Tips on Bottle Nursing a Baby
You have made the decision to bottle feed your baby. There are many different items and brands available to help you. You will need to determine which are best for your baby and learn how to use them. There are other things to learn, too, like how to hold your baby for feeding and how to burp your baby. Let's take a look at what you need to know to successfully bottle feed your baby.
How to Choose a Bottle & Nipple
There are an abundance of types of both bottles and nipples available for use. In choosing a bottle, parents must consider if they want a glass or plastic bottle system. Glass bottles are the most durable and will last the longest. Plastic bottles have the benefit of being lighter in weight, and there are also plastic bottles with disposable plastic inserts that make clean up very easy. If plastic is chosen, BPA (bisphenol A) free is recommended. After you have decided which type of bottle you will use, purchase at least a dozen of that type to be sure you have enough.
Nipples are also available in various styles in both rubber and silicone. They may be flat or more pointed, and they have different size holes in them to regulate the flow of milk from slow to fast. The recommended nipple design is that which resembles a natural nipple. Again, once you have decided on a nipple, purchase at least a dozen of them. Nipples will get worn and crack with use. They will need to be replaced periodically.
While much information is available on the different types of bottles and nipples available, the decision ultimately comes down to what mother and baby are most comfortable using. To be on the safe side, ask friends and family members what type they used and what they would recommend. Then, use that information along with the details provided here to make your choice.
How to Choose the Right Formula for Your Baby
There are three basic types of formula available: milk-based, soy-based, and specialty formulas. Milk-based formula is made with cow's milk. Soy-based formula is made from soy beans and is a good alternative for parents wanting to exclude animal proteins from the diet or for those babies allergic to cow's milk or who have lactose intolerance. Specialty formulas are designed for those babies who are allergic to or unable to tolerate milk or soy formulas. Specialty formulas contain proteins that have been broken down for easy digestion.
To determine which formula is right for your baby, ask your pediatrician for a recommendation. This gives you a place to start. Unless your baby develops vomiting, diarrhea, rash or any other sign of allergy to the formula, you will not need to change.
How to Hold Your Baby for Feeding
When feeding your baby it is important to be sure that the head is slightly elevated. This makes it easier for your baby to eat and swallow. The head should rest between the middle of your upper arm and your shoulder. Support your baby's body by curving your arm around its back with your hand firmly around the baby's bottom. This position allows both parent and baby to gaze at each other while feeding.
Position the bottle in your baby's mouth. Hold the bottle at a downward angle so that both the nipple and the section of bottle nearest the baby's mouth are filled with formula. This will prevent your baby from ingesting air and developing gas or stomach discomfort.
Feeding your baby is one of the most intimate times you will share. The bond between parent and child is strengthened during this time. Be sure to enjoy this special closeness!
How to Burp Your Baby
Babies naturally ingest both formula and air when eating. Your baby will need to be burped during and after each feeding. Newborns need to be burped after each 1/2 ounce of feeding; older babies should be burped after each 2 ounces of feeding. During feeding, resume feeding after the burp or after two minutes of attempting to burp.
The following are three of the most common methods of burping a baby. Some basic steps are necessary with all three methods. First, whenever burping your baby, lay a burp cloth over the area where baby's head and mouth will be to catch any spit up that may occur while burping. Next, once in the burping position, you will firmly pat or rub your baby's back for up to two minutes or until you hear a burp. Not all baby's burp; and not all baby's burp all of the time. With time, you will get to know your baby.
Probably the most common method of burping is baby is over the shoulder. This is a comfortable position for both parent and baby. Gently hold your baby up to your shoulder. Proceed with burping your baby.
Another method of burping is to position the baby in a sitting position on your lap. For newborns, it is important to support the chin with the thumb and forefinger due to the weak neck. While your baby is sitting in this position, proceed with burping your baby.
Some parents like to lay the baby on the lap on its tummy. By crossing the legs before laying the baby down, the head of the baby will be elevated on the higher leg. Proceed with burping your baby. This technique is demonstrated in the video below.
How to Know When Your Baby is Full
Because your baby cannot tell you when he is full, it is important to watch for signs. Your baby will push the nipple out of his mouth or just quit sucking when he has had enough. He may turn his head away from the nipple. Your baby may fall asleep when full. All of these signs are good indicators that your baby has had enough to eat.
How to Tell if Your Baby is Eating Enough
You will know that your baby is getting enough to eat by monitoring diaper changes and making regular visits to the pediatrician. You should expect your baby to have several wet diapers and 1-2 bowel movements daily. Visits to your pediatrician will measure growth of your baby at regular intervals. If your baby is growing appropriately and needing diaper changes he is getting enough to eat.
Bottle Feeding a Baby - Video
Feeding your baby is important for both nutrition and bonding. It can also be one of the most pleasant times you share. With a little preparation you will be able to bottle feed your baby easily. In response to your loving care, get ready to watch your baby grow!
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