Guide to Bottle Feeding: Best Techniques and Positions
Bottle feeding is one of those things that every baby has to experience at some point, whether right from birth if you are formula-feeding or after a few months if you are exclusively breastfeeding. This is why it is so important to have a good understanding of how to bottle feed your little one the right way.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about bottle feeding. You’ll learn how to select the right bottle for your baby, how to choose the right nipple size according to your baby’s age, how to clean a bottle the right way, and a few basic techniques and positions that will help make your bottle feeding experience a breeze.
How to choose the right bottle and nipple
The first thing you have to do when bottle feeding your little one is select the right bottle and nipple.
The right bottle and nipple for your little one will depend on her feeding needs. Most newborn baby bottles should work in most cases. However, if your baby is colicky or has gas issues, get a newborn baby bottle with an infiltration system instead.
If your baby is already used to breastfeeding, there is a chance that she might reject a regular newborn baby bottle or have a tough time latching to a conventional nipple. In this case, go for a bottle and nipple combo that mimics the shape of the breast to make the transition easier.
When choosing the nipple, pay attention to the flow. Younger babies will need a slower flow as they start bottle feeding. After a couple of months, they can handle a faster flow as they become more confident bottle feeding. Eventually, your little one may prefer faster flows exclusively.
How to clean a baby bottle the right way
The next thing you have to think about is how to clean your baby’s bottles.
Only buy bottles that are easy to take apart and clean to reduce the risk of contamination. Easy-to-clean bottles have a wide neck and few basic parts (nipple, bottle, and collar).
To hand-wash your baby’s bottles, clean your bottles and teats in hot, soapy water as soon as feeding is done. Use a clean bottle brush that is exclusively used to clean your baby’s bottles to clean the inside. Then use a teat brush to clean the inside of the teat.
If you have a sterilizer, the process is similar. Let the bottle and its parts sit in hot, soapy water for a few minutes. Rinse them with warm water, then place everything in the sterilizer according to the instructions of your sterilizer’s manufacturer. Once done, place everything on a clean drying rack ready for the next use.
Bottle feeding positions
Your baby’s position during feedings is crucial to how well she feeds. Here are some common breastfeeding positions you can use:
1. Cradle the baby in your arms
Hold your baby close to your chest. Ensure that she is resting in the crook of your arm. Hold her head and chest while slightly inclining her as you administer the bottle.
2. Hold the baby upright
Instead of inclining her, you can sit your baby in an upright position with her head in the crook of your arm or chest. This method works well if your baby has reflux. Tilt the bottle a little ensuring that the nipple is filled with milk at all times so that your little one does not gulp any air which could lead to reflux.
3. Use a nursing pillow
The third way is to simply use a nursing pillow. A nursing pillow will help you keep your baby’s head and chest at an angle, giving your arms a break while you hold your baby in your lap.
Bottle feeding techniques
Here are a few bottle-feeding techniques you can incorporate as you take advantage of the bottle-feeding positions above:
1. Switch sides
Remember to switch sides when bottle feeding your baby. This way, your little one won’t develop preferences that make life with her harder for you while also giving your arms a break. Additionally, when you switch sides, you help pace the feeding. It also gives your baby the chance to decide if she is full or if she wants to continue feeding.
2. Pace Feeding
Pace feeding is a bottle feeding technique that will help you regulate your baby’s feeding. In pace feeding, you follow the baby’s cues to know when to take a break as needed. The breaks help your little one learn how to regulate her hunger. It also gives her time to digest her meals.
As you pace feed, hold the bottle horizontally instead of vertically. Horizontal holding will make your baby work to pull the milk instead of having it drip into her mouth. Give your baby a break every few minutes by making the milk leave the bottle’s nipple by leaning it back a little.
3. Pumping breast milk
Pumping is an essential skill that you should learn if you are planning to bottle feed your little one. Knowing how to pump will help make the transition to the bottle a lot easier. Plus, it will allow you to delegate feeding duties to other caregivers whenever you need a break.
As you can see, bottle-feeding is an essential skill that every mom should learn. With the tips and tricks outlined here, it should be quite an easy skill for you to pick up. And remember, always burp your baby after every feeding session! Good luck!