If you’re planning to bottle feed with expressed breast milk or infant formula, it’s worth being prepared. There are so many products on the market when it comes to bottle feeding it can be confusing to know which way to jump. Which bottle feeding products do you actually need? Fear not, we’re here to help, with these product suggestions and top tips on bottle feeding.
Let’s start at the beginning by answering a couple of FAQs on bottle feeding.
What are the advantages of bottle feeding?
- You’ll know exactly how much milk your baby has had.
- You can enlist the help of others and enjoy a much-needed break.
- It gives your partner an extra chance to bond with your baby.
What is combination feeding?
The term combination feeding usually refers to mothers who feed from the breast and from a bottle (breastmilk or formula). So basically, their routine is to do a bit of both. Combination feeding can also mean bottle feeding and switching between breastmilk and formula milk – although this reference is slightly less common.
If you’re combination feeding, you’ll need to get your baby used to the difference. The end goal? Is for your baby to accept both bottle and breast. If you’ve decided to stop exclusively feeding from the breast and are looking to move onto the bottle, the challenge here is to get your little one used to this new way of feeding.
Top tips for bottle feeding
Get an early start
It’s widely thought that it’s a good idea to get your baby acquainted with a bottle within 2-4 weeks of birth. If you’re breastfeeding, this is a great opportunity for your partner to step in. If you’re planning to introduce a bottle to your baby later on down the line, it’s best to give your baby plenty of time to get used to their new routine. And if at any point you decide to move onto formula feeding, it can be useful to introduce a bottle using breastmilk at first, to help your baby adjust to the change.
How to bottle feed
Keep the teat full
When bottle feeding, it’s important to tilt the bottle to keep the teat full of milk, otherwise your baby will take in air. As the bottle slowly drains, tilt the bottle higher. Sometimes, you might find the teat goes flat mid-feed. Gently poke your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth which will release the suction.
Top tip: Always replace a blocked teat with another sterile teat and continue feeding.
Choosing your baby’s bottles
It’s always best to choose a bottle with a teat that closely mimics your breast/nipple, so your baby is most likely to accept it, and if you’re worried about air, try Tommee Tippee’s Advanced Anti-Colic Bottle.
With a super-wide teat shaped like mum’s breast these anti-colic bottles encourage a natural latch. The unique anti-colic venting system draws air away from milk, which is thought to reduce colic symptoms such as wind, reflux and fussing by around 80%.
These clever bottles by Tommee Tippee even have a heat sensor strip that changes colour if the milk is too hot, so you can be sure milk is always given at the right temperature.
Winding your baby
Every baby is different, and some may want to take short breaks during their feed. Be guided by your baby. Don’t be worried if they don’t always finish their bottle. Once your baby has had enough milk, hold them upright and gently rub or pat their back to bring up any wind. If your baby suffers from reflux, it’s important to keep them upright for around 20 minutes after a feed.
Never heat milk in a microwave
It may seem like a quick and easy option, but microwaving your baby’s milk will destroy nutrients and create hot spots that could burn your baby. If you’re thawing breast milk, always do it at room temperature. Invest in a bottle warmer instead.
Tommee Tippee’s bottle and food warmer will have your baby’s bottle ready in minutes.
This bottle warmer is designed to fit most bottles and jars and works to gently warm your baby’s milk or food to preserve essential nutrients.
The Perfect Prep Day & Night machine makes bottle feeding super easy. It uses water straight from the tap, and cleverly filters bacteria and any other contaminants found in water. The result? Clean and safe water ready for your baby’s feed, just like boiled water from a kettle.
The Perfect Prep machine dispenses an initial ‘hot shot’ of water at 70 degrees to dissolve the formula and kill any bacteria present. Cooler water is then dispensed to ensure every bottle is delivered at body temperature – just like breast milk.
It preps the perfect bottle in just two minutes, and is ideal for day and night, with its bottle stand downlights. The machine contains a pre-loaded filter that will last up to three months.
Throw away unused milk
Throw away any unused formula or breast milk after you have finished bottle feeding your baby.
Wear and tear
As your baby grows, so will their teeth, so it’s always best to check your teats for any signs of biting. Don’t use bottles that are badly worn or scratched and always buy new bottles for each baby you have.
Sterilising your baby’s bottle
Wash your baby’s bottles using a bottle and teat brush in warm soapy water and rinse well before you sterilise them.
If you haven’t yet invested in a steriliser, the NHS recommends that you boil your baby’s feeding equipment in a large pan of water for at least 10 minutes, making sure it all stays under the surface. The downside to this method of sterilisation is that teats do tend to get damaged faster.
This Tommee Tippee steriliser is designed to kill viruses and 99.9% of bacteria. It sterilises with UV light, which is a safe and dry method that doesn’t use heat, steam or harsh chemicals. The Ultra UV 3-in-1 Steriliser, Dryer and Storage sterilises all those hard to reach areas, ridding bottles of germs that might otherwise linger. It will also sterilise teats, breast pumps and other accessories.
Items will stay sterilised for 24 hours if they are left in the steriliser.