Bottle feeding your new baby can be a interesting little challenge, you may have many questions and concerns about which type of formulas you should, exactly how to sterilize and prepare bottles so that they are safe and nutritionally-sound for your baby, and how to go about planning a feeding routine that works. Although most doctors will tell you that breast-milk is best, there are steps you can take to ensure that your bottle-fed baby receives the nutrients he needs for normal growth and development. One of the first and most important decisions you will need to make regarding how to bottle-feed your baby is which formula to use. There are many factors that may influence your decision including price, nutritional content, as well as your baby’s tolerance for certain formulas. Although you will likely receive some samples of formula in the hospital, this particular brand may or may not be best for your little one. Indeed, the process of choosing a formula may be based to a large extent on trial-and-error. Although nutrition and price are certainly valid concerns, your baby will ultimately make the decision as to which formula is best-suited to his digestive system, especially if you have a picky “drinker” on your hands. If your baby is spitting up a lot, this could be a sign that you need to switch formulas. Contact your pediatrician and ask for a recommendation if this is the case. There are several different types of special formulas available for babies with sensitive stomachs such as soy-based and lactose-free formulas, for instance.
There is no cookie-cutter approach when it comes to when, what, and how to bottle-feed your baby. The best method of finding out what works is by monitoring your baby’s behavior and reactions to certain formulas, amounts, and bottles in order to determine her preferences and tolerance levels. It may take several weeks to pin down a feeding routine that works for the both of you, and even then, you may need to make adjustments as necessary.
Generally speaking, your little one will require smaller, more frequent feedings at first, and as his stomach grows, he will be able to take in more formula at once and thus require a lesser number of feedings per day. Although usually, your baby will cry when she’s hungry and stop when she’s full, it is possible for your baby to overeat or not get enough. Monitor how many diapers your baby is wetting each day as well as the rate at which he is growing, and talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. When bottle-feeding your newborn, you should always hold him in a comfortable position and tilt the bottle upright so that no air is allowed into the nipple. A baby who swallows air during feedings can develop a stomachache or gassiness. Some specialized bottles can also prevent excess air from making its way into your baby’s tummy. If your baby appears uncomfortable or spits up during or immediately following feedings, you may need to burp him more frequently.
Use common sense when preparing your baby’s bottles, and exercise some extra caution to make sure that they are clean and safe for use. For example, you should always sterilize bottles and nipples using either a dishwasher or a pot of boiling water prior to preparing the formula. Always use refrigerated formula within two days, and toss out any leftover formula as it can become contaminated by saliva. By taking a few precautions and cooperating with your baby to develop a feeding routine that is safe, nutritious, and comfortable for your little one, you can give him a good start toward healthy growth and development.