8 Useful Tips For Making Bottle Feeding Easy

6 min read

How to properly bottle feed a baby is the most frequently answered question by the paediatricians and lactation consultants around the world. Even though breast milk is the best choice for infants and it fulfils a baby’s nutritional requirements, a lot of women may not be able to breastfeed out of choice or due to various reasons and have to depend on bottle-feeding. This is nothing to feel guilty about. This article will provide you with some measures that should be taken while bottle-feeding and some tips that will help you to properly feed your baby from a bottle.
Bottlefeeding newborn

When And How To Introduce A Bottle?

Early bottle-feeding can be an obstacle in nursing because getting milk from the bottle is much easier than drawing milk from the breast. Therefore, it is advisable not to start bottle-feeding earlier than three weeks of age (if possible, avoid bottle-feeding until 5 weeks) But then some babies will have to take to bottle early due to various reasons like mother not getting enough milk, baby is not latching on properly, choice of exclusively bottle-feeding by the mother etc.
Bottle-feeding involves a different sucking movement than breastfeeding. So if you are starting bottle feeding for your breastfed baby, it may take him a little while to get accustomed to this change. Many babies switch effortlessly between breast and bottle-feeding. If you plan to get back to work, start bottle-feeding at least two weeks before you join work so that both you and the baby have sufficient time to adjust to this new change.

The Quantity Of  Formula To Offer To Your Baby In A Bottle?

The quantity of formula milk and the frequency varies with every baby. It also depends on the age of the baby, the weight and how many feeds they are having every day. You can calculate the amount of formula to feed your baby through this simple calculation: 70 ml of feed for every 450 gms of body weight for the first six months. This may be revised in each of the subsequent months. Please note that this is just a guideline, and approximation, and must not be treated as a thumb rule.
With time, a baby develops a feeding schedule and will easily indicate when he is hungry.

8 Useful Tips For Making Bottle-Feeding Easy

Here are some tips that will help the baby to have a smooth transition from breast to bottle.

  1. Check before buying: Check the bottles and nipples thoroughly before buying to ensure that nipples are not cracked or there is no dent in the bottle
  2. Let your spouse bottle feed: Let someone else in your family or your spouse bottle-feed your baby. This will lessen your baby’s confusion as to why he is not getting milk from your breast and will also help your spouse or family member bond with the baby
  3. Baby can smell you: Stay away from your baby when he is being bottle fed as babies can smell their moms when she is nearby and may refuse to take the bottle
  4. Choose the right nipple: It is recommended to use a bottle with a nipple that closely imitates your breast to make bottle-feeding more comfortable for your baby. But if you’re bottle-feeding exclusively, use a bottle with a nipple that helps in proper digestion of milk
  5. Use the right nipple hole: Make sure you use the right size nipple hole. If your baby seems to be gagging or gulping the milk too fast, the hole in the nipple may be too big. If your baby is sucking hard and looks frustrated, the hole in the nipple may be too small
  6. Check the temperature of milk: Check the temperature of the milk that you are offering your baby. It should neither be too cold or too hot. If your baby likes his milk warm, make sure you check the temperature of the milk by using the inside of your wrist
  7. Do not store any leftover feed: If your baby does not finish the whole feed, throw away any leftover milk in the bottle
  8. Frequently change bottle: Keep changing the bottles after a few months

feeding from bottle

How To Correctly Hold And Feed Baby From A Bottle?

Make sure the person who feeds the baby is sitting comfortably and conveniently.

  • Hold the baby upright and close to you. The best place for your baby to get comfortable in the crook of your arm. He should be halfway between sitting up and lying down. Support your baby’s head with your arm so that he can breathe and swallow comfortably
  • Hold the bottle in angular position so that your baby sucks in comfortably and gets adequate milk. Also, keep the teat full of milk to ensure he is not drawing in air
  • Brush the nipple of the bottle against your baby’s lips. When your baby opens his mouth wide, allow him to draw in the nipple
  • Look into the eyes of your baby while feeding. Talking to him in a soothing voice or slowly humming a song will make him feel comfortable and secured
  • Positioning the bottle properly is very important as it can lead to ear infection in babies if milk enters his ears
  • Do not leave the bottle while your baby is still feeding as this can be dangerous and can lead to choking hazard in babies
  • You will see bubbles in the bottle as the baby sucks the milk. If you cannot see any bubbles, that means baby is not taking in milk. This could be due to numerous reasons. If this is because he has fallen asleep, lightly tap on his cheek. If it is due to the flattened nipple, gently make the baby open his mouth so that the nipple regains its shape. If it is due to blocked nipple instead of trying to remove the block using a spare nipple so that your baby does not have to take a break during feeding
  • After feeding, hold the baby upright and gently rub or pat his back to make him burp. Your baby must burp to bring out any air that your baby has sucked in

What Is Paced Bottle-Feeding?

Paced bottle feeding is a method of feeding which mimics breastfeeding. It allows the baby to be in control of the feeding process. Even though the duration of feeding will be relatively long and the baby has to put more effort to get milk, practising this method reduces the issues associated with overfeeding (which is more common in normal bottle-feeding) like gas, spitting, gagging etc. It can also prompt hand-eye coordination relatively faster. Here are the steps of paced bottle-feeding:

  • Hold the baby in an upright position. This helps the baby to control the flow of milk in a better way
  • Offer the bottle horizontally and rub the nipple against the lips of your baby
  • You can allow the nipple not to be filled with milk as in the case of normal bottle-feeding. This mimics the letdown of breastfeeding and can help reduce the chances of your baby developing nipple preference
  • Allow them to take a break whenever they want
  • Respect and recognize the cues when your baby is full like pushing the bottle away, spitting the nipple out, etc

How To Sterilize Baby Bottles?

Boiling the bottle and its parts is a good and easy method to sterilize baby bottles.

  • After feeding, separate the bottle and its parts
  • Wash everything with liquid soap and warm water. Rinse well
  • Put all the washed parts along with the bottle into the boiling water in a big vessel. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Now switch off the stove and cover the pan. Allow the water to cool down
  • Clean your hands thoroughly before taking the bottles out
  • Always re-boil the bottle before using it if it has not been used for 24 hrs

There are other methods like steaming, which is more or less similar to boiling. The only difference is to use a steamer instead of the boiling vessel.
There are electric or microwave sterilizers also available in the market to sterilize feeding bottles and utensils. User instructions will be provided with the appliances.
To know more read: How To Sterilize Baby Bottles – Everything You Need To Know
Bottle feeding can be a warm, loving experience. It allows bonding with your baby. All you need to do is closely cuddle your baby, gaze into his eyes, and coo and talk to him. We hope these tips will make bottle feeding easy for you and your baby.
If you would like to share your baby’s bottle-feeding experience and any tips that we missed out, please leave them in the comments section below.

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