Bringing your baby up is one of the most joyous experiences for every parent. It all begins with making appropriate food choices for your baby during the first year of their life as this is the time when more growth occurs for a newborn. For new mums, one of the first challenges is usually bottle-feeding. If your baby can’t always feed directly from your breast, you can choose to bottle-feed with expressed breastmilk or opt for instant formula, which is the safest alternative to breast milk.
Feeding time is a special time for both mums and bubs to enjoy and get to know each other, a time for you to relax and show love to your little one, talk to them, smile, touch, or sing while you hold them in your arms and feed them. To make the most of it, you’ll need feeding bottles and accessories, and here are some tips and advice to help you choose easily.
What Kind of Bottles to Use?
There are many different types of baby feeding bottles you can choose from, but the most popular choices lately are glass or silicone bottles. They are convenient and easy to use and are available in many sizes, so you can choose what’s most suitable for your little one. Smaller bottles are usually easier to use for babies under 4 up to 6 months old. Make sure to wash your baby bottles well after each use, always using a bottle brush and soapy, hot water.
How Many Bottles Should a Baby Have a Day?
Your baby may want different amounts of breast milk or baby formula each day and it may change with each feeding, each day. Usually, it depends on the baby’s weight, how fast are they growing, and of course, how hungry they are. One day your baby may want to drink a lot, while the next day they may not want to drink much.
The best you can do is feed your little one on-demand, meaning every time they seem hungry. You can find a variety of baby feeding bottles and accessories for safe and easy bottle-feeding, so you’ll be well prepared every time they show a sign of hunger, such as the following.
- The baby is more alert, makes sounds with their lips
- Moves around more than usual
- Stick out their tongue or place their fist in their mouth and suck on it
- Starts crying, which is a late sign of hunger
A baby should eat on demand about 2 to 3 hours a day, or 8 to 12 times. Usually, your baby will let you know when they are hungry, but if they don’t, you may need to wake them up and feed them. Each feeding should take approximately 20 minutes. For babies that have a medical problem or have trouble sucking or swallowing, feeding time may take longer.
Whether you’re using pumping, nursing, formula, or a combination of all these feeding methods, tune in to your baby’s fullness cues to avoid overfeeding. While each baby is different, the following are some of the most common signs showing that your baby is full and you can stop feeding them.
- Fidgeting or acting distracted
- Begins to slow down and falls asleep eventually
- Spits out formula
- Stops feeding or only takes a few sucks and pauses
As your baby grows up, your doctor may advise you to stop night feedings to teach your baby to sleep through the night.
How Many Months Can You Use a Feeding Bottle?
If you use BPA free bottles, you should dispose of them after six months or as instructed on the packaging box. However, if you see any cracks, leaks or chips on the bottle, make sure to discard it immediately. Also, if you notice any discolouration on the bottle, it may be time to change it. If you use glass bottles, inspect them very closely before each sue. If you see any scratch, dent or chip, then get a new bottle.
Most of the time, changing the nipple size or teat size is more important than changing the bottle. Generally, teats come in 3 different flows and the slower nipples are used for newborns, while the faster nipples are for older babies. They eat more and can handle the faster flow of milk.
Most likely you’ll need to change it every month or two. If you see any damage, like an excess tear at the opening or thinning of the nipple, or any discolouration, change it immediately.
Try not to make bottle-feeding a habit as it may be very difficult to change it in future. Never force your little one to take a feed from a bottle if they’re not comfortable. Very often it can happen due to nipple confusion. Instead, try giving the bottle once in a while to help your baby get used to it.
It’s important to feed your baby a variety of healthy foods at the proper time. Starting good eating habits at the early stage can help set healthy eating patterns for life. Feeding bottles for babies are essential for the first year, and when they start weaning you can introduce suction plates to make feeding your little one easier until they start eating on their own and then you realise how fast they grow up.