Formula versus nursing...it's always a hot debate. Some Moms nurse and then switch to giving their babies formula. Others never nurse at all. Instead of judging, moms should support each other's choices. Mothers are all different and those who make the decision to give their infants formula should be supported.
Some moms find breastfeeding much harder than others. Moms who do find it tough may find that giving bottles of formula to their babies is the answer.
Any moms-to-be who are considering formula will benefit from reading this list. It's loaded with fifteen helpful facts about things that moms shouldn't do with formula-fed babies...along with five things that pediatricians recommend.
Nursing does have its benefits. Benefits are scientifically proven and indisputable. For example, babies breastfed for at least six months are at lower risk for a range of issues, including allergic problems and lower respiratory illnesses, according to The AAP.
While the advantages of nursing are clear, it isn't for every woman. With this in mind, it's time to share some important tips about formula-feeding babies. Moms-to-be who plan to choose formula need to learn how to administer formula effectively.
20 Shouldn't Do - Choose The Wrong Feeding Angle
When you're giving formula to your beautiful baby, you should make sure that you hold your infant's head at an angle that's slightly elevated. You should also hold the bottle up, to make certain that your baby isn't sucking in a bunch of air. When you follow these "feeding angle" tips, bottle feeding will be a more comfortable experience for your precious baby, and you'll feel more confident, too.
While it may take a little while to get the hang of it, you'll find that holding your baby's head up as you also hold the baby bottle up is really pretty easy. It'll become second nature fast.
19 Shouldn't Do - Ignore Age-Inappropriate Bottle Tips
The tip of the bottle should be sized to suit your baby's age perfectly. Never feed your baby formula from a bottle that doesn't have an age-appropriate tip. If you're feeding a newborn with a bottle, go for the smallest bottle tip on the market. Later on, you'll be able to select bottle tips in a host of flow speeds and sizes.
Some moms select bottle tips made from latex; others opt for silicone. The latex styles have more flexibility and softness than silicone, but aren't as durable. There are also different teat shapes, from natural to orthodontic to flat-topped.
18 Shouldn't Do - Prop The Baby With A Bottle
Until they are between six and ten months of age, babies aren't usually ready to hold their own bottles. The age when a baby is ready to hold a bottle varies from infant to infant. Before then, bottles shouldn't be propped.
We know that bottle-feeding may get a little tiring, but bottle-propping just isn't a good idea. Why not?
Well, the process of propping a bottle, by leaning it against a pillow or another type of support, may lead to problems, including ear health issues, lack of bonding between mother and child, tooth decay (in babies with teeth) and choking. If you need a break, ask someone else to give your baby a bottle. Don't prop.
17 Shouldn't Do - Use Poor-Quality Water
The quality of the water that you add to formula matters. Any form of tap or bottled water that is clean should be ok. If you're not sure about the quality of your water, or have questions about the local water supply in general, ask a pediatrician for advice. You might also reach out to the local water department for answers.
Don't use carbonated water - it's not right for babies. You shouldn't use mineral water, either, because of its sodium content. For the first half year of your baby's life, water used in formula should not be fluoridated.
16 Shouldn't Do - Allow Judging
If you're nervous about being judged because you've decided to give your baby formula, rather than mother's milk, you should develop a thick skin about it. Don't let comments from others throw you off balance. You are the mom and you are in charge. You know your reasons for deciding to opt out of nursing. Most people that you know probably won't understand why you've made the choice to bottle-feed with formula, unless you tell them, and it's really none of their business.
Even well-meaning advice may sting, so don't hesitate to tell people who weigh in about your formula-feeding that you don't need advice about it.
15 Shouldn't Do - Let Your Baby Doze During Feedings
Babies have a tendency to fall asleep while they are drinking from bottles. This doesn't mean that you should allow your baby to fall asleep during a feeding. If you do let your baby fall asleep, you'll be sending a message that feeding and sleeping go together. Your baby may soon have trouble falling asleep without the comfort of a bottle.
