|photo by Adam Davis|
Did you know the World Health Organization has guidelines on how formula should be prepared? Not all formula companies follow these guidelines when writing their preparation steps, so you should read the guidelines to ensure you are preparing your formula in the safest way for your baby.
Those who bottle feed with expressed breast milk should follow similar safety guidelines, found on the La Leche League site.
You can still bond with your baby although you are not nursing. During feedings, hold or wear your baby, including skin-to-skin contact with infants; sing or talk to your baby; and give your baby lots of hugs and kisses. Avoid getting convenient bottle-holding devices for feeding Baby before he or she can hold the bottle without help. They encourage overeating (and sucking air if you're not paying attention, which will give them stomach aches and gas) and discourage bonding. Also, holding your baby in your arms, which puts Baby at a slight angle as opposed to lying down, can decrease spitting up and reflux.
Bottle feeders should follow the same advice as breastfeeding moms: feed your baby on demand. Don't make a set feeding schedule and don't force your baby to drink the whole bottle. Baby knows when he or she is hungry or full. If your baby is gaining weight and having plenty of wet diapers, your baby is eating enough.
As tempting as it is to do because it works, avoid letting Baby fall asleep with the bottle. First, it will rot your baby's teeth, whether or not they are in yet. If Baby must have a bottle immediately before bed, don't allow Baby to fall asleep until after you've brushed his or her teeth. While Baby is an infant, you can simply wipe the inside of Baby's mouth with a clean, damp cloth. (I've heard conflicting information on whether or not breast milk has the same effect on Baby's teeth. I think it's better to be safe and start good oral habits early.)
Second, pediatricians advise that babies should be completely weaned from bottles by the time they are one, though you can start sippy cups as early as six months. Weaning will be easier if they are not attached to the bottle at night. If you are afraid Baby will want to fall asleep with the sippy cup, either buy the kind with a straw, which cannot be sipped lying down, or put a little bit of water in the cup instead of milk (if Baby is one or older).
Third, according to BYU Magazine, there is a 36 percent increased risk of childhood obesity for infants put to bed with a bottle.
Do you have any other advice?