If you’re bot­tle feed­ing… Your four-step plan

Mother & Baby - - BABY & TODDLER -


As you shake your baby’s bot­tle to mix the for­mula into the wa­ter, you’re in­ad­ver­tently in­cor­po­rat­ing air into the liq­uid. And this can lead to trapped wind, which may con­trib­ute to colic. “Bot­tle-fed babies are often less col­icky on ready-to-feed for­mu­las for this rea­son,” says Shel. “Swirl, rather than shake the bot­tle to in­cor­po­rate the pow­der into the wa­ter and let it stand for 20 min­utes to al­low any bub­bles to dis­perse.” The same ap­plies if you’re re­heat­ing ex­pressed breast­milk: swirl it if you want to en­sure even heat dis­tri­bu­tion, don’t shake it.


Whether you’re feed­ing for­mula or ex­pressed breast­milk, you can re­duce the amount of air your baby swal­lows by per­fect­ing how you hold your baby and the bot­tle. Read the ad­vice for get­ting a good latch with a breast­fed baby, and aim to po­si­tion the bot­tle in the same way. “The bot­tle should follow the same line as your breast would if you were breast­feed­ing,” says Shel. “Aim the teat at the pointy part at the back of his head, rather than his ears. This is the po­si­tion that your baby ex­pects, and it’s how his anatomy works best.” You’ll need to adapt the po­si­tion, though, to en­sure the teat stays full of milk. Any air in the teat may mean that your baby draws that as well as the milk, so keep­ing it full of milk avoids the pos­si­bil­ity. “This means that you may need to start the feed with your baby rel­a­tively up­right, be­fore re­clin­ing him a lit­tle as the bot­tle emp­ties, so that the teat and his head stay in a straight line,” ex­plains Shel.


There’s a huge range of bot­tles avail­able fea­tur­ing dif­fer­ent valves, vents, air sys­tems and teats to mimic breast­feed­ing. It’s a good idea to ex­per­i­ment to find one that suits your baby. You’ll know it’s work­ing if the teat stays full of milk as he drains the bot­tle, and he’s feed­ing well and com­fort­ably. As he grows, you may need to switch to a dif­fer­ent size or shape of teat to con­tinue feed­ing ef­fec­tively.


Too much milk, too fast, can give your baby a bloated, col­icky feel­ing. “Of­fer him a break af­ter ev­ery ounce or two,” says Shel. “Milk in a bot­tle—for­mula or breast—is all the same con­sis­tency. This means your baby doesn’t get the nat­u­ral cues telling him he’s full, unlike with breast­feed­ing.” Gen­tly tak­ing the teat from his mouth slows his feed­ing, giv­ing him chance to de­cide if he’s still hun­gry. It’s tempt­ing to want to use ev­ery last drop, but lis­ten to your baby if he ‘says’ he’s had enough.

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