If this has already become a problem, consider giving your infant a pacifier that offers a similar feeling of comfort. Some moms let their babies suck their thumbs as they fall asleep, because they know that typical babies stop sucking their thumbs by age 1. Whether you approve of thumb-sucking is up to you.
14 Shouldn't Do - Use Bottles That Contain BPA
A lot of baby bottles have linings that feature a chemical known as BPA. BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is utilized to make plastics harder and to keep germs from getting into foods. Many people are concerned about BPA as it relates to the health of human beings, including babies. Some studies on animals have shown that BPA has an adverse impact on endocrine system function. More study is needed to determine how BPA affects people.
To stay on the safe side, choose baby bottles that are free of BPA. Usually, the opaque bottles (that aren't see-through) don't contain BPA.
13 Shouldn't Do - Use Expired Baby Formula
Jars of formula have expiration dates on them, so it's easy to make sure that you don't use expired formula. Most jars stay fresh for at least a few months and moms typically use up the contents of formula jars long before they expire. It's good to get into the habit of glancing at the expiration date on formula before you mix it up, especially if you buy it in bulk.
In terms of formula shelf life, formula that is mixed up doesn't stay fresh for long. It usually stays fresh for just 24 hours. To avoid mistakes that relate to freshness, give your baby formula that has just been mixed. It's the safest strategy.
12 Shouldn't Do - Overheat The Bottles
You shouldn't use a microwave to heat up a bottle. Microwaves may cause hot spots. Instead, warm up water on the stove and place the bottle in it. Never use boiling water. Submerge your baby's bottle in the warm water until it achieves room temperature.
Some moms run tap water until it's warm, add it to bowls and then add bottles. These old-fashioned methods of heating up baby bottles work very well. Heating up bottles in the microwave is a modern idea that just isn't safe. Test the formula on the inside of the wrist, where your skin is tender, to make sure it's not too hot.
11 Shouldn't Do - Ignore Allergy Symptoms In Your Baby
Allergies to the proteins in cow's milk are quite common. In fact, more babies are allergic to cow's milk protein than anything else. Fifty percent of babies who react to cow's milk also react to soy. So, there is a chance that your baby will react to baby formula, no matter which type of formula you're using. Stay alert for allergy symptoms. General fussiness after a feeding, when a baby should be fairly content, may also be a signal that something is wrong.
10 Shouldn't Do - Forget To Create A Bottle Station In The Kitchen
When caring for a newborn or older baby, you'll need to have efficient systems in place that help you to handle baby care as effectively as possible. The more efficient your baby care processes are, the more time you'll have for just bonding with your infant. One baby care system you shouldn't skip is creating a bottle station in your kitchen. All of the supplies that you need to mix formula and warm bottles should be within easy reach.
When you create a bottle station, all of your bottles, caps and tips will be in one place when you need them. This will make your life easier.
9 Shouldn't Do - Forget To Prep Bottles In The Evening
If you went ahead and created the bottle station that we talked about in the last tip, you'll find that your organization really pays off when it's time to do the nighttime feeding. All of the supplies that you need to mix up bottles for nighttime feedings will be right where you need them to be. Women who nurse generally have an easier time of it at night, because they don't need to get bottles ready when they are tired. As a mom who's bottle-feeding with formula, you'll need to prep bottles at night, as much as you can, so they can be ready for the baby within minutes of the baby waking up.
8 Shouldn't Do - Forget To Let Your Partner Feed The Baby
You may find that you don't want to be separated from your baby too often. That was my experience. You will bond with your baby in a deep way and will want to be with him or her most of the time, if not all of the time. If your baby's dad is in the picture, make sure that he gets a chance to give the baby bottles sometimes. Giving a baby a bottle is a way to provide baby care and love at the same time. Your baby's dad needs to be close to the baby and meet the baby's needs, just like you do. Your baby also needs quality time with his father.
