Friday, October 21, 2011

10 Helpful Tips for Bottle Fed Babies

Although doctors recommend breastfeeding as the best option, there are many reasons a mother chooses to stop breastfeeding her baby and moves to a bottle. Medical conditions could be preventing her from breastfeeding, but most often the reason is the mother’s need to go back to work. When moving to a bottle, there are several things to keep in mind.

  1. Sterilize bottles after initial purchase. Brand new bottles should be sterilized. After that, there are varying degrees to how often bottles should be sterilized. Many parents will sterilize bottles after each use, others do it once a week. Each pediatrician will have a different recommendation on how often you need to sterilize bottles. Therefore, it is best to check with your own doctor.
  2. Don’t put the bottle in the microwave. The microwave can heat unevenly, leaving hot pockets in the formula. The best way to warm a bottle is by placing it in a pot of hot (not boiling) water for a few minutes. The ol’ drops on the wrist trick will help you determine the appropriate temperature.
  3. Hold the baby at a 45 degree angle and tilt the bottle. This may seem intuitive for some, but make sure the baby is comfortable in your arms. You want the baby to swallow formula, not air. The easiest way to do this is by tilting the bottle, so the formula gets through.
  4. Don’t leave the baby alone with the bottle. At bedtime or nap time, some parents will put a baby down with a bottle. There are several reasons that this is not a good idea. If the bottle is filled with sugary formula, extended exposure can lead to tooth decay. Ear infections can also occur when the milk drips into the baby’s ears. If you are not monitoring the feeding, this is more likely to happen.
  5. Read formula labels. Not all formulas are created equal. Some formulas are designed for babies over 6 months of age, and other formulas are labeled “suitable from birth.” The ingredients are different depending on the age of your baby. If you have a preemie, it is critical you only give that infant formula that is suited for premature babies.
  6. Burp the baby. During feeding time, take breaks to burp the baby. Digesting formula can give a baby gas, so it is important to burp the baby to relieve the gas. Hold the baby up to you shoulder, facing backward, and gently give a pat on the back, until he or she burps.
  7. Choose the right products. There are so many products on the market, from bottle shape to nipple flow and shape, it can be overwhelming to new parents. What may have worked for one child may not work for another. Guidelines do exist, but it ultimately depends on each baby. Just find the bottle that works best for your infant.
  8. Don’t force the bottle. For various reasons, some babies will just reject bottle feeding. This can be frustrating for parents. There are a variety of ways to remedy this, but never force the bottle. Let the baby get used to it, if you are switching from breastfeeding to a bottle.
  9. Start with a pacifier. If a baby is rejecting a bottle, one trick worth trying is to start with a pacifier to get the ball rolling. This can start the sucking reflex before you give the baby a bottle. Each baby will react different, and it is up to the parents to pay attention to the infant’s signals.
  10. Move to a sippy cup. If you are having persistent difficulties with a bottle for an older baby, try weaning the child on to a sippy cup. Most babies are able to drink from a sippy cup by the time they are 10-12 months old, or even earlier. There is no need to try to force the bottle if nothing seems to be working.

These are just guidelines, and every baby will be different. Always consult your own pediatrician or pediatric nurse who’s familiar with YOUR baby.

Taken From Au Pair

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