Whether you’re going to be expressing and storing breastmilk for your baby’s caregiver to give him, or if you’re going to let bubba take formula milk, it’s essential to learn how to use bottles safely.
We rounded up the do’s and don’ts of bottlefeeding.
Infographic: Syahirah Maszaid
* Age appropriate If you’re feeding formula milk to your baby, make sure that the formula is age appropriate. Formula milk for newborns is of a different makeup, as compared to milk for toddlers. Stage 1 milk is usually whey-dominant, but is also made of casein. Follow-on milk, for babies from 6 months, contain more casein, and are also formulated based on the fact that these babies would be starting on solids, and getting some nutrition from there. Stage 3 milk, is again, different, with more added nutrients like DHA and iron.
* Check expiration date and formula-water ratio Before mixing a bottle of formula milk for your baby, make sure to check the expiry date. You’ll also want to ensure that you’ve got the correct formula-water ratio, so that the milk isn’t too thick, or too diluted.
* Sterilise bottles Always make sure that all the bottles, teats and other parts that come into contact with the milk or your baby’s mouth are clean. Invest in a reliable steriliser to ensure optimal cleanliness.
* Check the temperature The milk should be warm ― not too hot or too cold ― when your baby consumes it. If you’re heating it up in a bottle warmer, or mixing up a bottle of formula milk, give it a few swirls before offering it to you baby, to make sure that it’s evenly heated. Drip a few drops of the milk onto the back of your wrist to feel whether the temperature will be comfortable for your baby.
* Ensure good posture Bottlefeeding your baby can take anywhere between 3 minutes and 45 minutes. So, make sure both you and your little one are comfortable. Cradle him, such that his head rests in your arm and with his face turned toward yours. This position gives optimal skin-to-skin contact, allows your baby to look you in the eye, and lets your baby’s head be higher than his body, to prevent milk from backing up in his throat, which can cause ear infections.
* Fill the teat To reduce the amount of air your baby takes in, tilt the bottle, so that the milk fills the teat completely. This lessens his chances of having gas, which can be painful.
* Store the milk properly Once baby has drunk milk from the bottle, don’t put it back in the fridge as it has already been contaminated by saliva. Untouched milk that has been put out for less than 2 hours can be stored in the fridge, but put the bottle at the back of the fridge, where it’s colder.
* Burp your baby Air that your baby can take in while bottlefeeding can interfere with his digestion, making him very uncomfortable. To prevent this, burp your baby at feeding intervals of around 5 minutes. Hold your baby against your chest, so his chin is resting on your shoulder, then gently rub or pat her on the back.
Give it a few swirls before offering it to you baby, to make sure that it’s evenly heated
* Heat up milk in the microwave Avoid this dangerous practice. Microwaving the bottle of milk can cause hot spots in the milk, increasing the risk of scalding your baby. Also, it’s easy to overheat the milk in the microwave, which can kill some nutrients.
* Keep leftover milk Milk that your baby can’t finish should be thrown away. Untouched milk that’s been left out for more than a couple of hours should be thrown away, too.
* Force-feed your baby Unlike breastfeeding, where your baby can regulate how much he wants to drink on his own, bottlefeeding your baby raises the likelihood that you’ll try to get your peewee to finish his bottle. Force-feeding him isn’t advisable, and raises his risk of overeating and becoming obese.
* Don’t cut the teat Some parents do this to increase the flow of milk. Doing this can be dangerous, especially if bits of the rubber teats come off ― they can be a choking hazard.
* Don’t leave the bottle in his mouth Make sure he stops sucking on the bottle before he falls asleep. If the milk pools in his mouth overnight, he may be prone to getting tooth decay.
* Don’t leave a bottlefeeding baby alone He may well be capable of holding his bottle on his own, but don’t take the risk, and always keep an eye on him. Even if he is being propped up, the risk of choking on his bottle is there.
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