Bottlefeeding can be a warm, loving experience — cuddle your baby closely, gaze into her eyes, and talk to her. Don’t leave your baby alone and never prop the bottle ― not only will you miss the opportunity to bond with her while she feeds, but there’s also a danger that the bottle will slip out of position or she’ll choke. If you need to bottlefeed your baby, follow these tips to make the experience a safe and good one for bubba.
1) Get bubba into position
Get into a position comfortable for both you and baby, remember that you must NEVER feed your baby while they are lying down flat. This might lead to an ear infection (caused by milk flowing back down their throat to the middle ear) and they could also choke on the milk.
A good way to position them is cradling them in a semi-upright position on your lap while supporting their head with your arm. This is to make swallowing easier.
2) Ensure that baby is never alone
It is important that your baby isn’t left alone while drinking from the bottle. This is to ensure that they don’t choke on the milk and that they have a steady flow of milk from the bottle. A plus about bottlefeeding is the additional opportunity to bond with bubba: Maintain eye contact with your infant and talk continuously while feeding them from the bottle.
3) Tilt the bottle to keep the teat full
This is an important step to remember. By tilting the bottle and keeping the teat full of milk, it reduces the chance of bubba sucking in air instead of milk. If your child sucks in too much air, it will cause them to get windy and uncomfortable. If the teat is flattened during feeding, release the suction by poking into the corner of bubba’s mouth with a clean finger or move the bottle gently around inside their mouth to get air back into it.
4) Check that milk is at the right temperature
It is not necessary to feed your baby hot or even warm milk; milk at room temperature, a slightly warmer temperature or even cold milk is said to be acceptable.
However, if you want to feed bubba warm milk, always check its temperature by squirting a few drops on your wrist to test how hot it is. Do not feed them milk that is too hot as it may burn their mouth.
It is also important that you do not heat milk by placing the bottle in the microwave. Firstly, microwaving might cause hot spots (which could burn bubba’s mouth) and inconsistent heating of the milk. Secondly, it is dangerous for bubba as the bottle might not be suitable for microwaving and low levels of BPA might leach into the formula.
5) Do not force them to accept the bottle or finish the milk
Don’t just push the bottle against their mouth — slowly encourage baby to open their mouth and accept the teat. This can be done by gently brushing the teat against bubba’s lips or against their cheek — which will cause them to turn their head towards the bottle; when they open their mouth, you can put the bottle in.
Watch out for cues such as baby turning their head away and pushing at the bottle. This signals that bubba has had enough. If you over-feed baby by forcing them to finish a bottle, it will most likely make them uncomfortable and grumpy.