Practical Parenting – Bottlefeeding

May 21, 2011

Sterilising bottles is be a time consuming and inconvenient job but you can reduce the number of times you need to put the steriliser on by having more bottles. In the early days I’d suggest 6 – 8 small bottles is ideal but because you won’t need as many once your baby’s feeding pattern settles down you can save yourself a fortune by borrowing them from friends and family. You will, however have to buy new teats as these get worn out with use.

Although it’s more expensive, readymade formula in a carton is so much more convenient to use than the powdered variety. Newborns tend to feed erratically in the early days and using ready-made formula allows you to feed on demand instead of forecasting what your child is going to eat, which is really only possible when your child settles into a routine. We used it in the early days and then switched to powder when things have settled down. Ready made formula is also meant to be easier for newborns to digest than powder formula and the fact that it doesn’t need to be shaken like powder formula there are less bubbles in it to upset a newborn’s small stomach.

We’ve only every given room temperature formula to our kids, which meant that they were never fussy about having their milk warmed up. But if you’re weaning a baby from breast milk to formula you may find that warming up formula to body temperature might make the transition easier.

I’ve found it easier to wean my babies off bottles at night if they have a physical cue that helps soothe them. For instance i used to stroke my sons head when he was having his bottle at night and nap time and eventhough he’s 3 and doesn’t have bottles at night anymore he will strokes his head to soothe himself off to sleep.

Formula needs to be made fresh as required but to make life easier you can measure out the boiled water into bottles and store them in a cupboard until they’re needed later. Although the bottles and water would have been sterile to begin with we always used up the water within 24 hours just to be on the safe side 

If you run out of cooled boiled water for bottles you can use Avian instead. It’s has the lowest sodium content of all of the mineral waters on the market.

Make the night feeds easier by bringing either a carton of readymade formula and a sterilised bottle upstairs with you or a bottle of boiled water and pre-measured formula powder – neither of which need any heating up. Avent do a great three-compartment storage container that works great for this or trips out.

The teat of bottles can get blocked by powdered formula, so test it before you start feeding. If you move to a thicker formula you may need a teat with a greater flow rate to avoid blockages or if you warm the formula up it becomes less viscous and flows better.

Bibs can get soaked when a baby is being bottle fed. To reduce the number of bib changes a day use a muslin cloth just under the chin to catch the spillage when bottle feeding. This also reduces the risk of a rash developing under the chin and in the neck crease.

If you find that your baby is pulling off the bottle it may be because

  • The flow from the teat is too slow and your baby is getting frustrated
  • The hole in the teat has become blocked and your baby is getting frustrated
  • Your babies front teeth are coming in and it hurts them to suck.
  • Your baby is getting tired of bottles and wants to move onto solids.

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