To make feeding time pleasant for you and baby, here’s how to get the most milk in and the most air up, and to do it safely.
Giving the bottle:
- Most babies enjoy their formula slightly warmed; run warm tap water over the bottle for several minutes. Shake a few drops on your inner wrist to check the temperature.
- To minimize air swallowing, tilt the bottle, allowing the milk to fill the nipple and the air to rise to the bottom of the bottle.
- Keep baby’s head straight in relation to the rest of the body. Drinking while the head is turned sideways or tilted back makes it more difficult for baby to swallow.
- To lessen arm fatigue and present different views to baby, switch arms at each feeding.
- Watch for signs that the nipple hole is too large or too small. If baby gets a sudden mouthful of milk and sputters and almost chokes during a feeding, milk flow may be too fast. Turn the full bottle upside down without shaking. If milk flows instead of drips, the nipple hole is too large; discard the nipple. If baby seems to be working hard, tires easily during sucking, and his cheeks cave in because of a strong suction vacuum, the nipple hole may be too small (formula should drip at least one drop per second).
- Know when to quit. Babies know when they’ve had enough. Avoid the temptation to always finish the bottle. If baby falls into a deep sleep near the end of the feeding, but has not finished the bottle, stop. Often babies fall into a light sleep toward the end of the bottle, but continue a flutter- type of sucking. They have had enough to eat, but enjoy a little “dessert” of comfort sucking. Remove the bottle and allow baby to suck a few minutes on your fingertip.
A dishwasher with a water temperature of at least 180?F (82?C) will adequately sterilize bottles and accessories. If not using a dishwasher, try the following sterilization process. (Sterilize six bottles, or a daily supply, at one time.)
- After a feeding, thoroughly rinse the bottle and nipple under warm water and leave them on a clean towel by the sink, ready for your next sterilizing session.
- Wash all the equipment in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly in hot water, and remove the milk scum with a bottle brush.
- Pad the bottom of a large pan with a towel or dishcloth. Immerse open bottles, nipples, and other equipment in the pan (place bottles on their side to be sure that they are filled with the sterilizing water) and boil for ten minutes with the pan covered. Allow to cool to room temperature while still covered. Remove the bottles and nipples with tongs or a spoon and place the bottles upside down on a clean towel with the nipples and caps alongside. Let the equipment dry.
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