The right way to bottle feed
There’s a right way for anything, even bottle feeding. Therefore, whether you decide to solely bottle feed or just do so every now and then, make sure to follow these principles.
What are the principles for proper bottle feeding?
• Let go of your phone. I’m aware this is easier said than done but our mothers weren’t on the phone whilst feeding us.
• Sit in a comfortable position that allows you to see the baby’s face and calmly speak to him / her.
• Hold the baby in a position where his head is elevated and support it in a way he can easily swallow and breathe. Do not feed the baby in supine position (it increases the risk of ear infections, read here).
• Hold the bottle and the baby. Do not place the baby and use a muslin or similar ‘tricks’ to lean the bottle on it.
• At the beginning of the feed gently rub the bottle nipple on the baby’s lips.
• When the baby open his mouth gently insert the bottle nipple into his mouth and make sure to keep the bottle in a horizontal position (parallel to the floor) and only slightly elevated. This is to avoid the milk spilling into the baby’s mouth rather than the baby controlling the pace of the flow by sucking.
• Keep the end of the bottle nipple full of milk.
• Alternate sides during feeding. Lean the baby once on your right arm and once on the left to avoid preference to one side.
• Pay attention to signs the baby shows in regards to taking a pause in the feed. If it seems the baby needs a break, gently take the bottle out of his mouth or tilt the bottle down so that the milk flow stops. After the break offer the baby to continue with the feed.
• How long is the feed? In general, not less than 10 minutes and not more than 20 minutes.
• There’s always some formula left in the bottle. In case the baby finishes the whole potion in several meals, next time prepare a bigger portion.
• At the end of the feed take the bottle out of the baby’s mouth. Do not leave bottle with formula or any sweetened drink in the mouth of a sleeping baby (can cause bottle cavity).
• What about the ‘holy’ burp? Absolutely not mandatory. At the end of the meal you can hold the baby vertically with his back to you and pat his back gently so that he may exhale a little air. Some parents put the baby over their shoulder after a meal, which in my opinion can make them sick.