Bottle Feeding

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Using Bottles

If you decide to give your baby their milk via a bottle, it’s always best to limit the number of people doing the feeding to just the parents. This encourages all of the wonderful parent and baby bonding we have already discussed.

‘Pace feeding’ your baby by sitting them in a semi-upright position and holding the bottle horizontally will help them control the milk flow.

As your baby comes towards the end of their feed, they may not want all the milk in the bottle. You will start to recognise this by looking for cues such as splayed fingers, turning their head to the side and pushing the bottle away. Lower the bottle and wind them. You can offer the bottle again but if they don’t continue to feed, it’s important you don’t force them to finish the milk.
Everyone’s feeding experiences will be different. You and your baby are individuals and will learn a lot from each other. There’s also plenty of help and support available from midwives, health visitors, support workers and healthy child practitioners. You can always talk to us.

Equipment and Sterilisation

Before you make up your baby’s feed, ensure your hands are clean, the work surface is cleaned, and your bottles, teats or feeding system are sterilised and ready for use.

When making up formula, it’s important to make this as per the manufacturer’s guidelines on the tin, tub or bottle. We advise you only use a first infant milk until your baby is one year old, and then move on to full-fat cow’s milk. There is no need to buy follow-on milks.

Sterilisations Methods

There are several ways you can sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment. These include:

Cold Water Sterilising Solution

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Leave feeding equipment in the sterilising solution for at least 30 minutes.
  • Change the sterilising solution every 24 hours.
  • Make sure there are no air bubbles trapped in the bottles or teats when putting them in the sterilising solution.
  • Your steriliser should have a floating cover or a plunger to keep all the equipment under the solution.

Steam Sterilising (Electric Steriliser or Microwave)

  • It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as there are several different types of sterilisers.

Sterilising by Boiling

  • Make sure the items you want to sterilise in this way are safe to boil.
  • Boil the feeding equipment in a large pan of water for at least 10 minutes, making sure it all stays under the surface.
  • Set a timer so you do not forget to turn the heat off.
  • Remember that teats tend to get damaged faster with this method. Regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged.

Responsive Feeding

As you start to get to know your baby, you will instinctively start to recognise their different cues and know when to feed them. They may be moving their head from side to side, or putting their hands inside their mouth.

Crying is a very late sign of hunger, and it may be best to calm your baby down before offering a feed. Some skin-to-skin time, talking to them and rocking them can all help to calm and soothe your baby.

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