Bottle-feeding: keeping it natural
It is possible to retain the intimacy and bonding of breastfeeding even when a baby is feeding by bottle.
There are many reasons that you might opt to bottle feed your baby. Whether you feed by bottle all the time, or use bottles of expressed milk as part of breastfeeding regime. Bottle feeding in these instances not only frees you up from time to time to go out or to rest up, but it can also be a way of passing on this imitate experience to daddy or grandma.
In any instance, whether you are bottle-feeding your baby or someone else is, there is no reason why it can’t be a special, bonding exchange like breastfeeding.
5 tips for keeping bottle-feeding natural
1. A quiet setting
Women who breastfeed tend to retreat to a quieter corner for feeding times. There is no reason why you shouldn’t do the same with your baby. Keep the lighting low, turn off the TV or radio, and avoid other distractions so that you and your baby can tune into the moment.
2. Staying close to your skin
Allowing your baby to enjoy your presence includes the reassuring warmth of skin to skin contact. You don’t have to pretend to be feeding from the breast, but you or your partner can still allow your baby to rest against your chest as he or she feeds.
3. Eye to eye contact
Instead of chatting to friends as you feed, look at your baby. Even if his or her eyes are closed, watch as your baby feeds and be there for them if they open their eyes to look at you.
4. Get the temperature right
Some babies are less fussy than others about how warm or cold their milk feeds are. Obviously a milk feed should never be hot, but try not to overheat the milk (breast or formula) as this can affect the taste even when it’s been brought back down to a cooler temperature. Try to offer the milk just warm.
5. Choose the right bottle and teat
Many bottles are designed to ‘reduce colic’, which tends to mean that the bottle is shaped to minimise air bubbles that might cause excessive wind and discomfort. Find a bottle that seems to suit your baby without excessive guzzling. If one type just doesn’t seem to work, try a different model – you’ll be using these daily for a long time, so it’s worth getting right. To find out about recommended bottles click here.
Also, make sure you use a teat that is suitable for your baby’s age (younger babies have teats with less holes in so that they are not overwhelmed by a rush of milk, but older babies will get tired of sucking too hard if they are given a feed using a teat that is too restrictive). Also, if your baby just doesn’t seem to take to a regular silicone teat, it might be the shape or the texture that they are finding hard to get used to, especially if they are used to breastfeeding. In this case, it could be worth trying a latex teat, which should feel softer for your baby.
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