Top tips: how to bottle feed a baby
Get prepared, get comfortable, get feeding.
03 Aug 2021
Becoming a parent for the first time can be overwhelming. Or the second time. Or the third!
It can be hard to know if you’re doing the right thing. But fortunately, there’s a lot of great advice out there. And some useful baby tech that can take the guesswork out of things.
We’ve pulled together some top bottle-feeding tips to help you find what works for you and your little ones.
First things first – sterilise
Your new-born is very vulnerable right now, so their developing immune system needs all the help it can get. You can sterilise at home using boiling and steaming. But if you want an easier option, this Tommee Tippee Ultra UV 3-in-1 steriliser uses UV light to kill 99.9% of bacteria without the need for chemicals. Plus, it’s a great place to store bottles and keep them clean.
But if you’d like to stick to steam, Tommee Tippee Super-steam Advanced Electric Bottle Steriliser can do the job and keep bottles sterilised for up to 24 hours.
Get your bottle ready
If you’re using formula, always follow the instructions carefully. Warm a bottle under a hot tap for a few minutes or put it in a bowl of hot water.
Even better, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Day & Night Baby Milk Dispenser can take the guesswork out of it and prep the perfect bottle.
If your breastmilk is freshly pumped, there’s no need to warm it. But if it’s from the fridge or freshly thawed, you should use the same warming process as formula. Whatever you decide to do, don’t use a microwave. They can heat milk unevenly, and you obviously don’t want to burn your baby’s mouth. Plus, it can destroy precious nutrients that your growing baby needs.
Feed them as soon as they are hungry
Although you’ll have a regular feeding schedule, sometimes your baby will be hungrier sooner. It’s always best to feed them when they show first signs of being hungry. These can include: sucking at their hands or clothes, opening their mouths while turning their head from side to side, making lip smacking sounds or low-pitched wailing.
As soon as you notice these things, it’s best to get feeding. That way they’re more likely to feed at a comfortable pace without guzzling and spluttering.
Always test the bottle
Before feeding starts, shake up the milk and then test the temperature on the inside of your wrist. Lukewarm is what you should be aiming for. A bottle warmer should give you the perfect temperature every time, but always give it a test just to be sure.
Feeding sessions can last up to 40 minutes or more – so it’s best to find a position you can maintain. Make baby comfortable by supporting their head in the crook of your arm and keep them at a 45-degree angle to help them feed comfortably.
Keep the bottle at an angle so the milk flows slowly. Then you can control how much milk they’re taking (especially if they’re an enthusiastic feeder) and it will also help prevent choking, coughing and keep them from taking in too much air.
Halfway through, switch arms. It will give your aching arm a rest and give them something else to look at too.
Make sure the bottle cap is just right
It’s important that the bottle cap is not too loose and not too tight. Too loose means too much milk coming out at once. Too tight and not enough will come out. You’ll know if this happens because you baby will be making lots of sucking sounds and probably frustrated noises.
Bottle feeding trouble shooting
Don’t expect to get bottle feeding right the first time. This is bound to take a bit of practise. The good news is that your baby should give you plenty of feedback. So, here are things to look out for if things don’t seem to be going right:
- Baby is restless, cries or won’t feed
This can often be the result of gas. Remember that your baby’s tummy is tiny, so it’s easy for them to get uncomfortable. Gently help them burp so you can get back to feeding.
- Baby seems uncomfortable after feeding
Crying, wheezing or a rash after feeding? The first thing to do is to talk to a medical expert. But no reason to worry. If you’re feeding them formula, it could be that he’s intolerant to cow’s milk protein. Just try different formulas until you find one they take to.
- Baby sounds stuffy
Like all of us, babies can catch colds. This can be a big problem when they’re trying to breathe through their nose while feeding. A cool-mist humidifier can help, or you can ask for the pharmacist for some suitable medicine. But don’t panic! Once she’s sounding better, she’ll make up for those lost feeds!
- Baby drops off to sleep
Typical isn’t it? When you want them to sleep, they don’t – but when you want them to feed, they sleep! You can wake them up gently by tickling softly or burping them. You might also think about changing the feeding schedule so that there’s a clear line between naptime and feeding time.
But you should also check if your baby is really asleep. Feeding time can be so relaxing that they’re actually still awake but just enjoying some milky bliss!
Enjoy your time!
We know you’re tired, but feeding is a great time to bond with your baby. Make sure you have skin contact to get the love hormones flowing, stare into your baby’s eyes (no further than 10 inches away so they can see you) and talk or sing to them.
Treasure these moments because they go fast! *Sniff*