To make feeding time pleasant for you and baby, here’s how to get the most milk in and the most air up, and to do it safely.
Giving the bottle:
- Most babies enjoy their formula slightly warmed; run warm tap water over the bottle for several minutes. Shake a few drops on your inner wrist to check the temperature.
- To minimize air swallowing, tilt the bottle, allowing the milk to fill the nipple and the air to rise to the bottom of the bottle.
- Keep baby’s head straight in relation to the rest of the body. Drinking while the head is turned sideways or tilted back makes it more difficult for baby to swallow.
- To lessen arm fatigue and present different views to baby, switch arms at each feeding.
- Watch for signs that the nipple hole is too large or too small. If baby gets a sudden mouthful of milk and sputters and almost chokes during a feeding, milk flow may be too fast. Turn the full bottle upside down without shaking. If milk flows instead of drips, the nipple hole is too large; discard the nipple. If baby seems to be working hard, tires easily during sucking, and his cheeks cave in because of a strong suction vacuum, the nipple hole may be too small (formula should drip at least one drop per second).
- Know when to quit. Babies know when they’ve had enough. Avoid the temptation to always finish the bottle. If baby falls into a deep sleep near the end of the feeding, but has not finished the bottle, stop. Often babies fall into a light sleep toward the end of the bottle, but continue a flutter- type of sucking. They have had enough to eat, but enjoy a little “dessert” of comfort sucking. Remove the bottle and allow baby to suck a few minutes on your fingertip.