Whether you’re breastfeeding, pumping and feeding your baby with a bottle, formula feeding or a combination of all these, bottle-feeding is an art, and with the right tools everything is easier. Here’s how to make it work for you:
1. Lose the guilt No matter your reasons for using a bottle to feed your baby – so your partner can join in the feeding, so your mom can take the baby while you get a massage, so you can supplement with formula – choosing a bottle with benefits can help in so many ways. If nursing is not working for you, if you need a combo of your milk and formula or you’ve chosen to pump and bottle feed exclusively (your ranks are growing), feel good about your decision and ask yourself if you’re a better mom stressed out and sleep deprived, or relaxed and giving your angel a bottle? Yeah, we thought so.
2. Choose the right nipple Doctors agree the best bottle is one with a nipple that replicates a breast nipple most closely. If you’re nursing, you want a nipple that acts like your breast; if you’re exclusively bottle-feeding, a nipple that promotes healthy digestion and oral development is best. NUK® bottles have an orthodontic nipple that promotes proper feeding and healthy oral development, and prevents colic: The nipple flattens (like yours does while the baby is feeding), and fits your baby’s mouth with the hole at the top against his palate (not at the tip like a round nipple), so the milk mixes with his saliva to start digestion immediately as he feeds. This unique orthodontic shape also helps the baby move his tongue properly for optimal sucking, and prevents misalignment of his jaw and teeth, important even before they start to come in. (Can we promise no braces later on? Maybe not, but it’s a start). This orthodontic shape and the wide base of the nipple, mimic your breast so the transition between breast and bottle – and back — is easier.
3. Use a breast feeding pillow Of course, you want to position your baby for a nice long feeding session, and one of the best ways to ensure your, her or even Dad’s comfort is with strategically placed pillows. A good nursing pillow adjusts to fit anyone, and will support your arms for good bottle feeding and bonding. Be sure to change sides halfway through.
4. Find a bottle you love Most moms find that their baby’s first bottle doesn’t need to be humungous. The NUK® Bottle with Perfect Fit™ Nipple comes in two sizes – 5 ounces and 10 ounces – and the small size is perfect for infants. And the patterns are so much fun! The space-age patterns are adorable for little boys or girls. The fact that they’re made in a glass-like, shatterproof, non-BPA material and feature the NUK® Anti-Colic Air System orthodontic nipple gives you even more to feel great about.
5. Read your baby’s cues When she’s ready to stop eating, your baby will turn her head away a little. Resist the impulse to finish off the last bit and respect what she’s telling you – it could lead to healthier eating habits in the future. And also resist the urge to save any formula left for a later feeding; bacteria breeds rapidly in it, so throw unused formula away.
6. Make sure she’s getting enough If your baby isn’t eating solids yet and is less than six months old, she should be getting about two to two and a half ounces of formula per pound of body each day. If you’re lazy like I was, just make sure she’s gaining weight, and check her diaper – after the first few days she should be having three or more bowel movements and producing six wet diapers daily.
7. To burp or not to burp? Most breastfeeding moms burp their babies when they switch sides and when they are done; formula-fed babies should be burped every three to five minutes during a feeding (about halfway), and then when you are finished. To minimize gas problems, also make sure his head is higher than his belly during feedings.
8. Pack bottles that are easy to spot If your baby goes to day care or even to a babysitter’s house, your Fashion Elephant design bottles won’t get mixed in with all those plain bottles, unless your friends are smart enough to already have a few.
9. Watch for allergies If your baby is displaying symptoms of an allergy – diarrhea or constipation, fussiness, colic, vomiting or skin rashes – he could be reacting to the formula or – if you’re nursing – something in your milk. Ask your pediatrician to recommend a different formula; sometimes just a switch will do it. If you’re breastfeeding, try eliminating common allergenic foods such as diary and peanuts, one at a time, for two weeks. Watch your baby and if symptoms go away, but come back when you slowly re-introduce, you have your culprit. And keep eating broccoli and garlic, they are not causing gas, and these flavors will help your baby acquire a healthy palate.
10. Keep it safe You need to sterilize your bottles, nipples and rings before each use. As soon as you can after feeding, wash them in hot soapy water first, rinse, then either place in a sterilizer (microwave or stand alone) or boil in a covered pan for 10 minutes.