How to bottle feed your baby
Bottle feeding is a chance to feel close to your baby and get to know them. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably. Enjoy holding your baby and looking into their eyes as you feed them. Hold your baby fairly upright for bottle feeds. Support their head so they can breathe and swallow comfortably. Brush the teat against your baby’s lips and, when your they open their mouth wide, let them draw in the teat.
- Remember to feed baby based on his or her cues. Even if there is a schedule in place, it needs to be flexible.
- Make sure you’re holding your baby in an upright position, almost sitting. If she’s lying flat, she has no control over the milk flow.
- Watch the angle you hold the bottle. It should be tilted only enough to keep milk in the nipple.
- Make sure baby gets enough resting time; take some time to burp him or rest the bottle on his lips.
- When feeding your baby make sure you change sides. Breastfed babies change sides every feed and its important to mimic this to help with muscle and eye stimulation.
- Take your time. Feeding, however it is done, is a bonding experience so try not to rush and spend 10-20 minutes at a time, with breaks in between, talking to your baby, allowing them to dictate the pace.
- Make sure your baby copes with the flow of the nipple. Too fast and they can’t cope with the flow and too slow they won’t finish the feed as they will get too tired.
- Be consistent with the breastfeeding rhythm; your partner or sitter should allow pauses to mimic your let-down patterns.
- As you would do with breastfeeding, don’t force the bottle’s nipple into your baby’s mouth. Instead, try and encourage him to root and latch onto the nipple.
- Don’t try to get in as much food in as little time as possible.
- Never force your baby to drink more than he or she needs. If you’re worried about wasting milk, then heat up smaller amounts at a time.
- During the first 6 months, make sure they are fed from a sterilised bottle.
- Don’t force your baby to finish what’s in the bottle by massaging his jaw or throat or trying to push the nipple in and around his mouth.
- A baby’s hands offer cues for hunger, relaxation and even stress – see below. Don’t cover them or swaddle them so you can see this body language cue.
- In the same breath, don’t leave your baby holding or propping up his own bottle unless he’s able to do this. It can lead to ear infections and your child can choke .