Facts About Bottle Feeding

February 1, 2019

Glass or plastic bottles?
Your baby may give you some clues as to which he prefers. Some things to consider. Plastic bottles are lighter and less likely to break than glass bottles, but they may not last as long as glass bottles. In the past, some parents chose glass bottles to avoid a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) that’s used in some plastic bottles. Now, all plastic bottles sold in the United States are BPA-free.

Knowledge about nipples
Most are made of silicone or latex and they come in different shapes. They sometimes have different “flow rates” based on the size of the nipple holes. You may want to try a few types to see what your baby likes and can drink from easily. Always check the nipple for signs of wear or cracking. Replace any worn or discolored nipples.

Bottle and nipple washing
You can wash them with detergent and hot water, by hand or in the dishwasher. Do this every time you use them. You may prefer to wash your plastic bottles by hand because some studies have shown that chemicals can leak from the plastic when it is exposed to heat. Most experts don’t find it necessary to boil the bottles.

Consistent consumption of breast milk or formula
Give newborns only breast milk or formula from a bottle – no water or juice. Mix the formula strictly according to the label instructions. Adding too much water can thin out the formula, thus reducing nutrition. And it may cause your baby’s salt levels to be too low, which can lead to seizures. Too little water may make it hard on your little one’s stomach and kidneys.

How to choose a formula
Most parents will make it with cow’s milk first. You can also buy the soy and hypoallergenic kind. Make sure you are using a formula that is fortified with iron. You can buy powdered, concentrated or ready-to-use formula. By 6 months, your baby should be drinking 6 to 8 ounces of formula per feeding.

Warm or room temperature?
Give your baby either a cold or room temperature bottle. If he prefers warm formula, you can put a filled bottle in warm water or run it through hot tap water for 1-2 minutes. Or you can use a bottle warmer. Do not use the microwave. It can cause hot spots and may burn your baby’s mouth. Shake the formula and test the temperature by placing a drop of formula on the palm of your hand. Do not test on your wrist – it is not very sensitive to heat.

How to hold a baby
Put a bib on him and have a cloth to clean up any spit up of breast milk or formula. Now, hold him so that his head is a little higher than the rest of his body. Hold the bottle and watch him eat. Watching your baby will help you know when he is done eating. Try burping him in the middle of a feeding to help limit spitting up.

Hold the bottle.
When you’re tired, you may be tempted to prop the bottle up on your pillow and let your baby feed herself. But if you hold the bottle while she eats, it’s a lot better. It’s great for bonding and it’s safer. Having your baby with a propped up bottle is more likely to cause choking and tooth decay. It can also lead to ear infections. So enjoy your bottle time!

How do you know when your baby is done eating?
Your little one will let you know when she’s done eating. She may stop sucking, turn away from the bottle, or, if she’s old enough, push it away. Give her a chance to change her mind, but don’t let her finish the contents of the bottle. If your baby tends to spit up after feeding, you may need to reduce the amount of milk you give her.

How to burp her.
If your baby needs to burp during or after a feeding, hold her in your lap or place her on your shoulder. Gently pat or rub her back. You can also have her lying belly down on your lap, supporting her head, while you pat her back. She may spit up some milk, so have a cloth handy. Don’t worry if she doesn’t burp after a few minutes, but seems content. Not every baby will burp after every feeding.

Reduced spitting
If your baby spits up a lot, burp her every few minutes during feedings. Do not let her lie down or play with her for 45 minutes after eating. Hold her upright or use a car seat to prop her up after meals. Spitting up tends to get better when your baby starts to sit up. Talk to her pediatrician if you’re concerned about the amount of spit up she’s having.

Should you change your formula?
If your baby spits up a lot or is fussy, you may blame the formula. Sometimes, your baby may have allergies that cause diarrhea, vomiting, or dry, red skin. If you see this happening, talk to your little one’s doctor. He or she will tell you if you need to change the formula – and if so, how best to do it. Don’t make the change until you talk to your doctor.

How long can the milk be stored?
Always throw away any remaining milk powder in the bottle. Opened packages of liquid formula should be refrigerated immediately and used within 48 hours. If you have a mixture of formula milk powder, you can store it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If the formula has been sitting for more than 2 hours, throw it away. Make formula as needed. Do not mix in large batches. Refrigerate breastmilk so that it can be used within 7 days. Or freeze it. Breastmilk will keep for up to 3 months in a regular freezer kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 6 months in a deep freezer.