During bottle feeding it is extremely important to ensure baby's health and safety, by preventing choking or possible problems with his tummy. Therefore, you should pay attention to the feeding method, position during feeding with a bottle, as well as ensure correct selection of feeding accessories. Our experts will help you with all this.
The teat flow speed is of great importance to a baby's safety. Too low speed can result in a teat being sucked in, so the baby swallows air and, in consequence, has problems with his tummy. On the other hand, when the flow is too fast, the baby is forced to suck faster, and, in consequence, also swallow faster; furthermore, he needs to coordinate these two actions with breathing. It often happens that the baby is not able to match the suckling rate to a fast milk flow. He chokes, and only violent coughing saves him from smothering.
So you must select the type of flow very carefully, and replace teats at intervals recommended by manufacturers (silicon or latex, of which the teats are made, stretches and deforms with use and sterilization). You should not increase the teat flow speed yourself.
Selection of infant formula is determined by baby's age and his individual needs. When the baby is given a formula not matching his needs, he is at risk of developing digestion problems, and a formula inappropriate for baby's age may not meet his nutritional requirements.
Preparing the formula you must always follow these 3 iron-clad rules:
When preparing a formula, use boiled low-mineralized spring water, and adhere to the best before date and mixing ratios specified by the manufacturer.
Mix formula powder with water immediately before giving it to the baby.
Pour out any leftovers and rinse the bottle.
Safety requires cleanness, and for the youngest, also sterilization. A baby' digestive tract is still immature, and remains of sweet milk are an excellent medium for bacteria. So only a thorough washing, boiling and sterilization of teats and bottles can protect your baby against ailments related to the digestive tract, such a diarrhea or food poisoning, as well as against fungal infections, such as thrushes. (Description of hygiene measures for teats and bottles can be found in the article Hygene of Bottles and Teats)
A correct position protects the baby against choking or smothering, so a lying position is not recommended. Also, never leave the baby alone while he is suckling from the bottle, or allow him to fall asleep with a teat in his mouth."
For feeding, place the baby in a higher position, i.e., semi-inclined or semi-seating, so his head and neck form a straight line with his body and he can breathe freely and swallow food easily. Baby's head should be placed in the crook of adult's elbow, symmetrically, in line with his spine. Correct position for feeding must be comfortable both for the baby and the feeding person.
Try to change the position, feeding the baby alternately on your right and left arm, with his side to you, or with the baby facing you, this is important for uniform development of the baby's muscles and prevention of postural asymmetry.
An adult should hold the bottle steadily, but lightly. We would recommend profiled bottles of a shape facilitating their correct holding in the hand. Hold the bottle perpendicularly to the baby's mouth. This will allow adapting to his suckling pattern, and the bottle will not press on baby's jaw and lips. Try to keep the elongated part of the teat fully filled with milk.
Bottle-feeding is a perfect time for closeness and tenderness. You can seat the baby on your thigh, with his side towards you and his back resting on your other thigh, embrace him with your other hand, and cuddle him.
You can also sit on a floor, with your back against a sofa/armchair/wall and your legs bent; put the baby on your lap facing you, with his back on your legs and his bottom on your belly. This is a perfect position for looking into each other's eyes, long and lovingly.
Regardless of a position in which you will feed your baby, you can always whisper endearments or sing to him, caress him delicately, or rock him slightly. It is not only very pleasant to both of you, but gives a sense of security and plenty of love to your baby.
It should be mentioned here that, contrary to breastfeeding, these tender moments of bottle-feeding can also be shared by dad or other members of family. We would recommend using this opportunity, as it is a perfect way to develop the bond with the baby.
When the baby is healthy, gains weight correctly, and does not posset too much, you must trust him and follow his pattern. Then, it is him who dictates a number of breaks in feeding, amount of food eaten and feeding frequency, and not stiff theoretical guidelines.
This requires caution and attention of the adult, and sometimes, a support of a pediatrician. Observe your baby, probably he himself will signal to you when you should take the bottle away and lift him for burping; however, when the baby is troubled by colics, you should do this a few times during feeding. Do not force a dose of milk specified in a feeding scheme, because when the baby gains weight correctly, it will not harm him if sometimes he eats less, and at other times more.
Also you should never try to feed the baby when he is very uneasy, cries or screams, as milk can get into his larynx, and not to his oesophagus, posing a risk of choking or smothering! Soothe him, when he cries with hunger, start with touching his mouth delicately with a teat, and put it into his mouth only when he is no longer crying.
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Bottle feeding is not difficult, however, several rules must be observed for feeding to be safe and effective. Here we discuss common mistakes that should be avoided.