This is an image of 6 tommee tippee branded baby bottles

Bottle feeding tips

This is an image of a 2 and a half month old being bottle fedSince having my first child I have come across a lot of bottle feeding tips, guidelines and information. That is exactly what this post is all about. 8 questions about feeding your newborn that you will need to know before you get started. I have covered how often to bottle feed your little one, how much to feed her, an equipment check list and plenty more. Whether you are solely bottle feeding or combining breast and formula milk, there are a few things that you need to know before you begin. I breastfed my first born for 6 weeks and gave her a few expressed bottles during this period too, at 6 weeks old she was ill with bronchiolitis and was also diagnosed with reflux. With so much going on she found it impossible to feed from me, we were advised to bottle feed her medicated formula milk, these are the questions I had before I started bottle feeding and the the most helpful tips and advice I was given, I hope you find it useful:

What equipment will I need?

If you are solely formula feeding, I would say you need to have the following equipment in your house and ready to use:

  • 6x bottles
  • 6x new born teats
  • Bottle brush
  • Steriliser
  • Thermal flask
  • 3-5 cartons of ready made formula milk
  • Storage container for transporting small amounts of formula
  • Plenty of bibs

How often should I offer a milk feed?

Your newborn will develop a feeding routine after a short space of time of being bottle fed, however, it is still important that she is fed when displaying signs of being hungry. The signs of being hungry are:

  • Moving around and fidgeting as she wakes up
  • Moving her head and mouth (as though she is looking for something to suckle)
  • Sucking on clothes, objects or her fingers.
  • It is worth noting that young babies often want to feed little and often, your baby won’t necessarily go longer between feeds just because she took more milk than usual in her previous feed and won’t necessarily be hungrier earlier than usual if she took less.

How do you prepare formula milk?

This is an image of a phillips avent steriliserAll bottles will need to be washed and sterilised before each use and the formula made up by following the instructions on the packet. You must boil fresh tap water and not re-boil old kettle water. You must also make the feed up between 10-30 minutes after the kettle has boiled (or at least before the boiling water has cooled to below 70 degrees Celsius); this is to ensure that any bacteria that may have developed in the formula milk powder is destroyed before it is consumed.

How do I bottle feed when out and about?

The safest way to prepare each bottle of milk is to make it fresh at the time. This is not always practical, especially if you are dropping your little one off at a nursery or a childminders or you are out for a long period during the day. To avoid the risk of bacteria growth in the bottles, you can either use ready to use cartons (which are the safest option as they are sterile) or pour freshly boiled water into a thermal flask to take with you. You can then make up the feed when needed.

How much formula milk does my baby need?

Newborns will initially take very small amounts of formula milk. When they are approximately a week old, you should start offering around 150-200ml of milk per kg of your baby’s weight per day. To work out how much to offer per feed, this amount should then be divided by the amount of daily bottles you are giving. This rule should work up until the age 6 months.

When can I give my baby cow’s milk?

This is a picture of a pint of blue full fat milk

Most infant formulas are based on cow’s milk and are given as an alternative to breastfeeding. However, whole or ‘full fat’ cow’s milk (the one with the blue lid) should only be introduced to your baby once she is 12 months old. Cow’s milk simply does not contain enough iron and nutrients to be given to babies under 12 months old. However, you can use cow’s milk in food from around 6 months. Once your toddler is 2 years old, she is allowed to have semi-skimmed cow’s milk. You should only do this if she is already a good eater with a healthy, varied diet. Skimmed milk should not be given to children under 5 years of age.

Do I need to wind my baby after every feed?

You may need to wind him after every bottle feed; when a baby bottle feeds, it is not unusual to swallow air at the same time. This will cause discomfort that will only be eased by him releasing the air- in the form of a burp. The recommended way of burping your baby is to hold her upright against your shoulder or sit her on your lap, leaning slightly forwards, you should then gently and patiently rub his back so that any trapped air can easily find its way out again.

Why does my baby vomit after a feed?

If she brings up milk just after a feed it can be upsetting and worrying and is something you should seek advice on. It could be caused by reflux, this is where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the oesophagus (gullet), this will result in her experiencing pain or discomfort after eating and you should contact your GP immediatley if you think this is the case. Other factors that may cause your baby to vomit after a feed are:

  • Giving your baby a teat that is too big: Fast flow teats can cause your baby to take too much milk, too quickly and therefore cause ‘possetting’ or ‘regurgitation’.
  • Lying your baby down too quickly after a feed: Try not to lye your baby down immediately after a feed and advise family members to do the same.
  • Too much milk. Some babies prefer to feed little and often: If he is regularly sick after feeding, as well as speaking to your health visitor or GP you can also try offering smaller amounts of milk more regularly.
  • I hope you found these bottle feeding tips helpful, if you have anything to add to this, please use the comments box below. Thanks for reading.
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