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Basic bottle-feeding 101

At some point, your baby will inevitably be feeding from a bottle, be it out of necessity or choice. Many mums want to breastfeed, but in some cases, it just isn’t an option. Whatever your motivation, there are some basic steps to bottle-feeding that you will have to learn.

Tips for bottle-feeding: Where do you start?

Needless to say, there are a few slight variations between breast and bottle-feeding. While we tend to think that bottle-feeding is as easy as pouring some formula into a bottle and giving it to the baby, we often overlook some of the more important questions that go hand in hand with bottle-feeding basics.

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Tips for bottle-feeding: What kind of bottle should you use?

Research has shown us the harmful effects of BPA, which is an industrial chemical that can be found in baby bottles, so it is best to use BPA-free brands. Another alternative is to use glass bottles, which are making a comeback. Glass bottles do not need replacing as often, and you can buy a silicon sleeve for the bottle that makes it more durable and resistant to cracks and chips. Plastic bottles need to be replaced often since scratches and nicks are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, they are not good for the baby either.

Sizes of the milk bottles will vary, depending on the age of your baby. Newborns will need a 120ml bottle, but you will have to switch to a 225ml bottle as they grow. Silicone teats are the best option for babies because of their durability and heat resistance compared to their rubber counterparts, even though they are more expensive.

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Tips for bottle-feeding: Sterilising baby bottles

Sterilising new bottles is a vital bottle-feeding basic, and you should not skip this step even if you are in a hurry. All new bottles have to be submerged in boiling water for at least 5 minutes before they are left to air-dry. You can put them through a cycle in the dishwasher, or hand wash with warm, soapy water after one time of sterilisation in boiling water.

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Tips for bottle-feeding: To warm or not to warm

There is no specific reason for you to warm up the milk first, so long as it is kept at room temperature. But many babies to seem to appreciate a belly full of warm milk more. The easiest way to warm a baby bottle without scorching it is to simply run it under a hot water tap for a few minutes, or place it in a pot of warm (not boiled) water. Your first instinct may tell you to heat the bottle up in the microwave, but don’t; microwaves causes irregular pockets of heat that can really burn your little one. Which brings up another very important point – do not forget to test the temperature of the milk before you feed your baby.

Tips for bottle-feeding: Is your baby drinking comfortably?

Now that you are done with the technical aspects of bottle-feeding basics, your little one is ready to be fed. However, you need to make sure that you are holding your baby in the right position while you are bottle-feeding.

  • Listen to your baby. If you hear sucking sounds, it means that there is too much air in the bottle. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle. This will help your baby to swallow less air and ensure that the teat is always full.
  • Cradle your baby upright, so that his upper body is higher than his lower body.

You might have to help your little one the first few times to grasp the teat, but be patient and give it time. You can help by gently stroking the corner of his mouth with the teat, then sit back and let your baby do the rest.

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