If you’re planning to bottlefeed your newborn baby, you’re probably have some questions about sanitizing utensils, formula preparation, feeding positions, and burping techniques, etc. Here are some steps for successfully bottlefeeding your baby.
1. Make sure all bottles, nipples, and other utensils must be clean
Infants are at an increased risk for food poisoning, learning the basics of baby bottle safety is important to keeping your infant protected and healthy.
If the water is chlorinated, clean the utensils in your dishwasher or wash them in hot tap water with dishwashing detergent and then rinse them in hot tap water. If you have well water or nonchlorinated water, either place the utensils in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Use a nipple brush to wash nipples and nipple holes. Squeeze the hot, soapy water through the nipple hole to flush out any trapped milk.
And, don’t forget, before handling baby bottles or feeding your baby, always wash your hands thoroughly.
2. Prepare the Formula
Follow the manufacturer’ instructions and pour the correct amount of water that you need into the bottle. Double check that the water level is correct. Bring the water you plan to use in the formula to a boil for approximately one minute. Then add it to the formula powder.
It is Important to cool the formula so it is not too hot to drink. Do this by holding the bottom half of the bottle under cold running water. Make sure that the water does not touch the cap covering the teat.
Test the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before giving it to baby. It should be body temperature.
3. Place your baby in a feeding position
Hold baby as if you were breastfeeding, with the head resting in your arm and with their face turned toward yours. This position ensures that:
- Your baby’s head will be higher than the rest of the body, which prevents milk from backing up into the eustachian tubes (a common cause of ear infections).
- Your baby will be able to feel your closeness, which is comforting. It’s even better if you can provide skin-to-skin contact.
- Your baby can look at you while sucking on the bottle, which has been proven to enhance positive emotional development.
4. Take note of your baby’s intake
The pediatrician will probably ask you how much your baby’s intake, so be prepared to answer the question. Baby will probably be hungry every two to four hours. It’s best to feed your baby on demand. Don’t encourage your baby to finish the bottle if he’s not interested.
5. Burp your baby
Babies get fussy and cranky when they swallow air during feedings. This happens more often with bottlefed infants, though breastfed infants can also swallow air. To prevent a tummy full of air, burp your baby frequently — after every two or three ounces of formula. If your baby doesn’t burp after a couple of minutes of trying, resume feeding. Here are the three best positions:
- Over the shoulder:Drape your baby over your shoulder and firmly pat or rub her back.
- On the lap:Sit your baby upright, lean her weight forward against the heel of your hand, and firmly pat or rub her back.
- Lying down:Place baby stomach-down on your lap and firmly rub or pat her back.
How often should I feed my baby?
Your baby’s appetite will vary from day to day and month to month, so try to let her set the pace. Your baby will feed as often as she needs to, as long as you learn to spot her cues and respond to them.
If your baby is newborn, she will need to feed little and often, so offer a bottle every two hours or three hours. Let her feed for as long as she wants to. If she’s had enough of a bottle, don’t force her to drink more. As your baby grows, she will be able to manage larger feeds and have longer breaks between bottles.
As a general rule of thumb, your baby will want between 150ml and 200ml of formula per kilogram of her body weight per day. So, if your baby weighs 3kg, she’ll need between 450ml and 600ml of formula over a 24-hour period to satisfy her hunger. Read more about how much formula your baby needs.
How would I make sure my baby is drinking comfortably?
When you are feeding, tilt the bottle slightly so the end of the teat is always full of milk, not air.If you hear a lot of noisy sucking sounds while your baby drinks, she may be taking in too much air. To help your baby swallow less air, hold her so she’s propped up a little. Take care to tilt the bottle so that the teat and neck are always filled with formula.
Can I make up a feed to store in the fridge for later?
It’s best to make a fresh bottle of formula each time your baby needs a feed. Milk powder is not sterile, and bacteria may survive in milk even though you use sterile water to mix it. It’s best to prepare just one feed for later use. You can do this as safely as possible by putting the feed in the fridge or a cool bag as soon as you’ve made it. Use it within four hours if it’s been stored in a cool bag, or within 12 hours if it’s been in the fridge.
Some Bottle Feeding Precautions While Travelling
Sterilising baby bottles
Sterilising is the process of killing any harmful germs that may be clinging to surfaces of the bottles and other equipment.
It is very important to sterilise baby bottles before each use, for at least the first 12 months of your baby’s life.
How to sterilise feeding equipment
Boiling works by raising the temperature high enough to kill any bacteria left over after washing.
- Place clean bottles, teats, caps and utensils in a large saucepan on the back burner of the stove.
- Add enough water to cover all the equipment, making sure there are no air bubbles.
- Bring water to the boil, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and allow the water to cool down.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you handle the equipment.
- Take the equipment from the saucepan and shake off any excess water.
- If you are not using them straight away, put the lid and teat onto the bottle, and store in a clean container in the fridge.
- Re-boil the bottle and other equipment if it is not used within 24 hours.
- Never leave hot or boiling liquids unattended or within reach of children.
- Be aware that steam can burn or scald you just as badly as boiling water.
- Keep chemicals and chemical solutions out of reach of children.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling equipment that has been sterilised.