Bottle Feeding Your Baby
Babies who are not breastfed need to be bottle fed instead with formula milk. This is made from soy or cow’s milk modified to make it more suitable for a baby.
Getting OrganisedBottle feeding requires:
- Bottles and teats. Have at least six 200ml bottles to start with. Different style teats are available – the smaller hole or ‘slow flow’ type might be best at first.
- Formula milk. Formula is sold in powder form or ready-made (more expensive but useful when travelling or on holiday). Most brands are available in newborn, older baby and toddler versions.
- A method of sterilising – for example, sterilising fluid, a plug-in steam steriliser, or a microwave steriliser. Alternatively, feeding equipment can be boiled for ten minutes
- A bottle brush for washing up (or use a dishwasher)
Making up a Feed from Powdered Milk
- Boil the kettle and allow it to cool
- Pour the correct amount of water into the bottle
- Measure out the correct amount of powder as instructed on the tin. Level off the scoop with a knife
- Shake the bottle until the powder dissolves
- Check the temperature of the milk on the inside of the wrist. It should feel slightly warm
Making up Feeds in AdvanceIt’s a good idea to make up several bottles at once and store them in the fridge. Warm the bottle by putting it into a basin of hot water until it reaches the right temperature. Using a microwave is not advised because of the potential for overheating or ‘hot spots’ which could scald a baby’s mouth.
How and When to FeedAn advantage of bottle feeding is that other members of the family can help. Feeding is a great time for getting to know each other. Get comfortable, hold the baby close and tip the bottle so that milk completely fills the teat.
It’s a matter of personal choice whether to feed on demand or to follow a routine. For the first few weeks, it’s probably easiest to let the baby dictate when it needs to be fed. Some mothers feed on demand at first and then follow more of a routine (for example, every three or four hours) as a pattern starts to emerge.
Some babies feed more frequently in the evening, but go longer between feeds earlier in the day. Some babies may start to ‘go through the night’ after only a couple of months; others may take much longer. There are no hard and fast rules.
After a feed, gently rub or pat the baby’s back to help bring up any trapped wind.
How Much to FeedNew babies only take one or two ounces at first. As they grow, they’ll drink more. If they stop drinking, it means they are probably full – it’s best not to make them take more. If a baby is drinking the whole bottle, try an extra ounce to ensure they are getting enough. On very hot days, a bottle of cooled, boiled water will help keep the baby hydrated.
Steady weight gain, regular bowel movements and plenty of wet nappies are all signs that a baby is getting enough milk.