Baby Bottles

Bottle feeding is the only alternative to breastfeeding. Bottle feeding offers more flexibility as either parent can feed the baby at any time. In the early weeks, it is not necessary to follow a rigid bottle feeding schedule. Offer the bottle every 2-3 hours or as your baby seems hungry.

Babies bottle fed baby formula will drink 2-3 ounces every 2-4 hours. Don't force more. Babies know when they've had enough. Avoid the temptation to always finish the bottle. If your baby turns away from the bottle, that is a good indication to end the feeding.

You can use either glass bottles or plastic bottles, in straight or angled styles. Bottles are typically composed of the bottle itself, a nipple, a ring to seal the nipple to the bottle, a cap to cover the nipple, and optionally a disposable liner. Baby bottles are usually taller than they are wide. This ensures the contents flood the nipple when used at normal angles Otherwise, your baby will drink air.

Bottles and bottle nipples need to be sterilized before you use them for the first time. They also need to be washed thoroughly after each use with warm soapy water and a bottle brush. You can use a bottle sterilizer to sterilize your bottles after each washing as well, especially if you use well water.

There is no health reason requiring you to warm your bottles before feeding your baby. Your baby may prefer a warm bottle, but cold is just as good. When you are ready to feed your baby, you can warm the bottle in a pan of hot water, hold the bottle under the tap, or you can use a bottle warmer designed to warm bottles quickly and thoroughly.

Never use a microwave to heat bottles. Microwave ovens heat unevenly, creating hot pockets which can lead to burns and cause a breakdown of the nutrients. Always shake a few drops of the warm formula on your inner wrist to check the temperature before feeding your baby. Chances are if you find the formula hot, so will your baby.

To minimize the amount of air your baby swallows, tilt the bottle. This allows the milk to fill the nipple and the air to rise to the bottom of the bottle. There are asymmetric bottles, or angled bottles which ensure the contents flood the nipple if the bottle is held at a certain angle.

Keep your baby's head straight in relation to the rest of the body. A semi-upright position will make it easy for your baby to swallow. Attempting to drink while the head is turned sideways or tilted back makes it more difficult for baby to breathe and swallow at the same time.

Finding the right bottle requires some experimentation. Try a few different styles to see which bottle both you and your baby seem to like. There are so many baby bottles on the market today, it won't take you too long.

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