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Bottles and nipples Getting ready to bottle-feed your baby

There are a variety of bottles and nipples available in different styles.

You will need between four and six bottles and nipples. As well as larger bottles measuring 8fl oz (250ml), you may also want a couple of smaller bottles of 4 fl oz (125 ml). Nipples come with different sized holes to make the flow of milk faster or slower to suit your baby's needs. Some nipples are therefore recommended for newborns and some for hungrier older babies.

Sterilizing equipment

Before using new bottles and nipples, and each time you use them, wash and sterilize them. Wash in warm, soapy water with a bottle brush, and rinse thoroughly. Sterilizing methods include:

Keeping bottles clean:

Whichever method you choose, it is important to sterilize bottles and nipples to keep them germ-free.

  • Electric steam sterilizing, which takes about 10 minutes, plus the time it takes for equipment to cool.

  • Microwave steamers, which take around 5 minutes. The equipment remains sterile for up to 3 hours if the lid is left on.

  • Equipment can be sterilized by boiling, which takes around 10 minutes. The pan must not be used for another purpose and you may find that nipples wear out more quickly.

  • Cold water sterilizing tablets can be used either in a special sterilizer, or in a suitable clean container with a lid. This takes around 30 minutes and the equipment can be left in the solution for up to 24 hours; the solution needs to be changed each day.

  • Dishwashers set on a high temperature are adequate for washing bottles after an initial sterilization after purchase.

Taking a break Sharing bottle-feeding with your partner

One of the major plus points of bottle-feeding is that anyone can feed your baby, allowing you to have some time off and rest.

  • Getting your partner involved in feeding is a great way to help him bond with and feel close to your baby.

  • Sharing feedings gives you a break and you can take it in turns to do night feedings.

  • If you are switching from breast- to bottle-feeding, it may be easier to get someone else to give your baby the bottle, since your baby may reject the bottle from you, wanting to be breast-fed instead.

Avoiding tummy upsets The importance of hygiene while bottle-feeding

Small babies are more susceptible to gastro-intestinal infections so it's important to observe strict hygiene while bottle-feeding.

One of the most important aspects while bottle-feeding is to ensure that all the equipment involved in the bottle-feeding process is sterilized properly and spotlessly clean with no trace of old milk. This means sterilizing the bottles, nipples, and lids . If your baby doesn't finish a feeding, don't be tempted to give it to him later to finish since germs that are present in the baby's mouth may have transferred to the bottle and can then breed in the milk. When you are traveling or out for the day, you need to be careful transporting feedings. Ready-made formula is probably the safest way to feed your baby on the move, or adding formula to the water when you need it. Changes in water in different regions sometimes cause tummy upsets in bottle-fed babies.

NOTE

Once you decide how to feed your baby don't look back. Be confident in your ability to choose what is right for you both

NOTE

Your baby's nutritional needs constantly change. No sooner are you sure of their requirements than they grow and change

How to bottle-feed Preparing and giving feedings

Bottle-feeding, using formula or expressed breast milk, can seem daunting at first, but becomes easier once you get into a routine.

Q: How do I start?
A: You will need at least 4–6 bottles and nipples, with at least one or two sterilized and ready. You can sterilize by steaming, microwaving, boiling, or using a sterilizing liquid. Your choice will depend on the cost and what you find easiest. Before sterilizing, rinse a bottle first with warm soapy water using a bottle brush, taking care to clean the top of the bottle and inside the nipple.
Q: How do I make up a feeding?
A: Wash your hands and make up a bottle according to the instructions. Put the correct amount of cooled tepid boiled tap water into the sterilized bottle first then add the right number of level scoops of powder. Never add extra powder or water—this could make your baby ill. Don't put any leftover back in the fridge—throw it away and use a fresh bottle next time.
Q: How do I give the feeding?
A: Test that the milk is not too hot by putting some on the inside of your wrist (never use a microwave to warm up milk). Find a comfortable position and always hold your baby's head slightly higher than his body and never prop a bottle. Put the nipple gently into his mouth and slowly tip the bottle so that only milk, not air, gets into the nipple. You can burp your baby—gently pat or rub your baby's back—halfway through or at the end. Throw away any milk that is left over.
  1. Preparing a bottle:

    Measure the powder using a knife to level the top. Add to the water then warm the bottle and test the temperature on your wrist.

  2. Giving a bottle:

    Stroke your baby's cheek to stimulate the sucking reflex and gently insert the nipple into his mouth, being careful not to push it too far in.

  3. Finishing the feeding

    Toward the end of the feeding, tilt the bottle so its neck is completely filled with milk. Slide your finger into his mouth to break the seal.

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