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Some Tips and Advice about Bottle Feeding
It is universally accepted that breastfeeding is the best choice for babies. But if you have decided – for whatever reasons – to bottle feed your baby, then go ahead and don’t feel guilty about your decision. Here are some tips on bottle feeding.
There are many reasons why a mother decides to bottle feed. Here are some of the more common reasons why a mother bottle feeds rather than breastfeeds her.
1. The mother does not want to breastfeed. This could be for all kinds of reasons such as emotional reasons, social reasons or many other reasons. Whatever your decision, remember: it’s your decision, so stick to it and don’t pay attention to what others may say: bottle feeding doesn’t make you a bad mother; breastfeeding does not make you a good mother.
2. Some babies are unable to breastfeed due to illness or a congenital condition such as being allergic to the mother’s milk.
3. The mother may be sick and cannot produce enough breast milk.
4. The mother returns to work and her workplace does not provide facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk. Unfortunately, this is all too common.
5. The baby may be adopted and the mother may not breastfeed.
What equipment do you need for bottle feeding?
Make no mistake; bottle feeding is not a cheap option. You will need all of the following.
1. Plastic bottles.
2. Nipples – these will wear out and need replacing
3. Bottle sterilizer. A top of the range sterilizer can be quite expensive.
4. The infant milk formula. Choosing which one is often a confusing business.
What kind of baby milk for a baby to use?
1. First, never feed your child cow’s milk – or any other natural milk. Feed your baby with infant formula. Any brand is acceptable as all pass certain standards set by all government agencies. The following are the main types of formula milk you can buy.
2. Standard infant formula – look out for the label that says: ‘suitable from birth’. This formula milk is for babies up to 12 months. Standard infant formula is usually based on cow’s milk, but can be based on soy or goat’s milk. Soy may be preferred by vegan mothers or if the baby cannot tolerate cow’s protein. However, unless there are compelling reasons against using an artificial formula based on cow’s milk, it is the recommended choice.
3. Next-on infant formula – the label will say something like: ‘only suitable for babies over six months. This is for babies over 6 months – never give your newborn this kind of milk.
4. Concentrated artificial formula – is sometimes recommended for babies who often “possess” or regurgitate large amounts after feeding – this is often called reflux. The idea of a thickened formula is that it settles more in the stomach and therefore stays there! However, thickened artificial formula does not always solve the problem. You should consult your doctor before using this type of milk formula.
5. Premature infant artificial formula – is specifically designed for the nutritional needs of a premature baby. Use this type of formula only after medical consultation and it is not suitable for healthy term babies.
How to Bottle Feed a Baby?
1. Always test the temperature of the milk before eating. The old traditional method of sprinkling a few drops on the underside of your wrist is still the best method. It should feel slightly warm but never hot.
2. Make sure you are sitting comfortably when feeding your child. Your baby may take some time to finish and a raw mother will disturb a child.
3. Your baby should be held in a semi-reclined position with their head slightly tilted back.
4. Try not to force the nipple into your baby’s mouth. Instead, do what breastfeeding mothers are taught: encourage your baby to accept the nipple by gently touching her lips with the nipple.
5. During feeding, make sure that air bubbles flow into the bottle, replacing the drunk milk. If you can’t see air bubbles while she’s feeding, slowly loosen the nipple ring (the part that attaches the nipple to the bottle) until you can see bubbles. Be careful not to loosen it too much, as this will cause the milk to seep through.
6. Take your time; allow ‘repair stops’. During these times, gently rub your child’s back to induce burping.
If you decide to bottle feed, then learn by watching your baby. By doing this, you’ll learn all the subtle signals your baby is giving off, making feeding time a beautiful and emotionally rewarding time for both of you.
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