Whether you’re going back to work, want a night out or are having problems with breastfeeding, there’s no need to be ashamed of bottle feeding your baby. What is important is having the information and equipment you need for successful bottle feeding to ensure your baby remains well-fed.
Whether you’re giving your child expressed breast milk or prepared formula , introducing the bottle can be difficult. If your breastfed baby needs to be bottle fed by a specific date, for example, if you're returning to work, don’t leave it to the big day to get started. Begin the process at least two weeks beforehand to give you and baby plenty of time to learn so they're happily bottle feeding before you have to leave them.
Pick the right time. Trying to introduce the bottle when you or your baby are stressed is setting yourself up for failure. Experts suggest choosing a time when your baby is alert but not too hungry so that they’re as relaxed as possible. It’s also a good idea to enlist a volunteer to do the feeding, whether that’s your partner, baby’s grandparents or a close friend. Sometimes you may even want to leave the house. If you are nearby, the baby may get confused and refuse to cooperate.
Lastly, experiment a little. While it’s important to persevere with bottle feeding, you can try different bottle nipples until you find one your baby likes. Try looking for one with a similar shape to their pacifier as this is something they’re already used to. Experimenting with different positions can also help you find the way your baby feeds most easily.
Start with sterilizing the bottles , both before their first use and after each feeding. Wash your hands as well to avoid making your baby ill. Another safety tip is to always hold your baby during feeding. If your baby feeds while lying flat or if they’re left with their bottle, there is a danger of choking.
If you’re switching to infant formula, choose one brand and use it consistently. You can also try dipping the bottle nipple in your breast milk to entice them to try it.
Lastly, remember to relax and enjoy the experience. Let your baby take their time and be patient as they eat. Feeding your baby is a great opportunity for you to bond with your child, and it gives your partner and other members of your family the chance to spend quality time with them.
Bottle feeding does require more equipment than breastfeeding. You need six to eight clear bottles with measurement markings on the side. Once you find the nipple your baby likes, buy six to eight of those as well. You want to make sure you always have a clean bottle ready for your baby.
For formula feeding, you need a plastic knife to level off the scoop; a formula dispenser is also handy. At the minimum, you need a bottle brush for cleaning such as those from Philips Avent. While you can sterilize in boiling water, many parents find an electric sterilizer more convenient. Likewise, you can warm a bottle in a jug or bowl, but it can be quicker to use an electric bottle warmer. Don’t forget an insulated carry pack for when you’re out and about. A drying rack can decrease clutter in your kitchen and keep everything dry.