The transition of breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can sometimes be a daunting task. However, it is best to adhere to advice from professionals or experienced mothers to establish a safe and simple bottle-feeding routine.
The most important factor is sterilizing all feeding equipment of your baby before every feed. It is a well-known fact that germs gather on feeding bottles and the milk that can make a baby sick and the best answer to this issue is sterilizing which automatically kills the germs.
Initially, all bottles, teats, retaining rings and lids should be washed in clean hot soapy water and sterilized before a baby’s feed is prepared.
Sterilizing could be done in a Medela electric steam sterilizer, a microwave sterilizer or cold water sterilizing solution. This routine should be conducted until a baby is at least one year old. It is also advisable to the check condition of the teats and bottles often and dispose of any with cracks and splits.
Feeding on the Move
If it is required to feed a baby with expressed breast milk whilst travelling, it could be poured into a sterilized bottle and kept in a cool bag with ice packs up to 24 hours. However, if a baby is fed on formula, ready-made formula milk in cartons could be purchased. Although it is more costly than formula powder, it is convenient and saves time especially when travelling.
The correct amount of formula
If a baby is fed on formula, the milk should be prepared as per instructions on the label as a baby will not get the proper nutrients when the milk is diluted or weak. Incidentally, a baby could get dehydrated or constipated when the formula milk is too strong.
Milk that is too hot or too cold
Whether it is expressed breast milk or formula milk, the bottle could be heated in a pan or bowl of warm water by leaving it for no more than 15 minutes. A Medela electric bottle warmer could also be used which takes around four to six minutes to heat the bottle to the correct temperature.
It is advisable to avoid using a microwave to warm the milk, as it doesn’t heat the milk evenly, resulting in probably burning a baby’s mouth. Further, vital nutrients could be broken down when expressed breast-milk is microwaved.
Ensure to test the temperature of the milk before feeding. Spill a little milk on the inside of your wrist and make sure it is warm and not hot.
It is not advisable to store formula milk for a long period as even if it is refrigerated, bacteria can build up slowly. Therefore, the best option is to make a fresh bottle of formula milk whenever your baby needs a feed.
However, expressed breast milk can be stored in a fridge for up to 3 days or in a freezer for 3 months. Feeding could be done after warming according to the required temperature.
Carrying warm milk in an insulated carrier is not advisable as this encourages the growth of harmful bacteria.
The bottle should be slightly tilted when feeding as this ensures the teat is always full of milk and not air. A baby could be propped up against a support when feeding to ensure less air is swallowed. A baby should not be fed lying flat or left alone propped up with a bottle as it could lead to choking.