- Make sure you feed baby alternately from right and left side.
How to make a bottle of powdered infant formula
- Wash your hands thoroughly and clean / disinfect the kitchen counter before making the bottle. Clean environment is very important.
- Bottle and teat must be clean and sterilised.
- Use fresh tap water – let the water run a little before putting it in a kettle. Boil at least 1 liter of fresh water.
- Let the water cool in the kettle for 30 minutes to no less than 70 degrees.
- Mix formula and water carefully following the instructions on the packaging. The right mix of powder and water is very important for baby to get the right nutrition. Make sure the spoon you use for measuring is clean. Mix the formula by shaking the bottle until the powder is totally dissolved.
- Let the bottle cool to body temperature. Check milk temperature before feeding to baby.
Advice on bottle warming
Previousy, the advice from health officials has been not to warm bottles in the microwave, due to the risk of overheating and burning baby. These guidelines were introduced before microweter technology was discovered. Using revolutionary microweter technology as applied in milkymeter, milk can be safely warmed in a microwave, removing the risk of hot spots, overheating and burns. Milkymeter alerts you when milk has reached the right temperature so you are able to stop the microwave at the right time before any dangerous hotspots can develop.
Expressed breast milk
As expressed breast milk is kept in the refrigerator, it is an advantage to warm it before serving. With milkymeter, breast milk can safely be warmed in the microwave. Microwaves are not harmful for breast milk. When warming breast milk what is very important is not to overheat as high temperatures and being exposed to high temperature for longer time will damage nutrition and antibodies found in breast milk.
Ready-made formula can be fed directly to a baby at room temperature. However, most babies prefer the milk warmed through. This can be done quickly and safely in the microwave with milkymeter, with the revolutionary microweter technology that enables you to stop warming at the right time without the risk of overheating. You may also use traditional methods such as a water bath or bottle warmer. Remember to always check temperature before serving.
Guidelines for making up bottles of powdered formula varies from country to country. We always advise you to follow the guidelines relevant to your country. In the case of the UK, the NHS advise making each bottle of powdered formula as required. This bottle, if unused can be offered to your baby within one hour of being made. If you need to warm this bottle before offering it to your baby, this can be done in a waterbath, bottlewarmer or in the microwave which is not possible to do safely with the use of milkymeter.
If it is not possible for you to prepare the bottle fresh (e.g. if you are going out, if a carer is making the bottle or during night time), make the bottle following instructions, cool it immediately and store it in the back of the fridge for no more than 12 hours and warm it when you need it. The official advise says 24 hours, we prefer to limit this to 12. It can be safely warmed in microwave using milkymeter, in water bath or bottle heater. Do not let it stay in warm water for more than 15 minutes as bacteria may otherwise develop. Preparing bottles in advance is not recommended if your baby is not prematurely born and is older than two months.