8 Helpful Tips on Bottle-feeding Your Baby
Though breast milk is best, some moms can't help but provide formula milk. Here are some 8 helpful tips on bottle feeding your baby.
Breastfeeding is extremely important for newborn babies. It is recommended by doctors to exclusively breastfeed infant for the first six months of life. As breast milk has a super combination of the necessary vitamins, proteins, fats for baby, it cannot be replaced with any other available food. It provides complete nutrition for a baby’s development. Add to that the added benefits of making baby resistant to infections and diseases, and building her immunity as well.
Sometimes, however, a mother can’t breastfeed due to some undesirable conditions. For some, bottle feeding is necessary. There are advantages of bottle feeding also like you can monitor the exact amount of milk baby is taking in. Besides, other members of the family can also experience the joy of creating a special bond with the baby by feeding her. Also as any member can feed baby and mommy may do other work or rest for that time.
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 baby’s illness. Follow some very easy techniques for cleaning bottles.
Here are some helpful tips for bottle feeding your baby.
1. 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 expensive than normal bottles but they are durable too. BPA-free milk bottles can be sterilized 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 milk bottles as it is easy to mix and match bottle parts. Also, it is of comfort for baby.
2. 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 requirement of milk. Use bigger size bottles after baby grows as she/he needs 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 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. Cleaning /washing bottles
Dirty bottles or spoiled milk in it may lead the baby to have infection /illness because of the bacteria. Washing as well as sterilizing bottles after every use is necessary. Use bottle washing brush to clean unreachable area of bottles and teat cleaning brush for washing teats. Use bottle cleaning liquid for washing bottles. After washing, keep bottles upside-down position for drying. Bottle stands are helpful for bottle drying.
Sterilizing bottles is necessary to kill bacteria in bottles if any. For sterilizing, use bottle sterilizers available in the market. There are a variety of sterilizers available which can be used to sterilize many bottles simultaneously. You can also do the traditional way of sterilizing — boiling water. Keep bottles in hot boiling water for 10 minutes and cover the hot water pot. Dry washed bottles by keeping on bottle stand or keeping them in upside-down position. Always use a sterilized, clean bottle when feeding baby.
5. Check teats/nipples of bottles
Use proper teats/nipples. As per baby’s age, different nipples are available. 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 appropriate nipple. Always use 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 its nipples often for cracks if any and change it in case of cracks.
6. 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/re-use leftover milk for next feeding. Also, don’t reheat formula milk if gets cold. Make another feeding with fresh powder and feed the baby.
7. Decide between formula milk and fresh milk
Use formula milk or fresh milk as prescribed by doctor/paediatrician. There are many different brands of formula milk available in the market. Use formula milk as per baby’s age. Use and follow all instructions mentioned on formula milk pack. If giving fresh milk then make sure fresh milk is boiled and cooled before feeding it to the baby.
8. Temperature of milk
Always check the temperature of milk before feeding it to the baby. Never give milk without checking its temperature. For checking temperature drop some milk droplets on the wrist of the hand. Feed milk to the baby only when its lukewarm and not very hot or cold.