Guide to bottle feeding your baby formula milk and advice on feeding routines.
As with breast feeding, you should ensure you are sitting comfortably on a chair or sofa before bottle feeding, ensuring that you arms are well supported.
Hold your baby half-sitting with her head in the crook of your elbow and her back along your forearm; this will allow her to swallow safely and easily. If your baby is lying back too far they may find it difficult to swallow. As you feed her, keep your face close to hers and talk to her frequently.
You may want to warm the milk before feeding, although it will be perfectly all right if it has simply been brought to room temperature. Many babies like their bottles cold. Warm the milk by placing the bottle in a bowl or large mug of hot water for a few minutes, then shake the bottle to distribute the warmer milk at the edges. Do not warm the bottle in a microwave as this can result in "hot spots" in the milk that could scald your baby's mouth.
Before you begin bottle feeding, test the temperature of the milk by tipping a couple of drops of formula milk on your wrist. It should be lukewarm; neither hot nor cold to the touch. Once milk is heated, it should never be reheated as this very rapidly increases the bacteria levels in the milk, which is one of the main causes of upset tummies in formula fed babies.
The hole in the nipple should allow the milk to flow in a steady stream of several drops per second when the bottle is inverted. If the hole is too large, your baby will get too much too fast and splutter; if it is too small, your baby will get tired from sucking before she is satisfied. Teats are sold with different ratings, which offer an indication as to how fast the milk will flow. As your baby gets older, they will probably prefer a teat that provides a faster milk flow.
Slightly loosen the cap of the bottle so that air can get in.
Insert the nipple carefully into her mouth. If your baby does not start sucking, you can try stroking her cheek to elicit her sucking reflex.
If your baby does not appear to want to take any more formula, gently remove bottle from her mouth, sliding your little finger into the corner of her mouth if needs be in order to break the suction on the teat. You may well find that after burping her and perhaps changing arms so that she has a different view, she will take more milk.
Hold the bottle at an angle and keep the teat full of milk to prevent your baby from swallowing air with the milk.
Bottle feeding can be a close bonding experience, especially for fathers who are unable to experience breast feeding.
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