Breastfeeding is extremely important for newborn babies. It is recommended by doctors to exclusively breastfeed infant for the first six months of life. Sometimes, however, a mother can’t breastfeed due to some undesirable conditions. For some, bottle feeding is necessary.
But bottle feeding also has its advantages; for instance, you can monitor the exact amount of milk the baby is taking in. Other members of the family can also experience the joy of creating a special bond with the baby by feeding her, and giving more time for mum to work or rest.
What Is Meant by Bottle Feeding?
Bottle feeding is feeding babies using either a bottle or a cup. The milk is fed to the baby in this device, and then the baby drinks it. This feeding method is often used when you cannot physically breastfeed your child.
Bottle feeding can be done with formula or breast milk, depending on your preference. You can also use a combination of both if you so choose.
Bottle feeding is done using either a bottle with a nipple on it or a cup with handles that are designed to hold up against gravity while still allowing the baby to drink easily from them.
What Are the Advantages of Bottle Feeding?
Bottle feeding is one of the best ways to feed your baby, but knowing if you’re doing it right can be hard. Here are some of the advantages of bottle feeding:
- You can control how much food your baby eats. This can be especially helpful when weaning your child off breastfeeding and onto formula.
- You can ensure your baby gets exactly what they need by adding vitamins or supplements not provided by breast milk or formula.
- Bottle feeding is easy to do on the go, which is a huge benefit for working mums who need to pump while away from their babies.
Bottle feeding has a lot of benefits—for both mom and baby!
What Are the Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding?
Many parents believe bottle feeding is the best way to feed a baby. This may be true in some cases, but there are also disadvantages to bottle feeding.
One disadvantage of bottle feeding is that it can lead to colic. Colic is an infant who cries inconsolably for hours and has no other symptoms.
There are several possible reasons for this, one of which is that formula-fed babies have higher levels of air in their intestines than breastfed babies. As a result, their digestive systems can become irritated by this air, causing them to cry more frequently and intensely than breastfed babies might.
Another possible disadvantage of bottle feeding is that it can lead to a baby developing tooth cavities later in life if given too much sugar-containing formula or water during their first year.
Image Source: iStock
Is Milk Bottle Safe for Baby?
Baby bottles are undoubtedly the most popular baby feeding accessories; there is a good reason for that. They are convenient, easy to use and carry around, and help babies transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. However, with all these benefits come some risks as well.
Is It Okay to Bottle Feed a Newborn?
The answer is yes, but it depends. If you have a newborn who is not breastfeeding, then it’s definitely safe to bottle-feed them. However, suppose your baby is exclusively breastfed and hasn’t received any formula in the past few days. In that case, it’s best to talk to your paediatrician about whether or not you should start supplementing with formula at this point.
In addition, if you plan to breastfeed your baby, bottle feeding before they are 6 weeks old is not recommended, as it may create nipple confusion and interfere with the baby’s latch.
What Is the Best Bottle Feeding Position?
The best bottle-feeding position depends on the baby.
If your baby is eating from a bottle, you may be wondering: how should I hold my baby? This is a great question! There are many ways to hold your baby while you feed them without making them uncomfortable or squished. You can also try different positions and see what works best for your little one.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying out different positions:
- Be sure the baby is comfortable. They should be able to sit up straight in the position that you choose, and they shouldn’t have their head turned too far one way or the other (for example, if they’re having trouble breathing).
- Make sure that you have enough space around you so that there isn’t anything within reach of your little one that could cause potential harm if they reach out and grab it (such as toys or other objects).
- If possible, try to find a quiet area with no distractions (such as television noise) or people who might distract both yourself and your child from focusing on feeding time together!
Image Source: iStock
What Is Paced Bottle Feeding Formula?
Paced bottle feeding formula is a feeding method that mimics the way you would breastfeed your baby. It’s especially helpful for babies who are transitioning from breast milk to formula and for babies who have trouble eating too quickly.
The idea is that you’ll feed your baby at a pace that’s comfortable for him and you, which allows him to get used to taking in food at a slower rate. You can use paced bottle feeding formula if your baby has any of the following symptoms:
- fussiness during or after feedings
- gagging on milk or formula
- frequent spitting up
- reflux (when milk comes back up into your baby’s throat)
Helpful Tips for Bottle Feeding Your Baby
For healthy bottle feeding, proper care has to be taken to maintain the hygiene of bottles. Leftover milk in bottles if not cleaned may become a reason for a baby’s illness. Follow some very easy techniques for cleaning bottles.
Here are some helpful tips for bottle-feeding your baby.
1. Use BPA-free plastic bottles.
Always use BPA-free milk bottles. BPA-free bottles are made up of high-quality food-grade plastic. These bottles are more expensive than normal bottles but they are durable too. BPA-free milk bottles can be sterilised easily, as it is very necessary to maintain the hygiene of bottles.
There is a number of good quality BPA-free bottles available in the market. Choose wisely and continue with only one brand of milk bottle as it is easy to mix and match bottle parts.
