Feeding your baby is not only an important process for healthy growth and development but also a way to establish close emotional contact with the baby and build trusting and loving relationships.
The transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding should be carried out after the mother and the baby are fully prepared for this. We are talking about both the moral aspect, and about choosing the right bottle and getting adults the necessary skills so that eating brings only positive emotions and benefits to the baby.
In this article, we will talk more about how to bottle-feed your baby properly and where to start.
How to prepare your baby for bottle feeding
If this way of eating is a completely new experience for a feeding baby, or if parents decide to bottle-feed a baby from a very young age, then slow-paced bottle feeding should be preferred. So, you protect a baby from the possibility of choking while eating.
Over time, you can gradually switch to bottles with nipples, which would provide faster and more intense paced bottle feeding by gradually increasing the nipple size.
The bottle selection and its daily care
Any bottle-feeding babies’ accessories should be kept clean and regularly and thoroughly sterilized.
There are several ways to sterilize dishes:
- select the appropriate mode when using the dishwasher;
- place the baby’s bottle and bottle nipple in a vessel of boiling water for 5 minutes.
Before using this method of cleaning bottles, you should make sure that the material from which it is made can be exposed to high temperatures. Since some types of plastic contain various chemicals in their composition, after sterilization they can become dangerous for their little user. For this reason, experts recommend choosing glass bottles.
The need for thorough cleansing of everything that the baby will touch is due to the fact that in the first months of life, the baby’s immune system is just beginning to strengthen.
Before sterilizing the teat, gently rub it with dishwashing detergent. There are special products for washing bottle-feeding babies’ dishes, without a strong odor and with a safe composition.
How to correctly bottle-feed your baby
Before starting a meal, mom, or dad should wash their hands well with soap and warm running water.
Particular attention should be paid to the area between the fingers and under the nails. The hand-washing process should take at least 20 seconds. And after carrying out this hygienic procedure, hands should be wiped dry with a paper towel or clean towel.
The next step is to prepare the meal.
If you plan to fill the bottle with concentrate formula, then dilute it with water in accordance with the instructions in the instructions. Improper proportions can lead to dehydration or bloating. It is important to remember that for the preparation of the mixture, you need to use only clean drinking water.
Breast milk is the healthiest for a new baby. Despite this, usually, the lactation consultant advises to breastfed babies for as long as possible. Even if the mother is ready to give up breastfeeding, breast milk can be expressed in a bottle and gradually accustom the baby to the nipple.
If for one reason or another, the mother does not have the opportunity to feed herself with breast milk, then the only alternative is paced feeding with a special mixture.
In the early days, about the first six months after birth, you should not include cow or goat milk or its substitute in the form of soy milk in the infant feeding diet. Valid options for supporting the healthy development of a newborn are breast milk, infant formula milk, or powdered infant formula only.
What should be the temperature of the bottle filler?
It is recommended to give the baby a little cool milk or milk brought to room temperature to ensure conditions close to natural breastfeeding.
Never heat the bottle on the stove or in the microwave. When milk completely fills the occasional bottle, and the filling temperature exceeds 98 °F, the baby’s lips and mouth may be burned. It is recommended to use special bottle warmers. If this is not possible, then use the following method:
- put a pan with a small amount of water on the stove;
- bring the water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat;
- place a bottle of milk in a vessel and heat it up to 98 °F;
- check the temperature with a pre-cleaned thermometer or a special device for measuring the temperature of foodstuffs.
You can also check the temperature of a bottle ready for use as follows:
- turn the bottle upside over
- and drip it several times into your wrist area.
In this way, you can check not only the temperature of the milk or mixture but also how well is the milk dripping off the bottle. If you have to shake or squeeze the bottle hard to drip, the nipple is blocked and needs to be cleaned out.
If, on the contrary, the filler pours out when the bottle is turned over, this means that the nipple is damaged and another nipple should be used, having previously sterilized it.
What position should you feed a baby a bottle?
There are several techniques on how to bottle-feed a baby. However, it is feeding a baby lying down at a horizontal angle that young parents consider the most comfortable great position. It is worth noting that eating in a lying position will only be safe when the baby’s head is slightly raised.
Otherwise, the baby may simply choke. In the prone position, place the baby on an arm bent at the elbow. After eating, you should place the baby upright, taking the child in your arms and putting the stomach to your chest.
Make sure that the feeding bottle is closed correctly: the ring should not be too tight at the point where the nipple is attached to the bottle. Air must enter the bottle; otherwise, a vacuum will be created there, which, in turn, will complicate the consumption of food for the baby.
Several comfortable bottle-feeding positions
Whatever feeding position you choose, it is best to always sit on the floor, comfortably leaning back against the wall. Try all the poses to find the best bottle-feeding positions:
This is the most classic bottle-feeding position. The baby sits on one of your thighs, with the back against your other thigh. You can hold the child’s head in the crook of your arm or straight with your arm.
