Bottle feeding - Canpol's Mums advise - Canpol

Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.

Bottle feeding

I will give you tips on how to make sure you have a safe position during bottle feeding, how to correctly give the bottle to your baby, how to ensure your baby a feeling of nearness during feeding, and also how to adjust feeding times to your baby's needs.

Correct position is the most important thing

When bottle feeding, avoid using a reclining position, as the milk flows from the bottle by gravity (at constant speed, regulated by the teat flow rate). The baby might choke on milk if fed in a horizontal position. Therefore, it's very important to choose the right - more upright - feeding position (the baby's head should always be a little higher than the rest of his body). Your baby's head should rest in the crook of your arm, in line with his spine. The bottle feeding position should remind a natural feeding position - especially when you feed him using two different feeding methods.

Remember:
- Never leave your baby alone with the bottle, as he could choke
- Never let your baby sleep with the bottle in his mouth.

Giving the bottle to your baby

Put the bottle in your baby's mouth so that it forms a right angle with his face. Your baby doesn't have to embrace the whole teat with his lips, but only the oblong part of it, with his lips resting on the rounded part. The oblong part should always be full of milk. Otherwise, your baby will swallow a lot of air with the feed, which can cause colic. Air bubbles in the bottle mean that your baby sucks correctly.

Emotional bond

Small children need a lot of love and affection. Your nearness makes him feel safe. Therefore, it's very important that you talk to him gently, cuddle him and stroke him, as often as possible. Feeding is the best possible moment for building an emotional relationship with your child. It's very easy to do when you breastfeed, as you are already in physical contact with each other. However, bottle feeding also enables building a close relationship between the child and parent, as it also involves hugging the baby to your warm body. It also allows other family members - the father and siblings, to bond with the baby, as the baby can be bottle fed not only by the mum.

Peace and calm

Never feed your baby when you're irritated or stressed. First, take a moment to yourself, take a deep breath and try to relax. When you have calmed down, take a seat in a comfortable armchair, lay a pillow under your arm, rest your baby on the pillow and start feeding, while talking gently to your baby. Your child senses your emotions. If you're stressed, he too will feel uneasy. Also, never feed your baby when he's agitated, crying or screaming. When he's in such a state, his airways aren't protected and the feed could get to his larynx instead of his foodpipe.

Feeding by the clock

Formula milk isn't as easily digested by the baby's stomach as breastmilk, therefore - according to traditional principles - it should only be given once in three hours. However, some modern paediatricians claim that it's better to give the baby formula milk on demand, i.e. when your baby is hungry. According to them, it's better to give your baby the bottle than wait another hour when he'll be stressed and cranky, because he's so hungry. You should, however, control the number of feedings and your baby's weight gain. During his first month, your baby should eat 7-8 times a day, 90-100 ml at each feed, in his second month: 6-7 times a day, 100-120 ml at each feed. During his first six months, your baby should gain about 150-200 g a week.

Breaks during feeding

When your baby sucks milk from the bottle, he also swallows air. Therefore, he might feel full even before he has finished half the bottle. When feeding your baby, you should take breaks every few minutes in order to let your baby bring up wind - after such a break, he should feel hungry again. Hold the baby in an upright or semi-upright position for a moment during feeding (sometimes even for a few minutes), and let him bring up wind from the digestive tract that has been accumulated during feeding. Help you baby by holding him on your shoulder, with his hands falling on your back. Bend and widen his legs a little. You can also massage his back or pat him gently from the bottom up. Remember to protect your clothes with a muslin square or towel. You can also burp your baby when he's lying on your knees. Your baby should lie on his tummy, resting on your thigh, with his hands hanging freely on the other side. His bottom should rest on your leg, placed a little lower than the other leg. If you don't help your baby bring up the air accumulated in his stomach, it will cause painful gas.

Małgorzata

Mum of 21 year old Rafał and 14 year old Adrianna, 11 years of professional experience

dr Aleksandra Łada

Clinical Neuro-speech Therapist
- consulting

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