If you have opted for bottle-feeding your child or supplement your breast milk with formula, you need to make sure that you follow certain basic guidelines on bottle feeding. Firstly, never stick to a rigid feeding schedule going by the clock. Look for hunger cues, and do run a check on how much formula your baby needs. Again, hygiene plays a very crucial role when you bottle feed your baby – unlike breast milk that goes straight from the nipple to the mouth, formula has to be prepared using water, and in a bottle, thus exposing it to various bacteria in the atmosphere. To ensure that bottle feeding is healthy for your precious child, below basics should be stuck to-
- Sterilizing: If you use well water it becomes highly necessary to sterilize all the feeding equipment(s). Even when you bring new bottle from market do sterilize it before using it. It helps to kill all the germs which can harm your baby. All you need to do it just bring bottle and the nipple to boil (it may take 10 minutes). Before sterilizing it clean the bottle with soapy water using bottle cleaning brush.
- Plastic Bottles: If you are using plastic bottles, we’d advise you against boiling them again and again, instead, heat them in the microwave. Reason being the release of chemicals like bisphenol A which is used to make plastic bottles. Consider using expensive but safe glass bottles.
- Washing your hands: Before preparing milk or formula milk for bottle feeding, wash your hands.
- Keep stock: Keep two –three clean and sterilized feeding bottles stored in refrigerator in a clean container/bag. If your baby totally depends on the bottle feeds, it is wise to keep them ready to avoid your baby keep on waiting and crying due to hunger.
- Avoid too hot or too cold: Whether you use expressed milk or formula milk, it should not be too hot or too cold when you give it to your baby. It is always good to keep them at room temperature. If you warm the milk, take few drops on hand before giving it to your baby to check if it’s too hot.
- Right measure: If you give her formula milk, make sure to mix it in correct ratio as marked on the labels. Too strong or too weak formula milk is not good for a baby.
- Correct position: Once the bottle is ready, have your baby lie down in your lap with her head little up supporting with your knee. Slightly tilt bottle and give nipple in her mouth. Make sure there is no air in the nipple; tilt the bottle so that milk fills the bottle neck.
- Leaving alone: Never leave your baby alone with the bottle.
- Burp is important: When your baby finishes off her feed, drape her over your shoulder and gently rub or pat her back to pass any wind. Sometimes you may need to burp your baby two to three times between her feeds. When babies swallow air during feedings (happens with breastfed babies too), they feel uncomfortable and become fussy. Thus, burp is needed.
- Understand your baby: No one else can better understand your baby than you .Do not force her to feed, let her take feed as per her comfort and need. Infants generally need feed in every 1.5-2 hours.
If you see any crack in the nipple, replace it as early as possible. And do not try to reuse the same milk which was left in bottle after last feed.