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Baby bottle feeding basics

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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Im a first time mum wif many questions to ask but there is 1 thing i need to know, ive heard many things on how to make bottles and how not new born is feedin every hour and drinkin 1 ounch a time so is it best to make 1,2,3 or 4 ounch or how long can you leave the bottle once you have made it 1 hour, 2 ??????
by zina 14th May 2010, 4:07pm
I have to just say that my midwife was fab - although information not really forthcoming which was a problem - thank goodness for the internet eh? I felt incredibly guilty that I didn't think i'd be able to breastfeed and had chosen to use bottles - I sat and cried as I confessed to my midwife what an awful mother I was going to be (we are led to feel guilty, I do believe) and she said to me - actually some of the same as the lady below - surely it's better for you to feed with a bottle, the baby thrive and you feel happy and contented - much less likely to lead to feelings of PN depression - doesn't that make the bond stronger?? - happy mum, happy baby. Still didn't get any information abut what, when and how though - I don't think she is allowed though - but it really made a difference to how I felt - no longer like some evil, usless mother - well, not for not breastfeeding anyway ;o)
by Manzers 21st Jan 2010, 9:17am
I totally agree. It is disgusting that midwives do not provide information on bottle feeding and actively discourage it. I think this is the kind of behaviour that can contribute to post-natal depression by chipping away at a mother's confidence and making her feel like she has 'failed' if she can't breastfeed. My midwife told me that she isn't 'allowed' to give me any information about bottle feeding.
by cjcl 22nd Oct 2009, 9:10am
i'm a new father, just over a month now, and was quite horrified as an NHS worker to find out how unhelpful and unsupportive midwives and healthvisitors can be with mothers who choose to, or simply can't breast feed. My wife had a very traumatic time with the birth of our son which left her tired and drained afterwards. things went so badly i spent the first three nights of my boys life sleeping in an armchair in on the delivery suite so that I could help feed etc. the internet and online forums have been so much help already to me and my wife. the tips i have picked up and used succussfully noq include. making a bathc of bottles of and storing them in the back of he fridge rahter than following the government guidlines. there are thousands of people doing it so don't be scared!! another tip is with constipation. our son takes 4 scoops of powder with 5 ml of water with every feed. keeping up his volume of fluid intake. we've also tried a little pinch of brown sugar in his bottle to assist his 'number two's'. this will not go down well but another tip we picked up and tried was using senokot syrup. two mls in one bottle and after 8 to 12 hrs any constipation was released, with no pain or crying. not everyone will want to try these tips. however what i do say is havethe conifidance to stand up to the midwives and ditricts nurses. you'll be a lot happier and will enjoy parenting a lot better!!! more tips to follow.
by captainkremin 27th Aug 2009, 8:41am
my baby took a bottle no problems for weeks - now all of a sudden he won't - we have tried diiferent teats, teething gel etc everything - any suggestions?
by AskBaby5579 15th Nov 2006, 9:51am