Bottle-feeding is not as easy as it seems, especially if you’re tired from work and taking care of the baby the whole day or still half-asleep. Plus, with a barrage of tips and tricks from grandparents and parent friends on the right way to bottle-feed, it’s enough for any parent to get confused. So to help you out, here are a few common bottle-feeding mistakes that we should try to not do right from the start.
Not being flexible about feeds
Perhaps the most common question parents ask about bottle-feeding is the frequency – how often does the baby need to feed? Most pediatricians recommend maintaining a flexible feeding schedule. This means to take your cues from your baby, feed him when he’s hungry, and not according to your set schedule.
Feeding baby every time he cries
At the same time, parents should also remember that babies are not automatically hungry every time they cry. It could mean several other things such as over-stimulation, sleepiness, or even a dirty diaper. Especially if he cries right after you have fed him a few minutes ago. Try to comfort him first before resorting to giving another bottle.
Not following the recommended formula to water ratio
Always remember to follow the milk formula’s recommended constitution of liquid versus powder to ensure that your baby is getting the right nutrition he needs. Milk manufacturers have studied the right amount of liquid and powder that could provide the right nutrition serving for your baby while also being safe for his still delicate digestive system. So remember, follow the directions carefully.
Not keeping the bottles clean enough
Moms can be cautious and OC about cleaning and sterilizing baby bottles and items but how do we exactly know if it’s clean enough? The general rule is to sterilize the feeding bottles, rings, and nipples, every time you use it to feed your baby. And before using it for the first time, you should sterilize these in a pot of boiling water for around an hour or you can also use a UB or steam sterilizer made specifically for baby bottles. If you’re not using a sterilizer or if your sterilizer does not have a dryer, you should dry it after with a clean dry towel. Also, remember to wash all parts of your baby’s feeding bottle with a baby bottle cleanser after each feeding.
Not feeding baby in the right position
The position you feed your baby is also important. And you need to remember one thing: do not feed your baby in a sleeping position. Especially during the first few months. Chances are, your baby will most likely spill out most of his milk, or it might flow out into his mid-ear canal which might then cause an ear infection. Always remember to keep your baby’s head elevated during feeding sessions.
Not burping the baby after feeding
Always remember to burp your baby or keep him in an upright position for a few minutes after each feeding. During feeding, your baby might also swallow air, which could make him uncomfortable and lead to fussiness or even long crying spells. To minimize this risk, burp him as much as possible by:
- Put your baby in your shoulder and hold him close to your chest with him looking over your shoulder. Gently rub or pat his back.
- Put him on your lap in an upright sitting position (if he can) and lean his weight forward against your hand’s heel. Again, gently rub or pat his back.
- Lay him down on his stomach on your lap or the bed and gently rub or pat his back.
Not sticking to formula milk or breast milk in one feeding
Note that it is ok to mix feed – that is, alternately feeding your baby breast milk and formula milk in different feeds. But do not mix both formula and breastmilk in one feeding bottle as doing so can affect both milks’ composition which might then adversely affect your baby’s digestion.
Also, remember that it’s best to always consult your Pediatrician and follow his recommendations when it comes to your baby’s feeding to ensure that he gets the right nutrition and to monitor his health.
Happy feeding, mommies!