On the side lying
If your baby is spitting up a lot, has gastroesophageal reflux disease, middle ear infections, or has a runny nose that makes the baby sick, it’s best to feed when the baby’s side lying diagonally on the side.
Your baby is side lying on one of your thighs, with its back and head against your other thigh. The child’s ass rests on your stomach. You can change the angle of your child’s body by raising or lowering your knees.
Facing each other
Place your baby on your lap so that the child’s butt is pressed against your stomach. This position ensures the correct position of the head and torso. Remember to keep your baby’s torso straight, don’t let a baby arch his back.
Almost separate from each other
In this position, you should keep the child’s torso in line with the head. This will help bottle-fed babies breathe properly, swallow more effectively, and be less tired during feedings.
If your babies want, let them hold the bottle in their hand, even if they are still very small. At about 7 months, babies begin to feel independent and want to hold the bottle on their own.
However, when giving a baby a bottle, you should still support the bottle with your hand and help with feeding until the child finishes eating. When your baby grows up and sits up, you can feed the child in the high chair and replace the bottle with a non-spill cup or a regular cup with a straw.
How to bottle-feed without spitting up
Since the breastfed baby is not able to fully control the process of feeding, along with milk, the baby can also capture air. This may be the reason that at one meal the baby could not master the planned portion. In view of this, it is recommended to take small breaks during feeding.
As soon as you notice that the breastfed baby has stopped eating, is tired or thoughtful, lift the baby in your arms and press the face to you, holding the head and back. Allowing gravity to help burp excess air, you can make a light massage between the shoulder blades, pat on the back, or pope.
The air will quickly rise up, and the baby will burp air bubbles without any extra effort. However, you should be prepared for the fact that, along with the air, part of the consumed milk or unused formula may also return. Therefore, before taking the baby in your arms, cover yourself with a diaper because it will be easier to wash it than clothes.
In no case should you leave the baby alone with the bottle or let fall asleep while using it. After eating, mom or dad must help their baby burp. This will help to avoid colic, bloating, ear infections, and other manifestations of stomach discomfort.
When should you stop bottle feeding?
When an older baby is healthy, gaining weight properly, and not spitting up too much, you should trust the child and follow the eating habits. Then it is your baby who dictates the number of breaks in feeding, the amount of food eaten, and the frequency of feeding, and you should not be bound by theoretical guidelines.
This requires care and attention from an adult and sometimes the support of a lactation consultant. Watch your baby, if you notice the baby’s cues when you should remove the bottle and pick the baby up to burp; however, when the baby is colic, you should do this several times per feeding.
Do not force the older babies to swallow the portion of milk flow indicated in the feeding chart because when the child is gaining weight properly, it will not hurt if the child sometimes eats less food, and at other times more milk.
Also, you should never try to feed a baby when he is very restless, crying, or screaming because milk can go into the larynx and not into the esophagus, creating the danger of choking!
Calm a baby down when the baby is crying from hunger, first gently touch the baby’s mouth with a pacifier, and put it in the baby’s mouth only when the baby is no longer crying.
Communication with the baby during feeding
Generally speaking, a feeding session is a great time for closeness and tenderness. You can sit with the baby on your thigh, sideways to you, the baby’s back resting on your other thigh, you hug the baby with your other hand and press the child to you.
You can also sit on the floor with your back against the sofa, chair, or wall and with your legs bent. Place your baby close on your lap, facing you, with the baby’s back resting on your legs and the butt against your belly. This is the best position to have eye contact, for a long time and with love.
Regardless of the position, you can always whisper gentle words to a baby or sing, gently stroke, or shake a baby slightly. This is not only very pleasant for both of you, but also gives a sense of security and great love to babies.
It should be remembered here that, unlike breastfeeding, such tender moments during bottle feeding time can be shared with the baby and father or other family members. We would recommend using this opportunity as a great way to strengthen the bond with your babies.
To conclude, during bottle feeding, it is extremely important to ensure the health and safety of babies by preventing choking, ear infections, or possible stomach troubles.
Therefore, you must pay attention to the way you feed, and position while bottle feeding your baby, and make sure you choose the right feeding equipment.
Frequently asked questions:
Is it OK to bottle-feed the baby lying down?
It is not recommended to feed the baby lying down, as this increases the risk of suffocation and ear infections. It is safer to drink in a reclining position with your baby’s head up with a slight incline.
What is the best way to give a baby a bottle?
The safest classic way of feeding is sitting and holding the baby’s head. The baby will feel most secure in your arms and will not choke on too much milk.
Should the baby be upright during feeding?
Yes, an upright position allows babies to breathe calmly and swallow food easily.