The transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can be quite challenging. In fact it can be a nightmare if not done well. While some babies start bottle feeding when they are newborns, most begin with breastfeeding and make a gradual transition. Parents have so many questions when it comes to bottle feeding. Here are 7 simple but effective steps to bottle feeding your little one:
Step ONE – Ensure that all the feeding tools and accessories are clean and sterilised
If the water in your home is chlorinated, it is advisable to use a dish-washing detergent with anti-bacterial properties and hot water. If the water is not chlorinated, it is best to place all the feeding utensils in boiling water for a minimum of 10 minutes (this will help kill any bacteria or germs that have accumulated on the surface of the utensils.
Alternatively clear the baby’s feeding utensils using an effective method known as Terminal Heating. This method entails cleaning the utensils but not sterilising them in advance. . After cleaning you fill the bottle with the formula the follow up by capping it loosely. Place the filled bottle in water that reaches halfway the bottle. Bring the water to a gentle boil for about half an hour.
If the water is not chlorinated, it is best to place all the feeding utensils in boiling water for a minimum of 10 minutes
STEP TWO – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to the formula and all the other feeding tools
It is important to take note and adhere to all the instruction laid out by the manufacturer of all the products and supplies that you are using to feed your baby. Just ignoring a simple instruction can have detrimental consequences. For instance too much water in the mixture can mean your baby does not get all the nutrients and calories he/she needs. Too little water or a high concentration of the formula can lead to dehydration and diarrhoea
STEP THREE – Prepare the formula as instructed
Boil the water you plan to use to prepare the formula for at least 2 minutes. Add the water to the formula powder. If you prefer t prepare the formula in advance, ensure that you refrigerate immediately after preparation. If the formula is left in the open for more than an hour or it stays in the refrigerator for more than a day (24 hours) throw it out and prepare another batch to fee the baby. This is just a general guideline, as a rule of thumb; always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the tee when it comes to preparing the formula.
STEP FOUR – Warming the refrigerated Formula
Refrigerated formula does not necessarily have to be heated up; it all comes down to preference. However, reliable statistics reveal that most babies prefer to take milk at room temperature. The best way to warm formula milk is to place it in a pan of water at low heat and rotate the bottle slowly and consistently.
Avoid using the microwave to heat up the refrigerated formula because this tends to overheat the middle. This means that if you use a microwave, the milk might feel warm to the touch while the middle is still scalding hot which can badly burn your baby’s mouth or tongue. Additionally there is also the risk that the bottle can explode if left in the microwave for too long.
If you opt for terminal heating which is explained earlier on in this article, you should shake the bottle thoroughly then taste the milk to make sure it is not too hot for your baby. The best way to test the temperature of the milk is by spilling a few drops on the inside of your wrist.
STEP FIVE – Place your baby in a comfortable feeding position
Cradle your little one in a semi-upright position and then comfortably support your baby’s head. Don’t feed the baby while they are lying down, this is because formula can flow to the middle ear leading to a painful infection/ To help your baby not to swallow the air he/she sucks while drinking the milk, slightly tilt the bottle to ensure the formula fills the neck of the feeding bottle and also covers the nipple.
STEP SIX – Carefully note your baby’s intake
Every time you visit a paediatrician they will definitely inquire how much your baby eats. Taking note of how much your baby eats will help the doctor track your little one’s progress and health. In the first few weeks the baby will take 2 to 4 ounces per feeding, feeding will be two hours apart. When they are below 3 months, it is best to feed your baby when they demand it since at this time they are neurologically incapable of adapting to a feeding routine. If your little one is still sucking enthusiastically when the bottle is still empty, fill the bottle and continue feeding them.
STEP SEVEN – The last step is to burp your baby
Babies are extremely cranky and fussy when they swallow air during feeding sessions. Although it also happens in breastfeeding, it is worse in babies who are bottle fed. To prevent your baby from the discomfort of a belly full of air, burp your baby frequently (this is after 2 or 3 ounce of formula milk). If the baby’s still does not burp after a few minutes, resume the feeding session. To make burping the baby a breeze, here are 3 reliable burping techniques:
Over the shoulder
Simply drape your little one over the shoulder then firmly rub or pat their back until they burp
Sit your little one upright and lean their weight forward against the heel of your right hand, firmly but gently rub or pat the baby’s back
Place the baby’s stomach down on your lap then firmly but gently rub or pat their back until they baby burps