Breastfeeding is extremely important to babies and newborns, with the health benefits extending beyond nutritional value. It is also a bonding experience that can only be shared between mother and child. This said, many mothers cannot breastfeed their babies for health reasons or because they need to wean their children off breast milk. When switching to bottle feeding however, there are some techniques and hygiene concerns that you should be aware of.
Here are some helpful tips for bottle feeding your baby:
1. BPA Free Plastic Bottles
BPA is a chemical commonly used in plastic bottles, including baby bottles, but it has been linked with health conditions like cancer, diabetes, and hormonal disorders. Make it a point to use BPA free milk bottles that are made of high quality food grade plastic. These bottles may be more expensive than normal bottles, but when it comes to your child’s health no expense can be too great.
2. Number & Size Of Bottles
If you’re bottle feeding a newborn, you can start with small 4-ounce bottles and once your baby is around three to four months old, you can switch to 8-ounce bottles. Always keep a few spare bottles – ideally, you should have at least half a dozen baby bottles. As your baby grows, so will his feeding size and you can get bigger bottles.
3. Cleaning Bottles
Hygiene is of the utmost importance when feeding a baby, as there’s always a risk of bacterial infection through contamination. Make sure to wash and sterilize bottles thoroughly after each use, using bottle and teat cleaning brushes. To sterilize bottles, use bottle sterilizers or allow them to soak in boiling water for at least ten minutes at a time.
4. Check Nipples Of Bottles
Cracks frequently tend to form in nipples and aside from harboring bacteria, they can also hamper feeding. Use the correct nipple size to ensure proper milk flow. Newborns require slow flow nipples, while babies past 6 months to a year can use fast flow nipples. The nipple size is also important as it reduces the risk of choking from fast milk flow.
5. Leftover Milk
After each feed, discard any leftover milk. Never refrigerate or reheat milk for your baby after feeding, whether it is formula milk or fresh milk. Milk spoils easily can cause severe digestive distress and diarrhea in your baby, which can be life threatening at this age.
6. Temperature Of Milk
This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s easy to forget to check the milk temperature when you’re in a rush, trying to juggle household chores and feed your baby. You don’t need to use a thermometer; simply drip a few droplets onto your wrist to make sure that it’s not too hot.
Follow these simple tips, and you are unlikely to encounter any problems bottle feeding your baby.
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