When you welcome a new baby into your arms, there is such a big focus on establishing breastfeeding with your new bundle, that often the alternative of offering a bottle isn’t even mentioned. It’s no secret that breast is best, offering vital nutrients to your little one and keeping them healthy, but that doesn’t mean that breast is the only option.
Whether you are looking to express so that Daddy can share the load and give your little one a bottle each day, or breastfeeding simply isn’t working out for you and you want to give them formula, it may be time to consider introducing a bottle to your little one: but how do you do it?
Let’s be honest, there is no right or wrong way to give your newborn a bottle, but here are some tips to get you started.
Formula or breastmilk
If you are simply expressing to offer your baby breastmilk in a bottle, then you can give it to your little one straight away. It is often best to give it room temperature, so your baby doesn’t get used to having their milk warmed up every time you are out and about, which can be an inconvenience. Always follow the guidelines on the ABA website if you are unsure about the expressing and storage process. If you are introducing formula, chat to your doctor or chemist about the different ones on the market and which one might work for your little one.
Stock up on bottles
It is always good to have a few up your sleeve, so you can be washing and sterilising some, with clean ones ready to go. Always start off on and smallest teat size (usually labelled as newborn size). This refers to how fast the milk comes out of the bottle, so you want it to be nice and slow to begin with. Some
Just like breastfeeding can take up to 40 minutes with a newborn, don’t be rushed to get them to take the whole bottle all at once. If you want to avoid nipple confusion, it’s a great idea to sit your baby up to feed to make them work for the milk – just like they do on the breast. Each time you take the bottle out of their mouth for a break, rest it on their cheek and encourage them to root for it (again, like they would on the breast), so you have a good indication of whether they are hungry or simply just sucking. Make sure you also stop at times to burp your little one, just like you would on the breast.
Introducing a bottle early has plenty of hidden perks, allowing you to spend some time away from your little one without being worried about them being able to breastfeed. When it all comes down to it: fed is best. As long as your little one is healthy and happy, you have nothing to worry about.