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Bottle feeding your baby

bottlefeedbabyAlthough breastfeeding is the ideal start for your baby, not all new mums can master it. But don’t worry – you can feed your child in the knowledge that bottle-feeding does have some advantages…

Since the message that breast is best is drummed into new mums, many who bottle-feed often feel guilty about their decision. But they shouldn’t. It’s important to remember that this decision is entirely personal and new mums have to make the right choice for themselves and their baby.

Perhaps you are one of the many women who feel guilty about bottle-feeding, but there are several reasons why you might take this option, and your baby will thrive on formula milk.

  • One advantage of bottle-feeding is that your partner will be able to help. This is especially useful at night, when you can have more of a well-earned rest.
  • Bottle-feeding your baby will require more equipment than if you breastfeed and it’s vital that it is all properly sterilised so there’s no risk of infection.
  • You will need to wash and sterilise the teats and bottles every time you use them. There are three types of steriliser – steam, microwave or sterilising solution – or you can boil the bottles and teats in a saucepan for 10 minutes before you use them.

Making up the bottles
You will need to use formula milk and it’s important that you follow the instructions on the packet carefully. Use boiled water which has been left to cool for no longer than half an hour. Fill the bottle to the marked level, then measure the milk powder with the scoop provided. Use a knife to level off the scoop, but avoid packing the powder down. Add this to the water in the bottle. Put the teat and cover on and then shake well.

The Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency advise that feeds are made up fresh. If you do need to prepare a feed for later, they suggest that freshly boiled water is kept in a sealed flask and fresh formula milk is made up when required.

Be comfortable
Watch your baby while she is feeding and iif she is making lots of noise, she may be taking in too much air, which will make her windy. Hold your baby at a 45º angle and
tilt the bottle so that the teat and neck are always filled with formula.

Always sit with your baby while you  are feeding her, otherwise there is a risk she might choke.

How much?
In the early weeks, it’s important to guide your baby, but she should establish her own feeding pattern after a couple of months. Offer her the bottle every two to three hours at first, or when she seems hungry. Until your baby reaches about 4.5kg, she’ll probably take 30-90ml per feeding. Talk to your health visitor if you’re worried about your baby’s weight or think she’s not getting enough formula or having too much.

You will need to buy:

  • at least six bottles
  • at least six teats
  • formula milk (powdered cow’s milk)
  • sterilising equipment
  • bottle and teat brush.

Bottles and teats
There are a bewildering number available and many mums will try a few before they find one that their baby is happy with. It’s worth experimenting if you have a fussy feeder.

Cleaning and hygiene
Make sure your bottles are washed properly by cleaning them with a bottle brush after use. It’ll prevent milk deposits, which harbour bacteria, from being left on the bottle.

This article was first published in at home’s ’Parenting with Jo Frost’ July 2011. [Read the digital edition here]

Image: Getty

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