Information & Advice
Bottle feeding, either from formula or expressed milk, can be a daunting task, read on for what you need to know
Published 6th October 2008
Choosing to bottle feed can be a big worry for Mums and one of the biggest considerations is, do you use your own supply or formula? Breast feeding contains the perfect balance of nutrients with proven additional health benefits, plus it's free! However, babies can switch from breast to bottle, even if they do need a little encouragement, but once the change has been made it's very difficult for them to go back. If you're considering bottle feeding, we'd advise you to chat through the risks with your midwife. The idea of expressing milk or even making up formula in the middle of the night can seem like an ordeal, but with the right accessories the process can be easy, hygienic and convenient.
The benefits of using a breastpump is that you can store a ready to use natural supply of bottled breast milk ideal for your partner or you to use at a convenient time. They range from manual single pumps to electric double pumps and are simple way for Mums to safely bottle thier own expressed milk.
Formula milks replicate most of the nutrients a baby would naturally receive from breast milk. If formula milk will be your baby's main source of food, it's important to choose the right one. Although powdered milk might seem daunting and messy at first, by following the instructions on the pack you can become a pro in no time. When using powdered milk, it is important to use the right ratio of water and formula to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients they need.
Different babies need different bottles and with so many out there, with all kinds of complicated terminology, choosing the right one can be difficult. Hungry babies need lots of bottles and to ensure you always have a clean stash available it's best to purchase around 6 bottles and teats. Newborn babies will need a small bottle with a slow flowing teat to help them develop their own sucking rhythm and fill their little tummy. As your baby develops, and appetite grows, so should their bottle size.
Polypropylene bottles or storage bags are a convenient and safe way to refrigerate expressed milk but glass bottles are more appropriate for freezing. Cool the milk under a cold water tap before popping in the fridge.
Just to add to the choice, some companies have developed specialist teat designs and textures to help newborns make the switch from breast to bottle. In general babies who are just learning to feed from a bottle will need a soft textured teat. Babies who take in too much air when they feed can develop symptoms of wind and colic. Perfect for burpy babies are teats which contain unique valves to reduce the amount of air they swallow while feeding.
Bottle to Cup Kits are the final stage of bottle feeding and they encourage your baby to eat and drink independantly. In no time at all your little one will be merrily throwing cups about the highchair!
One f the most important but tedious tasks of bottle feeding is sterilising your bottles to ensure they are squeaky clean and germ free. If you are expressing milk then you'll need to keep breast shields spotless too. For those with a round-the-clock hungry baby, steam sterilisers are a good option. Market leading models can clean 6 bottles at once and if microwaveable can be a very quick solution. Which ever steriliser you use, (microwaveble, steam, electric or cold water), look for one with a good manufactures guarantee, as daily use can be demanding on the mechanical elements inside and you'll need one that is robust.
There is inevitably a large array of additional accessories which can cut time and make meal times while travelling easier. Bottle warming flasks, microwave sterilising bags, thermal bottle carry packs, sterilising wipes and solution are nice to have if you can afford it, but not essential!
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