How to Bottle-Feed Your Baby: Step-by-Step
- Keep it personal.
Just as with breastfeeding and bonding, bottle-feeding can provide your little one with warmth, comfort, eye contact, skin contact, your scent, your conversation—the very basics of bonding. So talk, croon, cuddle, and enjoy your quiet time together.
- Set the scene.
Pick a quiet, comfy spot where neither of you will be distracted. Holding your baby in a semi-upright position makes swallowing easier. To cradle her most easily in this position, you can first place a pillow on your lap.
- Maintain proper hygiene.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing formula. Cleanliness is crucial when you’re learning how to bottle-feed your baby.
- Measure every time you fill a bottle.
Whether you’re using ready-to-pour, liquid concentrate, or powdered formula, follow the instructions for preparation based on the amount you want to serve. If you’re not precise, you can upset your baby’s digestive system or cause her to miss out on her nutrient intake.
- Skip the microwave.
Many babies are fine drinking formula at room temperature or even from bottles that have been premade and stored in the fridge. It’s perfectly nutritious.
If you want to warm a bottle, however, you can do so by immersing it in a pot of warm water until it’s lukewarm. You can check the temperature of warmed formula on your wrist. Avoid heating the bottle in the microwave, as this can create uneven hot spots that can burn your baby’s mouth.
- Take burp breaks.
All babies tend to need burping after they eat. Because bottle-fed babies usually take in more air, which can make them uncomfortable, it helps to pause for a burp every 2 to 3 ounces of formula.
- Watch your baby’s signals.
With formula, you know exactly how much is in the bottle and how much your baby is drinking. Nonetheless, these numbers matter less than your baby’s response. Your baby will let you know by her behaviors when she’s hungry (such as opening her mouth, sucking her hand, or squirming) and when she’s had enough (such as releasing the nipple or falling asleep).
- Consider a breast-bottle combo.
Many moms don’t realize that feeding isn’t necessarily an either-or (breast or bottle) choice. After a breast-feeding mom’s milk supply is established, you may be able to supplement with occasional bottles of formula—handy for a babysitter or if you work and dislike pumping.
- Know that others can help.
The beauty of learning how to bottle-feed a baby is that, even though you still share a happy, natural bonding time with your baby, you can now extend the experience to others in your life. It’s smart to let your partner, parents, or other caregivers have the pleasure sometimes—allowing you to rest up for baby care and play.
Are you looking for more info on how to bottle-feed a baby? Check out our baby nutrition tips today for additional advice on your baby’s diet.