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Bottle-feeding routines

Bottle-fed babies tend to be fed less frequently than breastfed ones. This is because formula milk contains slightly different proteins and takes longer to digest than breast milk. A four-hurly regime of six feeds a day seems to suit most bottlefed babies after the first two or three days, whereas breastfed babies will probably take seven feeds a day. When first born, your baby will probably not take much over 60ml (2floz) at each feed, but as he grows he’ll take fewer and larger feeds.

Never feed your baby according to the clock; let him determine he is to be fed. He’ll let you know quite clearly with cries when he is hungry. Your baby’s appetite will vary, so if he seems satisfied, allow him to leave what he doesn’t want. Don’t feel like your baby has to finish the bottle at each feed. He’ll get too full and posset it back (see opposite); or worse, become overfed and fat. But if your baby is still hungry, give him some extra from another bottle. If this happens regularly, start to make more milk for every feed.

Night feeds

Your baby will need feeding once during the night, and this break in your sleep on top of all the other things that you have to do may make you extremely tired and tense. The problem isn’t so much the sleep that you lose, but more the way in which your sleep patterns are broken over long periods. For this reason, try to get adequate rest, day and night, and share the jobs with your partner.

Reducing night feeds

At first your baby won’t be able to sleep for more than five hours at a time without waking with hunger. Once he reaches a weight of about 5kg (11b), you can try to stretch the time between feeds until you’re getting about six hours of undisturbed sleep at night. Although your baby will have his own routine, try to time his last feed to coincide with your own bedtime, which should be as late as possible. You may find that he still wakes up for the early morning feed, but you’ll just have to be patient until he no longer needs it.

Overfeeding

Obese babies are nine times more likely to be obese adults, with all the attendant dangers to health. Unfortunately, it’s tempting to put extra formula into the bottle, so always follow the instructions precisely, otherwise you’ll be giving your baby unwanted calories. Second, in your anxiety to feed him “properly” you’ll want to see your baby finish the last drop of his feed, but you should always let him decide when he’s finished. Introducing solids too early and giving sweet, syrupy drinks also cause overfeeding.

Underfeeding

This is rare in bottlefed babies, but if your child consistently seems fretful after he drains each bottle, he may well be hungry. Offer him an extra 60ml (2floz) of formula. If he takes it, then he needs it.
If your baby demands frequent feeds but doesn’t take much, the teat hole may be too small so that he is having difficulty sucking the milk and is tired he gets enough.

Winding

Winding releases air that’s swallowed during feeding. It’s unlikely that wind causes your baby discomfort, and many babies are not noticeably happier or more contented for been winded. Swallowing air is more common in bottlefed babies, but you can prevent it so that the teat is full of milk and not air, or by using disposable bottles. Slow down, hold him gently, and stroke and pat him, and this is good for you both.

Preparing feeds safely

To protect your baby from bacteria, make sure all feeding equipment is scrupulously clean, and take care with the storage and preparation of formula.

  • Follow all sterilizing instructions very carefully.
  • Wash your hands before sterilizing, making, or giving feeds.
  • Use fresh tap water for making up feeds. Boil the water in the kettle and then let it cool for up to half an hour.
  • Follow the instructions giving with the formula very closely. Make sure the water level in the bottle is correct and never add extra fee.
  • Don’t make feeds up in advance. If you want to take a feed out with you, take hot water in a vacuum flask and make the feed when needed. Alternatively, chill the feed in the fridge, carry it with you in a cool bag, and use in four hours.
  • After a feed, throw away any leftover milk.

WINDING YOUR BABY

Hold your baby close to you and stroke or pat him gently to help him bring up air bubbles.
about safety and portability.

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