It is universally accepted that breastfeeding is the best option for babies. But if you’ve decided – for whatever reasons – to bottle feed your baby, then get on with it and don’t feel guilty about your decision. Here are some tips on bottle feeding.
There are many reasons why a mother decides to bottle feed. Here are some of the more common reason why a mother bottle feeds rather than breastfeed her.
1. The mother does not wish to breastfeed. This could be for all sorts of reasons such as, emotional reasons, social reasons, or many other reasons. Whatever your decision, remember: it’s your decision, so stick to it and don’t pay any heed to what others may say: bottle feeding does not make you a bad mother; breastfeeding does not make you a good mother.
2. Some babies are not able to breastfeeding due to illness or because of a congenital condition such as being allergic to the mother’s milk.
3. The mother may be ill and cannot produce enough breast milk.
4. The mother is going back to work and her workplace does not provide facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk. Sadly, this is all too common.
5. The baby may be adopted and the mother may not be lactating.
What equipment do you need for bottle feeding?
Make no mistake; bottle feeding is not a cheap option. You’ll need all of the following.
1. Plastic bottles.
2. Nipples – these will wear out and need replacing
3. A bottle sterilizer. A top of the range sterilizer can be rather expensive.
4. The infant milk formula. Choosing which one is often a confusing business.
What baby infant formula milk to use?
1. First off, never feed your child cow’s milk – or any other natural milk. Feed your baby an infant milk formula. Any brand is acceptable, as all pass certain standards as set by all government agencies. The following are the main types of formula milk you can buy.
2. Standard infant artificial formula look out for the label stating: suitable from birth. This formula milk is for babies up to 12 months of age. Standard infant artificial formula is usually cows milk based, but may be soy or goats milk based. Soy may be preferred by vegan mothers or if the baby cannot tolerate cows milk protein. However, unless there are compelling reasons against using cows milk based artificial formula, it is the recommended choice.
3. Follow-on infant artificial formula the label will say something like: suitable only for babies over six months. This is for babies’ over 6 months of age – never give your new born this type of milk.
4. Thickened artificial formula is sometimes recommended for babies who frequently posset or regurgitate large amounts after feeding – this is often called reflux. The idea of thickened formula is that it settles more in the stomach and therefore stays there! However, thickened artificial formula does not always solve the problem. You should consult your doctor before using this type of milk formula.
5. Premature infant artificial formula is specifically designed for the nutritional needs of a premature baby. Only use this type of formula after medical consultation and it is not suitable for healthy term babies.
How to Bottle Feed a Baby?
1. Always test the temperature of the milk before feeding. The old traditional method of sprinkling a few drops on the under-side of your wrist is still the best method. It should feel slightly warm but never hot.
2. Make sure you are sitting comfortably when you feed your child. Your baby can take some time to finish and a crotchety mother will upset a child.
3. Your baby should be held in a semi-reclining position with their head slight tilted back.
4. Try not to force the nipple into your baby’s mouth. Instead, do what breastfeeding mothers are taught to do: stimulate your baby to accept the nipple by gently touching her lips with the nipple.
5. During the feed, make sure that air bubbles are flowing into the bottle, replacing the milk that is drunk. If you can’t see any air bubbles, while she’s feeding, slowly loosen the nipple ring (the part that attaches the nipple to the bottle) until you can see bubbles. Take care not to loosen it too much, as this will cause the milk to leak all over him.
6. Take your time; allow for ‘pit stops’. During these times, gently rub your child’s back to stimulate burping.
If you decide to bottle feed, then learn by paying close attention to your baby. By doing so, you will learn all the subtle signals that your baby gives out, making feeding time a beautiful and emotionally rewarding time for the both of you.