Bottle feeding is the best way to feed your baby if you are not breastfeeding. Here is everything you need to know about bottle feeding your baby to make it a successful and safe experience:
1. Choose the right bottle: You will need a number of bottles and teats, as well as sterilising equipment. There is no evidence that one type of teat or bottle is better than any other. A simple, easy-toclean bottle is probably best. Make sure your bottles and teats are sterilised.
2. If you are not breastfeeding: first infant formula is a suitable alternative. You do not need to go for the most expensive option. Formula in England has to meet a certain standard which means whatever brand of first milk you choose, your baby will get all the essential nutrients they need.
3. Prepare the formula safely: Always read the instructions on the formula packaging and follow them precisely.
- How to make up baby formula – nhs.uk website.
To reduce the risk of infection, it’s best to make up feeds 1 at a time, as your baby needs them. Perfect Prep machines are not recommended so stick to the manufactures instructions.
4. Clean and sterilize the feeding equipment with every use: Your baby is developing their immune system so keep your baby’s feeding equipment clean and sterile by washing your hands before handling it and sterilising the bottles and teats after each use. This will ensure that you eliminate any bacteria that might harm your baby.
5. Watch for signs of hunger: Crying is usually the last sign of hunger, so look out for early feeding cues, such as rooting, hand-to-mouth movements, and smacking lips.
6. Establish feeding routine and bonding with baby: The early days with your baby are a great time to get to know and love each other. This can be done by keeping your baby close to you, enjoying skin contact and feeding according to these tips. Babies will feel more secure if most feeds are given by parents or main caregivers, especially in the early weeks, as this will really help you bond with each other.
Position your baby correctly: Hold your baby close to you in a semi upright position so you can see their face and reassure them by looking into their eyes and talking to them during the feed. Begin by inviting baby to open their mouth by gently rubbing the teat against their top lip.
Gently insert the teat into baby’s mouth keeping the bottle in a horizontal position (just slightly tipped) to prevent milk from flowing too fast.
Watch your baby and follow the cues for when they need a break; these signs will be different from one baby to the next. They may splay their fingers and toes, spill milk out of their mouth, stop sucking, turn their head away or push the bottle away. Gently remove the teat or bring the bottle downwards to cut off the flow of milk.
7. Burp your baby: Your baby may need short breaks during the feed and may need to burp sometimes. When your baby does not want any more feed, hold them upright and gently rub or pat their back to bring up any wind.
If you’re worried about the bond you’re forming with your baby, speak to your health visitor or contact Oldham’s Early Attachment Service – nhs.uk website
While breast is best and breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding your baby, bottle feeding is an alternative that may work better for you and your circumstances. Establishing babies feeding routine, choosing the right bottle, and preparing formula safely can help make the process a success.
If you have question about bottle feeding, speak to your health visitor or contact the Home-Start HOST infant feeding support – Home Start HOST website