Many mums enjoy the flexibility of bottle feeding because it means someone other than them can nourish their child. In saying that, it’s common for those on baby-feeding duty to worry that they’re not doing it right. Often it’s a case of trial and error; but here are a few things to think about.
5 tips to keep in mind when bottle feeding:
1. Slow and steady
Keep in mind that it’s usual for young babies to take their time drinking and many nod off after a few minutes because they’re tired or the sucking reflux makes them sleepy. It can take anywhere up to 30 minutes to bottle feed a newborn yet by the time they’re six months they’ll probably glug it in 5 minutes. Some babies feed in short bursts so try not to rush this process otherwise both you and baby may end up stressed out.
Tip: To keep a sleepy baby on task, rub their jaw gently with your finger or use a damp washer on their forehead to keep them awake.
2. Tilt the bottle
When feeding ensure that milk not air completely fills the nipple of the bottle; this will reduce the amount of air that your baby takes in. Also make sure you have the appropriate-sized teat for your baby. As they grow they will need nipples that have more and larger holes to keep up with their demand. You’ll soon know if your baby seems frustrated at how slow the milk is coming out.
3. Find a position that works
Depending on your surroundings there’s a few positions to try when bottle feeding. Try cradling where baby’s head is in the crook of your arm and your forearm is underneath their baby. Remember to lift baby’s head slightly in a semi-upright position. Other options include sitting baby upright, placing them in your lap with their back to your chest or using a pillow to elevate baby’s head.
Hint: Avoid bottle feeding a baby who is flat on their back as milk can flow into the nose or eustachian tube.
4. Comfort first
No one likes having tight or hot clothing on when they’re about to eat, so loosen up baby’s outfit and nappy to make way for the big belly they’re about to get! Make sure they’re not too hot and remember it takes energy for them to drink so babies usually get a little sweaty when feeding.
5. Enjoy the moment
While it’s tempting to leave your baby with a bottle while you put some washing on or stop your other kids from making a mess, it’s not a good idea to leave baby with their bottle. Sure older ones might have the skills to feed themselves but try seeing bottle feeding as a break for you as well. Make it a time where you put your feet up and enjoy some quality time with your precious bundle.
Keep in mind that: Breastfeeding is best for babies and it has many benefits for both mum and baby. Breast milk contains all the nutrients your growing baby needs to thrive, especially in the first 6 months of life; it also contains antibodies to help your baby fight infections. Therefore, it is important that mum eats a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
About the author: Emily Toxward
When former journalist Emily Toxward isn’t wrangling her three kids, she’s busy juggling the demands of her writing business Write Styling. She left full-time work to have children and now juggles the demands of motherhood, domestic life and writing from home. To keep her sanity Emily makes frequent trips to the picturesque beaches of the Gold Coast.