Both WHO and UNICEF recommend that newborns be initiated with breastfeeding within the very first hour of birth, and be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. However, breastfeeding can sometimes be challenging for some mothers, and that’s where bottle feeding can be one of the options. Let’s have a look at the right way to bottle feed a baby – step-by-step and in detail, among others.
In this article:
- The Right Way to Bottle Feed a Baby – Step-by-Step
- When to Introduce Bottle Feeding to Your Breastfed Baby?
- How to Make Bottle Feeding Comfortable for Your Baby?
- Three Advantages of Bottle Feeding Your Baby
- Two Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding Your Baby
- Which Feeding Bottle is the Best for Your Baby?
- Six Steps to Sterilise Feeding Bottle for Your Baby
- How Much to Bottle Feed Your Baby?
- How Many Times Should You Bottle Feed Your Baby?
- Three Tips to Combine Breastfeeding and Formula-Feeding for Your Baby
- Can you Store Baby’s Feed in Fridge for Later Use?
- Two Common Problems with Bottle Feeding in Babies
The Right Way to Bottle Feed a Baby – Step-by-Step
Step 1: Use bottles that have a wide base and a slow-flow nipple.
Step 2: Hold your baby in an upright position while you support her neck with your hand.
Step 3: Touch the nipple to her upper lip. This will encourage her to open her mouth.
Step 4: Let her seek for and pull the nipple into her mouth. Do not do it yourself. Remember: Nipple should not be filled with milk when feeding.
Step 5: Hold the bottle horizontally, such that the nipple is partially full. This ensures that the flow of milk is slow and allows her to drink at her own pace.
Step 6: Count your baby’s sucks and swallows. If she doesn’t take a breath every 4 or 5 sucks, remove the bottle and give her some space to breathe.
In relation to Step 3 & 4 above, it is worth mentioning here that incorrect latching is one among the top five reasons for low breast milk supply.
Always Remember: Bottles should never be propped into a baby’s mouth, as it can cause overfeeding or may cause choking.
Caution: Remove the bottle immediately if you see any of these signs: Spills feed out of her mouth, eyes are wide or her nostrils are flaring, arms and legs are stiffening or lips are turning blue.
Observe her closely. Babies swallow air almost always while feeding. You can help her release the air by helping her burp.
If she pulls or bends her legs, is arching backward or pulls away from the bottle, these are signs that she wants to burp.
How to know if she is full? If she is letting go of the nipple, pressing her lips together, hastily turning her head to either side, is not sucking or is falling asleep, these are signs that she is full and is finished with her feeding.
After Feeding: Make sure that left over milk is always discarded after she has finished feeding, as harmful bacteria can develop and infect it in a short time-frame.
When to Introduce Bottle Feeding to Your Breastfed Baby?
Going by most lactation experts, you should wait until breastfeeding is reasonably established in your baby. It is only thereafter should you introduce bottle feeding to her, based on your schedule and her need.
How to Make Bottle Feeding Comfortable for Your Baby?
- Pick the bottle that’s best suited for your baby.
- When supplementing with formula, start with small amounts and increase gradually.
- Now and then, get someone else in the family to feed her, since she needs to get used to be bottle fed by someone else when you’re not available.
3 Advantages of Bottle Feeding Your Baby
- Bottle feeding helps you know exactly how much milk your baby is consuming.
- She doesn’t have to necessarily be fed only by you, as other members of your family can also feed her. This also helps you get some time for yourself when someone else is looking after her.
- As a mother, you don’t have to strictly follow dietary restrictions. This means you can enjoy a little flexibility by having some of your favourite (but healthy and nutritious) foods.
2 Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding Your Baby
- Formula feed generally lack some (not all) nutrients that can promote or even boost brain growth.
- Bottle feeding can be really inconvenient during the night, as so many bottle hygiene related tasks are involved before and after feeding.
Which Feeding Bottle is the Best for Your Baby?
Start with a slow-flow bottle. After a while, once the baby is accustomed to the flow, you can introduce a normal flow bottle.
The best feeding bottles for babies are the ones that are BPA (bisphenol-A) and EA (oestrogenic activity)-Free. Though these two chemicals are generally avoided in products used in babies, it is still important that you make sure that that the bottle is BPA and EA free.
6 Steps to Sterilise Feeding Bottle for Your Baby
The only 2 things you need to sterilise the feeding bottle for your baby is water and a wide deep pot:
Step 1: Fill a wide and deep pot with enough water to cover the freshly washed bottles.
Step 2: Submerge the bottles in water in such a way that there are no air bubbles at the bottom.
Step 3: Heat the water to boiling temperature.
Step 4: Boil the bottles for three to five minutes (or as per guidelines given by the manufacturer).
Step 5: Remove the bottles.
Step 6: Drip the residual water in bottles fully and place them on a clean, dry cloth and allow them to dry.
How Much to Bottle Feed Your Baby?
To start with, your bottle-fed baby will need about 30 to 60 ml milk. After 3 to 5 days, the requirement may increase to about 60 or 90 ml.
How Many Times Should You Bottle Feed Your Baby?
Feed your baby every 3 to 4 hours during the initial stages. After the 4th week, increase her intake to about 120 ml and feed every 3 to 4 hours. Again after a few weeks, increase it gradually to 180 to 240 ml, and feed her 4 to 5 times a day (or as recommended by her doctor), till she becomes 6 months old.
3 Tips to Combine Breastfeeding and Formula-Feeding for Your Baby
Combination feeding is a practice that involves giving babies formula in addition to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and formula-feeding is a good way to ensure that your little one gets the best of both worlds for her nourishment, growth and development.
- Reduce breastfeeding gradually during the daytime and introduce bottle-feeds.
- When you’re home, offer her breast milk and supplement with formula later – only if necessary.
- Avoid mixing breast milk and formula in the same bottle, as the mixture may spoil.
Can you Store Baby’s Feed in Fridge for Later Use?
Unused milk formula can be stored in the refrigerator for only up to 24 hours and not more. Nevertheless, try to use them as soon as possible, say before 18 hours.
As regards the formula kept outside in room temperature, always discard them if they have been kept outside for more than 2 hours.
2 Common Problems with Bottle Feeding in Babies
One: sing unsterilised bottles may sometimes cause diarrhoea or vomiting in babies.
Two: In addition, feeding bottles generally tend to have trapped air, which could make your baby get gassy. That’s why it helps if you learn how to burp a baby properly after feeding, as it can significantly minimize burping.
Having seen the right way to bottle feed a baby step-by-step, if there is one thing that is worth underlining, it is that a combination of both breastfeeding and formula-feeding can ensure that your little one gets the best from both sources of feed for her all-round nourishment, growth and development.
Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.