Though breastfeeding is the best for the baby, sometimes due to some unavoidable reasons bottle feeding becomes important. If the baby is on bottle feeding, then it is necessary to take some precautions during it.
Like that of breastfeeding it is also necessary to watch the hunger cues of baby before bottle feeding. According to it the bottle-feeding is given as per guided quantity. Whether the baby is formula feeding or expressed breast milk by bottle or mixed condition always watch the cues, position of the baby and the flow of milk. Offer the bottle every two to three hours at first or as your baby seems hungry. Don’t force more than what the baby seems ready to eat. Your baby’s doctor should advise you about suitable amounts for your child as the baby grows
Some signs of a poor bottle-feed include gulping, catch-up breaths, fast feeds, leaking milk from the sides of the mouth or down the chin.
Choosing the bottle and nipples:
There is a range of different feeding bottles like tapered bottle, waisted bottle, easy grip bottle and disposable bottle. You can choose according to need and what suits to the baby.
The bottles should be BPA free as the plastic bottle contains a chemical bisphenol A which is harmful for baby. So before buying the plastic bottles check whether it is BPA free or not. You can go with glass bottle but breaking is a major problem with them.
Nipples come in two types- Latex and Silicon. Latex nipples ate soft and flexible but sometimes they may cause rashes in some babies. Silicon nipples are firm and maintain their shape for longer time. Silicon nipples are widely used with the bottles.
Washing the bottles and teats:
All equipment is washed in hot soapy water. Scrub the inside of the bottle with a bottle brush. The teats are rubbed to remove any traces of milk to prevent the contamination. Wash the bottles and teats under warm running water to remove soap.
Sterilizing the bottles and teats:
There is high risk of gastrointestinal infections in baby who are bottle feeding. So, to reduce the risk of infection it is necessary to sterilize them before use. Always take care that everything that comes in contact with the baby’s food should be thoroughly cleaned or sterilized before use.
For sterilization of the equipment one can use a sterilizing tank, steamer or microwave sterilizer. Always make sure that your hands are washed properly before handling the equipment.
Whatever method or instrument you are using for the sterilization of the equipment, have proper information about how to handle it.
- If you are using the sterilizing tablet or fluid, then put all the feeding equipment in a large, clean, covered plastic container for sterilization
- If you are using the steam method for sterilization, then wash and clean all the equipment and put them in a large pot. Put the pot on gas stove and boil it for at least 10 mins to sterilize them
- If you are using a steam sterilizer, then keep all the equipment in the sterilizer after washing thoroughly. It quickly and effectively destroys bacteria from the equipment.
- One can sterilize the equipment in the microwave using a specially designed steam unit till the feeding equipment is suitable for microwave use
For the convenience sterilize at least 10-12 bottles in advance as the new born babies feed frequently. So it is better to sterilize them in advance. If not so keep 4-6 bottles and sterilize them twice a day that is morning and evening. The sterilized bottles can be kept in the freezer up to 24 hrs before using it for feeding. Don’t keep the bottle in the freezer more than 24 hrs. Don’t try to reheat the bottle or the formula or the milk for next feeding. The left over should be thrown away as it may get contaminated easily.
Don’t warm the bottle in microwave. If you want to warm the milk, then place the bottle in a jug or bowl of hot water for few minutes or can hold the bottle under hot running water. Take care to shake bottle in between to heat it evenly.
Before giving the bottle to the baby check the temperature of the milk by taking few drops on your wrist. It should not be hot or cold.
Before bottle feeding the baby you should sit in a comfortable position so that your arms and back is well supported. Hold the baby in half sitting position with his head is in the crook of your elbow and his back is along your forearm. This position will help the baby to swallow safely and easily. While bottle feeding keep eye to eye contact with the baby, your face is close to him and chat with baby during feeding. This will help to increase the bonding and comfort level.
Breast feeding is the most valuable thing for both mother and baby but if in some cases it is not possible and bottle feeding is the way, then go with it with lots of love and care towards the baby which is the most valuable thing for both mother and baby.