When you first start bottle feeding a baby, you may have a lot of questions. For starters, you may wonder how to correctly hold your baby. You may wonder how to dispose of unused formula (hint: visit Sell Formula!) or how to combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding.
Bottle feeding can be a little confusing when you first get started, especially when you first come home with your little baby. Having a new baby can be confusing at the best of times, but thankfully we’re here to help. Here’s how to properly bottle feed a baby so you don’t have to guess.
The first thing that you need to do is prepare the bottle. This starts a while before you are ready to feed, since you will need to sterilize the bottles. This can typically be done in the dishwasher or in a steam sterilizer if you have one. There are also sterilizer bags that you can use for when you are traveling. You usually just need to put these in the microwave to sterilize the bottle – follow the instructions on the product before use.
If you are formula feeding your baby then you will need to prepare the bottle in accordance with the instructions on the formula box. Usually, you will need to boil some water and allow it to cool for a little while. When you have done this, you can then pour the cooled water into the bottle. Then, add the right number of scoops to the bottle – the baby formula box will tell you how much you need. Stir or shake the bottle and you should be good to go.
If the bottle still needs to cool a little bit more, then you can put the prepared bottle of baby formula into a jug of cold water and allow the water to cool down the bottle. You can check the temperature of the bottle by squirting some of the contents onto your wrist. If it feels too hot then it won’t be suitable for your baby. Use your own judgement, but be aware that babies often won’t take bottles that are too hot or too cold. In fact, a bottle that’s too hot may end up burning their mouth.
Next you need to pick a good position. Choose a seating position that will allow you and your baby to both be comfortable – you’re going to be sat in that position for quite some time, after all. You can also use a nursing pillow to support you and your baby while you are feeding.
The most popular position is the cradling position. Support your baby’s head in the crook of your arm and hold the rest of your baby in your other arm. Many babies enjoy this position because it allows for skin to skin contact too.
You can also lean your baby’s body with their back against your stomach and place the bottle in their mouth or you can rest them on your legs.
Next you will need to ensure that you are holding the bottle at the proper angle once you have found the right feeding position. Ensure that the bottle is tilted at a horizontal angle. The Milk in the bottle should fill up the teat and the nipple. If the milk is not filling the teat and nipple then the baby will simply be sucking on air, which can cause gas and may result in a very unhappy baby!
When your baby is very young up until they’re around 5-6 months old, you will also need to burp them periodically throughout the feed. This can help to prevent fussiness due to an increase in gas build up. Take a pause after every few minutes just to pat or rub their back. Do this until they burp, then resume the feeding session.
It’s a good idea to encourage your baby to pace the feed too, rather than forcing them to finish it all in a short duration of time. Follow their signs to see when they need burping or when they need a break from the bottle. If it seems like the baby is no longer interested in the feed, this may be a sign that it’s time to stop. You can also feel free to feed them more if they still seem hungry.
And that’s it! Feeding a baby doesn’t have to be difficult. Use the feeding time to look into your baby’s eyes and bond with them. Pretty soon you’ll be feeding them grown up food!