Bottle-feeding may not be as easy as it seems. Below are some tips to make feeding your baby formula a bit easier.
Check the Temperature of the Formula - See Warming Infant Formula.
Be Consistent in Preparation - When preparing infant formula, make it the same way each time. It is preferable to use distilled or spring water or change your home water filter frequently.
Relax - Your baby can sense your being tense, so make the mood right. Dim the lights, play soothing music, get physically comfortable in a well padded chair with arms, position yourself so you can easily look into your baby's eyes. You may want to turn off the television, radio and telephone ringer as well. This is your time to bond with your new baby and get to know each other. Avoid interruptions.
C-Section Births - After a cesarean birth, Mom's tummy is sore. Try the football hold or a pillow across your lap to help support the baby.
Hold the Baby and the Bottle - Hold your baby securely, but not tightly. Bonding will occur more naturally if you imitate positioning for breast-feeding. Holding the baby in a semi-upright position and holding the bottle. This will help keep air bubbles from being swallowed by the baby. Bottle propping can lead to the baby choking as well, so avoid propping.
Alternate Sides - As with breast-feeding, alternate hold positions from side to side. This will help your baby's eyes and neck to develop more equally. Try alternating halfway through the bottle after burping your baby. By doing this from the very start, your baby has a better chance of not choosing a preferred side.
Burp Your Baby - Get into the habit of burping about half way through the feeding and after feeding. This may help prevent spitting up.
Don't Ounce Count - At least in the beginning. As with breast-feeding, your baby's appetite will vary from day to day, hour to hour. Just because he ate 3 ounces yesterday at noon, doesn't mean he will want the same today. It is difficult, if not impossible to put a new baby on a feeding and sleeping schedule, so go with the flow. You're baby will fall into a pattern all his own soon enough. As the first few weeks pass, your baby will let you know if he is not getting enough.
In the meantime:
If your baby is 0-1 month, start with 2-3 ounces in the bottle and offer every 3-4 hours. In the first month, wake a baby who sleeps more than 5 hours and offer a bottle.
Older babies will require more formula. For 2-6 months, start with 4-6 ounces of formula every 4 hours.Over 6 months may require up to 8 ounces along with food on a regular schedule of meals and naps. No more than 32 ounces in a 24-hour period is recommended.
Water Supplementing - It is not necessary to supplement water, however, during very hot weather, water bottles are fine. Do not worry if your baby rejects water though. Check with your pediatrician on the amount of water to feed your baby especially during illnesses with fever.
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Bottle Feeding: Getting Started