7 Shouldn't Do - Put Off Washing Dirty Bottles
The cardinal rule of good housekeeping is cleaning up as you go along. It's just easier to tidy up small messes as they appear than to confront big messes later on. This is true of washing dirty baby bottles, too. Don't let the dirty baby bottles and formula-making implements build up in the sink. Bottles are harder to clean when they've been sitting around for awhile. To clean them right, wash your hands, as well as your utensils, work surface and all parts of the bottles.
If you're going to hand-wash bottles and related gear (and work surfaces), put a basin in your sink. Don't wash them right in the sink.
6 Shouldn't Do - Forget To Buy A Bottle Warmer
If you want to make sure that bottles are warmed correctly, you may want to invest in a bottle warmer. It's an alternative to warming up bottles on the stove (or in bowls of warm water on the kitchen counter). A good bottle warmer from a trusted manufacturer will take the guesswork out of heating up a baby bottle...and take a little bit of pressure off of your shoulders. Some baby bottle warmers do double or triple duty, by also sterilizing pacifiers and/or heating up jars of baby food.
While a bottle warming machine isn't mandatory, a lot of moms do like them.
5 Pediatricians Recommend - Burp Your Baby Often
You should burp your baby halfway through each feeding and also burp your precious infant when he or she is done the feeding. The goal of burping is to release air bubbles that might cause gas. It's smart to do the burping during typical lulls in feeding.
For example, if the baby slows down and takes a break from the bottle around the halfway mark, you might want to try burping then. While there are babies who need more than mid-feeding and post-feeding burping, most do fine without being burped more than twice per feeding. There are different positions for burping, including sitting the baby up.
4 Pediatricians Recommend - Research Different Formulas Before Buying
Before starting your baby on formula, you should educate yourself. Read up on the different types of baby formula on the market. Familiarize yourself with typical ingredients in formula and so on. Compare reviews of baby formula brands to find top-rated formulas. Make sure that reviews come from authority resources.
With so many baby formulas on store shelves, and at online retailers, it can be hard to decide what's best. You'll probably feel safe buying the most famous brands, but you will have choices. Similac and Enfamil are the top sellers worldwide. Gerber Good Start is the #3 best-selling baby formula.
3 Pediatricians Recommend - Use Feeding Times To Bond
Feeding times are great times to feel really close to your baby. Since you'll be holding your infant, you'll have the opportunity to make eye contact as you snuggle. Giving a baby a bottle can be very fulfilling. Use feeding times to bond. They are quiet times that are so special. Sure, you're not going to be in a great mood during every single feeding, but there will be times when you feel great and you'll probably love giving your baby bottles at these times.
Also, if you're tired, you may find that cuddling with your baby while you give him or her a bottle is a great way to recharge your batteries.
2 Pediatricians Recommend - Switch Arms While You're Feeding Your Baby
To maximize bonding, switch the arm that you hold your baby with sometimes, such as halfway through a feeding. When you do, your baby will get a different view of you. You'll also be able to rest that arm that was supporting your baby's weight. If you were nursing your baby, he or she would gain a different perspective of you when you switched from one side of your chest to the other. When you bottle feed and switch arms, your baby will get the same different perspective. This will help you to simulate a nursing experience as authentically as possible.
1 Pediatricians Recommend - Invest In Fun Feeding Accessories
There are some fun feeding accessories out there, such as colorful baby bottles with whimsical patterns. Treat yourself and your baby to anything safe and top-rated that appeals to you. Cute bibs that are baby-safe are great choices. They will protect your baby's clothes from any formula that gets spilled or comes back up. While all babies don't wear bibs while being bottle-fed, bibs are certainly convenient and practical, and they come in some adorable styles.
Now that you know what not to do (and what you should do) while bottle-feeding your baby, you will be ready to master bottle-feeding.
References: Cbsnews.com, Babycenter.com, Parents.com, Mayoclinic.org, Madeformums.com