Bottle Feeding

Bottle feeding will become an important part of your child’s life at some stage in his growth. Whether you choose to bottle feed as soon as he is born, or if you decide to wait until you go back to work, it is a good idea to become familiar with the basics of bottle feeding. As with breastfeeding, bottle feeding is not always as easy as it may look. In fact, it may take several weeks for you and baby to get used to bottle feeding. Here is some of the basic information that you will need to know in order to engage in successful bottle feeding!

Why Bottle Feed?
Though breastfeeding is generally considered the best option for you and baby, breastfeeding can be a very challenging and sometimes impossible, expectation. As a result, many women decide to bottle feed their children, and these children are usually just as healthy and well adjusted as those who were breastfeed from birth. Here are some reasons why you may be considering bottle feeding:

  • Convenience: Bottle feeding is often a much more convenient method of providing your child with adequate nutrition. Because the breast milk or formula is in a bottle, both mom and dad can engage in the feeding process. And caregivers can also participate in feeding, leaving mom and dad free to complete other tasks.
  • Diet: If you choose to bottle feed your child using formula, you do not have to worry as much about your diet. Instead, you can feel free to drink alcohol and can also have more flexibility in your food choices.
  • Work: Many women find it is just too difficult to manage their child’s breastfeeding schedule around work demands. If you are planning on heading back to work after your baby is born, you may choose to bottle feed in order to maintain a feeding schedule without comprising your work obligations.

How Often Should You Bottle Feed?
Every child will have a slightly different schedule when it comes to mealtimes. Depending upon your child’s activity level and appetite, it may take a while to settle into a regular feeding routine. In the first few months, it is usually suggested that parents try to avoid rigid feeding schedules. Instead, offer your baby the bottle every two to three hours, or whenever she seems to be hungry. With time, your baby will begin to fall into a more distinct feeding routine.

How Much Should You Feed Your Baby?
It can often be difficult to know just how much your baby should be fed, in order to ensure that he is getting the proper vitamins and nutrients. Feeding amounts are usually dictated by the weight of your baby. Generally speaking, a baby needs to ingest two ounces of milk or formula for each pound in his weight, per day. This works out to:

  • Newborns: One to two ounces per feeding
  • One to Two Months: Three to four ounces per feeding
  • Two to Six Months: Four to six ounces per feeding
  • Six Months to One Year: Up to eight ounces per feeding

What Should Go in Baby’s Bottle?
Only certain liquids should be put inside of your baby’s bottle. It is entirely safe to feed your baby the following liquids out of a bottle:

  • breast milk
  • formulas
  • water

However, you should never put any sweetened fruit drinks, carbonated beverages, or cereals inside of a bottle. These types of beverages offer your child no nutritional value and cereals and other solids can pose choking hazards. You should also refrain from offering your child any cow’s milk before one year of age. Cow’s milk can irritate your baby’s intestines, causing them to bleed. This can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Cow’s milk should be introduced slowly after you child turns one.

Preparing a Bottle
There are a few important steps to follow each time you prepare a bottle for you child. It is important to follow these steps carefully in order to prevent bottle contamination.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly using warm water and soap.
  • Sterilize all new bottles, nipples, and caps in boiling water for at least five minutes. After they have been sterilized once, you don’t need to sterilize them again. Simply wash all equipment in hot soapy water, using a bottle brush, or pop them in the dishwasher. Allow equipment to air dry on a clean towel.
  • If using formula from a can, wipe the top of the can before opening. If using powdered formula, combine with cold tap water. Allow the tap water to run for a few minutes before collecting it.
  • If you are using well water, sterilize the water by boiling it for at least five minutes. Allow the water to cool before mixing it with the baby formula powder./li>
  • You don’t need to warm baby’s bottle, however, he may prefer it. Place the bottle in a pan of warm water for a few minutes, or run it under warm tap water. Never warm a bottle in the microwave, as this can cause hot pockets to develop, which could burn your baby’s mouth. Always test the temperature of the milk or formula before giving it to your baby.

Bottle Feeding Tips
Bottle feeding can be a wonderful way for you and your partner to bond with your baby. Here are some tips to help your baby feeding go a little more smoothly.

  • Hold your baby closely in your arms. Keep her head higher than the rest of her body. This will prevent formula or milk from backing up into her inner ear, which can cause ear infections.
  • Always tilt the bottle. This will ensure that formula remains in the nipple of the bottle, which will prevent your baby from sucking in too much air.
  • Watch for air bubbles in the bottle or check to see if the bottle liner is collapsing. These are signs that your baby is getting milk out of the bottle.
  • Continue feeding until your baby is full. Signs of fullness may include an absence of sucking, closing of the lips, or spitting out of the nipple.
  • After feeding, don’t be surprised if baby spits up. Infants have very small stomachs, and sometimes can not hold all of the formula that they have ingested.
  • Always burp your baby after feedings. Gently pat his back or hold him, stomach facing down, over your knee while rubbing his back.