Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby and there is no rule that a mother should start bottle-feeding. Most doctors will advice breast feeding for up to two years of the baby’s development. In fact it is encouraged by society and health institutions as well. However in some cases mothers who cannot breast feed (like mothers who have HIV, TB or other illnesses) will need to resort to bottle feeding.
Bottles can also be used to store breast milk, which can help working mothers continue to breast feed longer.
Before getting started it is important to remember that when babies reach their milestones they are ready for a change and as they are very unique in their ways babies differ in the time they take to reach these targets.
If your baby is ready for the bottle then let us see what needs to be known when bottle feeding.
If you have been only breastfeeding and would like to start your baby on the bottle, remember to pick a time that your baby is hungry and also do not expect an immediate take to the bottle. It might take one week or up to even a month for the baby to accept a bottle completely. Therefore, if you were planning to return to work you would want to start bottle-feeding at least a few weeks before going to work to ease the transition from breast to bottle.
Why should I start to bottle-feed my baby?
Most working mothers will find the benefit of bottle feeding as they get back to work.
You get more freedom as the baby is now less dependent on you as their source of food. Since a formula fed baby doesn’t need you next to his/her side 24/7 you can leave your baby with the grandparents, another family member or a friend when time arises.
The dad has a share of the pleasure. As it is always nice to see your baby feeding and it helps to increase the bond between the parent and baby your partner might be missing out in this. When the baby is bottle fed he can have a few of these pleasant and special moments to himself too.
Not just your partner the older siblings in the family, grandparents and other member of the family can take part in the process which builds healthy relationships between them and the baby.
Another important reason most mothers tell us about is there is less embarrassment for the modest. Mothers are self conscious when comes to feeding the baby in the public. If your baby has adapted to the feeding bottle you will not feel uncomfortable to feed your baby again in public.
How to choose a bottle for my baby?
It is always important to buy the right and good bottle for your baby. Even though buying one means a small visit to the nearest baby material stall there is so much to consider before choosing one. We always recommend you to check the manufacturing date of the bottle as the date matters, the most recent the better.
Don’t buy many bottles for your baby because he/she will get used to a bottle with continuous feeding and we don’t want any confusion.
Do not buy dented, scratched or otherwise damaged bottles for your baby.
Also there are two types of baby feeding bottles in the market, glass and plastic. Most mothers prefer glass bottles. But they can be messy as they are heavy and a single drop is enough to make it go shattering into tiny pieces. Then we have the option of a plastic bottle. However as they are artificial they may contain unhealthy substances. It is recommended to select a plastic feeding bottle which states that it is Bisphenol A (BPA) free, which is the known chemical agent that is harmful when using plastic bottles.
How to choose the baby bottle teat?
- First the material it’s made out of matters and we recommend the silicon and latex ones. If you want a durable teat your option is those silicone teats which are firm and could be used many times. However the latex teats are softer and more flexible making it easier for your baby to suck food out of it but it needs constant changing
- The shape of the teat is our next check. We have different shapes of teats in the market today. Orthodontic ones that look and feel almost like the mother’s nipple, angled ones that are with a built-in tilt and vented ones which are made with a tiny hole to let in air to prevent gas. It is hard to say which is best for your baby so you may test all of them and choose the one your baby is comfortable with
- Size and the flow matters too. Your baby will find it difficult and irritating to feed on a teat that is too big and too small. So if you’re a fresh starter, start with the smallest and work your way up and choose the best one for your baby. Most products will detail flow along with recommended age on the bottle teat packaging
- Make it a habit to check its condition. If liquid rushes out when holding the teat upside down, if it’s sticky, thinning, discoloring, tearing or swelling then the teat has expired and definitely needs to be replaced
- What is the best way to clean the bottle?
- Always clean and sterilize your baby’s bottle. Soak the bottle and its teat in warm water separately and use a brush to clean them so that no deposit is left unclean. Rinse again in fresh water before you sterilize them in either of these ways,
- Boil the feeding equipment for ten minutes
- Leave them in a container covered with water and sterilizing substances for at least half an hour
- If the equipment can be microwaved do so for five minutes
Check if the feeding equipment is appropriate for this by looking up on the package it came in or ringing up the manufacturing company