Mother’s milk or breast milk is the primary and foremost food introduced to the newborn after birth. But not every mother can breastfeed because of insufficient milk secretion or because of personal choice. In such cases, the infant has to intake the milk or formula supply through bottle feeding. Also, there are infants, who make a switch from breastfeeding to bottle feed after a certain duration, or there are others who rely on both sources. However, it’s important that the parents understand how to bottle feed the baby properly. This article will summarize all you need to know about the tips & techniques.
When to Start Bottle Feeding?
There is no specific time when the bottle should be introduced to the baby in case the infant is currently taking a proper feed from the mother. Still, medical experts suggest that one should wait for at least a month before bottle-feeding a baby. Or wait until the mother’s milk is well established.
If you are strong-headed regarding discontinuing your feed to the baby, then introduce the bottle to the baby between the fourth to sixth weeks. Excessive delay in introducing it may result in resistance from the baby’s end.
If you are a working mother, who needs to resume work after delivery, then practice bottle feeding your baby, two weeks before resuming your job. Sucking milk from a nipple is entirely different from sucking milk from the mother’s breast. So the baby needs to equip themselves with the new tongue and mouth movement.
How to Practice Bottle Feeding if the Baby Resists?
Few babies very easily adapt to the changes, while others do not. So if your infant creates fuss in equipping to the bottle, then try these tricks:
- Act smart by using a bottle nipple made out of material that is similar to the material of the baby’s pacifier. Or make use of a bottle nipple that is similar in shape and size to your breast.
- Let the baby get the taste of breast milk first when s/he sucks the bottle nipple. This way s/he might continue sucking in the urge of getting more of the same.
- Don’t panic but wait for a long-term result, when you see your baby chewing or playing with a bottle nipple. S/hemight be doing so to become familiar with it.
- Try out different bottle feeding positions for your baby, to check their comfort. The best is to place the baby on a lap.
- Experiment with the temperature of the milk. Some babies prefer taking warm milk while others prefer cold or milk at room temperature.
- Initiate the feed by giving breast milk to the baby, and then after a few minutes, place the feeding bottle in their mouth.
- Take the help of your mother, your spouse, a child caretaker, or a friend to introduce bottle feeding. A child can very easily sense and smell the presence of a mother around and might resist the bottle in the urge of getting breast milk only.
What are the Problems Related to Bottle Feeding?
- In the case of bottle-feeding a baby with formula milk, s/he becomes more prone to indigestion and gastric issues, as compared to those infants who are fed mother’s milk. Undoubtedly the task of preparing for and executing the act of bottle feeding a baby is a tedious one as compared to breastfeeding.
- Preparing the formula milk takes a lot of time, and gets wasted, if not fully consumed by the baby at one go.
- Feeding the baby with formula milk is an altogether expensive project.
- A lot of precautions are to be taken regarding the sanitation and hygiene of the bottles.
- One needs to be a proactive and responsible parent while choosing the formula as per the age of the baby.
- Preparing the formula milk for bottle feeding a baby is a tedious task when traveling.
What are the Disadvantages?
There are certain other disadvantages associated with bottle feeding a baby:
- Mothers who breastfeed their babies are less likely to develop breast cancer.
- Although this saying is still debatable, it is seen that mothers who bottle-feed their babies experience postpartum depression more.
- Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Since breast milk contains more natural nutrients as compared to formula milk, the immunity level of the infant gets affected accordingly.
- Breast milk is easily digestible.
- Breastfeeding the baby develops a special bond with the child, which helps in pacifying the baby in case of distress or medical need.
Tips and Techniques for Bottle Feeding a Baby at Night:
Often kids who are otherwise comfortable with bottle feed during day time, show resistance during the night-time. So here are some expert techniques to handle this situation:
- At night time, prepare yourself with all the bottle feeding gadgets. Most of the formula mixes can be used until 24 hours of preparation. So, prepare two to three bottles of formula milk and refrigerate. Warm the bottle using a bottle warmer. Check on your wrist the feed temperature, and you are ready to go.
- At night time, avoid any fuss created because of lack of management. Your bedside table should be equipped with water, feeding bottles, nappies, and wipes.
- Ensure proper skin-to-skin contact with your baby, while giving feeding through the bottle.
- The lights of the room should be dim. Just sufficient light, to ensure night visibility for you.
Relative Hygienic Precautions:
Milk is undoubtedly an ideal breeding ground for bacterias. This is the reason why there is so much strictness regarding the maintenance of proper hygiene while giving bottle feed to babies.
- So, the bottle, and all its parts should be properly washed and sanitized by submerging them in boiled water for a few minutes.
- Wash your hands properly before making the formula milk and pouring it into a bottle.
- Immediately close the bottle with the cap and cover, and open them only while feeding.
- Don’t add freshly prepared formula to the formula remaining in the bottle.
Undoubtedly, breast milk is the ideal source of nutrition for young ones. But if because of any demanding situation, you as a mother have to go for bottle feeding your baby, do so without any guilt. As a mother, you know what works best for your child.