Top tips for bottle feeding
Use the feeding time to caress, enjoy holding your baby close and let baby feel and smell you. Prioritise the feed as a time where you and baby are together, gets to know each other and enjoy it. Never leave baby alone when feeding from the bottle.
What you wished you knew before starting bottle feeding
You need to prepare for bottle feeding. It requires a number of bottles as the bottle and teat needs to be clean and sterile before every feed. And for some mums it takes a number of different bottles before they find the teat the baby will take. In addition, sterilizing equipment is an advantage but not a requirement as you can sterilize in a pot of boiling water.
Bottle feeding formula may cause constipation with a baby – so make sure you follow the instructions and use the right amount of powder when you are making up the feed. This is very important also in order to give baby the correct nutrition.
It may be easier to get baby to take the bottle if the milk has the right temperature, as body temperature means comfort for baby and is the temperature the milk would have if you were breast feeding.
When you first start with the bottle, it may be a good idea to have a very small hole in the teat, to make sure your baby does not choke on the milk, as milk from a bottle comes out a lot quicker than from a breast. It may be a good idea not to hold baby flat to give it a possibility to turn the head away when it is full. Try different positions to find the one that suits you and your baby the best.
Finally the one thing only your mum might tell you. When baby is more than 2 month old, you do not have to make the bottle fresh every time – if you cool it down immediately after you have made it, and store it in the fridge. This will literally save you hours of sleep as you do not have to make up bottles several times every night but can prepare for the night feeds before bedtime, keep them refridgerated and warm them in the micro when you need them (use milkymeter to measure temperature whilst warming and make sure you do not overheat).
How do I know baby is hungry?
The first signs that your baby is hungry:
- Baby opens and closes the mouth
- When baby licks his/her lips and makes “kissing sounds”
- Sucks fingers, hands, toys, anything 🙂
When you notice these signs, get ready – prepare the bottle, find your chair and a glass of water, maybe change the diaper first, but get ready in order to feed baby when he/she shows active signs of hunger.
Active signs of hunger:
- Baby searches the breast of the one who carries baby and maybe leans backwards
- Baby breathes faster and hits you on the breast or arm
Late signs of hunger:
- Baby moves its head from side to side
- Baby cries
Bottom line about how to give baby bottle:
- Feed baby bottle when baby seems hungry and ready.
- Make sure you are sitting comfortably so feeding time is enjoyable for both you and your baby.
- Do not lay baby flat. It is better for baby to sit more upright in order not to swollow air.
- Try once in a while to let baby sit upright resting against your thighs when getting the bottle (put your feet up and let baby rest against your thighs). This allows you to have eye contact.
- 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 get a stomach ache.
- It is quite ok and natural for baby to take a few breaks during the feed. Follow your baby’s lead.
- When baby has had enough, hold your baby upright and gently rub or pat baby’s back to make them burp. Bringing up air that has been swollowed during the feed will help to avoid stomache pains.
- If baby has not finished the bottle, throw away any unused milk regardless if it is formula or breast milk.
For advise on how to make the baby bottle
The Baby expert’s advise on feeding baby
Read more about how to control temperature when warming bottles in the microwave