How to bottle feed
The benefits of bottle-feeding
If you do decide to bottle feed, there are some benefits too.
- Freedom (hooray!). Anyone can feed your baby. That means you get more space and time to yourself (and more sleep). Happy mum equals happy baby.
- If you need to go back to work before your baby is 6 months, and aren’t comfortable expressing milk for all the feeds, bottle feeding is the best option.
- You know exactly how much milk your baby is consuming each day.
- Bottle fed babies may sleep for longer between feeds.
How to bottle feed
Because the immune system of a baby is not as developed as an adults they are open to picking up all kinds of infection and bacteria. This is why, when bottle feeding a new born baby, hygiene is very important. Hands must be thoroughly washed, surfaces cleaned and all parts of the bottle sterilized. You can use a shop bought steam sterilizer or sterilizing tablets (following the instructions closely) or simply boil the parts for 10 minutes in a saucepan.
- To kill any bacteria in the milk powder, milk should be made up of boiled water that has been left to cool for no more than 30 minutes.
- Follow the instructions on the formula packaging closely. It will tell you the ratio of milk powder to water, plus the quantity your baby needs in relation to its age.
- Make sure the milk is cool enough for your baby. It should be body temperature or less. Test it on your wrist: it should be the same temperature or cooler.
- Clean all equipment carefully after use. Bottles can be put in a dishwasher on a 70 degree plus cycle but teats should be washed in hot soapy water by hand.
- The above hygiene points should also be followed if you’re expressing milk, or giving mixed breast and formula feeding.
- When feeding your baby with a bottle, to help stop them from swallowing too much air (and therefore getting painful trapped wind and colic), hold the bottle vertically, and make sure the whole teat is full of milk.
- Never leave your baby alone with a bottle and always throw away milk that hasn’t been used after two hours.