2. Check the number and size of bottles.
If you’re bottle-feeding a newborn, you can start with small 4-ounce bottles. Once your baby is around three to four months old, you can switch to 8-ounce bottles.
As the baby grows, the number of bottles and size of bottles should be increased depending on the required amount for the baby. Use bigger size bottles after the baby grows as they need more milk per feed.
Always keep a few spare bottles – ideally, at least half a dozen baby bottles are necessary. It is easy to avail a clean bottle when there are many bottles for baby. Sometimes, it’s not possible to clean the bottle as soon as it’s used. So when the baby needs to be fed, a clean bottle can be used if many bottles are available.
3. Remember to clean and wash the bottles thoroughly.
Dirty bottles or spoiled milk in them may lead the baby to have an infection or illness because of the bacteria. Washing as well as sterilising bottles after every use is necessary. Use a bottle-washing brush to clean unreachable areas of bottles and a teat-cleaning brush for washing teats.
Use a bottle-cleaning liquid soap for washing bottles. After washing, keep the bottles upside-down position for drying. Bottle stands are helpful for bottle drying.
4. Learn when to sterilise baby’s bottle.
Sterilising bottles is necessary to kill bacteria in bottles if any. There are a variety of sterilisers available which can be used to sterilise many bottles simultaneously. You can also do the traditional way of sterilising — boiling water. Keep bottles in hot boiling water for 10 minutes and cover the hot water pot.
Dry the baby bottles by keeping on a bottle stand or keeping them in an upside-down position. Always use a sterilised, clean bottle when feeding your baby.
5. Check the nipples and teats for wear and tear.
Use proper teats/nipples. Different nipples are available according to your baby’s age. For a newborn baby, use a very slow flow one, for a 3-month-old, two whole teats, for 6 months old up to 1-year-old, use fast flow teats. Using the proper nipple helps to avoid choking as it controls milk flow. Baby can drink milk comfortably using the appropriate nipple.
Always use the bottle cap to cover its nipples when not in use to protect it from exposure to dust, flies, mosquitoes or any other harmful things. Check bottles and their nipples often for cracks if any and replace them in case of cracks.
6. Know what to do with leftover milk.
Discard leftover milk (fresh milk, formula milk, breast milk ) from the bottle to avoid feeding spoiled milk. Milk gets spoiled easily inside closed bottles. Never refrigerate or reuse leftover milk for the next feeding. Also, don’t reheat formula milk when it gets cold. Make another feeding with fresh powder and feed the baby.
7. Decide between formula milk and fresh milk
Baby bottle and milk powder on dark grey table
Use formula milk or fresh milk as prescribed by your child’s paediatrician. There are many different brands of formula milk available in the market. Use formula milk as per the baby’s age. Use and follow all instructions mentioned on the formula milk pack. If giving fresh milk then make sure fresh milk is boiled and cooled before feeding it to the baby.
8. Always check the temperature of the milk before giving it to your baby.
Always check the temperature of milk before feeding it to the baby. Never give milk without checking its temperature. To check the temperature, drop some milk droplets on your wrist. Feed milk to the baby only when its lukewarm and not very hot or cold.
Baby Squirms and Cries While Bottle Feeding
You’re trying to feed your baby, but they’re squirming and crying. You don’t know what’s wrong—they were fine just a few minutes ago.
This is a common problem with bottle-feeding babies. It can be frustrating, especially if you’re doing your best to make sure they’re comfortable and happy while they eat.
The first thing to remember is that babies are still learning how to eat. They’ll start out by sucking on the nipple of the bottle, then will learn how to push it around in their mouths as they suckle. Then, as they get older, they’ll start chewing on the nipple instead of just sucking on it. This can be messy for parents who are trying to keep up with their baby’s needs!
But there are ways you can help your baby adjust to this new type of eating experience. One way is by giving them a variety of different kinds of nipples. Some are softer than others so that they can easily move them around in their mouth. As your child gets more comfortable with the bottle, they will feed without any problems.
However, it won’t hurt to check the temperature and taste of the milk and even the nipple teats to see what could be causing your child’s discomfort. You may also ask your paediatrician to recommend a different formula milk brand for your baby to see if her response will be better.
Baby Choking on Milk While Bottle Feeding
Every parent has their own way of bottle feeding their baby, and the following tips are just recommendations.
If you find that your baby is choking when taking a bottle, you may want to try these tips:
- Try changing how much milk you’re giving them at once. If they’re choking on the amount they’re taking in, then maybe you’re giving them too much at once. Try giving them less at first and working up to more. Also, try taking away some of the air bubbles in the bottle before feeding them – this will make it easier for them to swallow!
- Try different positions for feeding your baby. If you’ve been holding your baby upright while feeding, try laying them down or having them sit up instead. This will help prevent them from gulping down too much milk too fast and choking on it!
Bottle-feeding is an essential part of your baby’s nutrition, especially during the first few months of life (if you’re not breastfeeding). So if you have any concerns about bottle-feeding your baby, do not hesitate to consult your child’s paediatrician.
Image Source: Shutterstock
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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