Most often mothers find difficulty in feeding their babies from bottle. It is good to get educated before you start bottle feeding your child. Feeding bottles play a crucial role when it comes to feeding your child and deciding on the perfect bottle is a hard task. One of the best ways while choosing the type of bottle is to experiment. Buy a few bottles and see which suits you and your baby best. The number of bottles you need to buy can range from about four to 12, depending on whether you will primarily be bottle feeding or breastfeeding. There are certain crucial things to be considered while buying your baby’s feeding bottle- the size, shape, material and types of the bottles and the nipple. Being aware of these small things about feeding bottle will help you in choosing the perfect one for your baby.
Types of Bottle Feeding
There are a great variety of bottles available in the market ranging from the basic plastic ones to anti colic bottles, plastic bottles, glass bottles and disposable ones. Plastic baby bottles are light weight and unbreakable. But they may not last as long as the glass ones. Glass baby bottles last a long time and can also be deep cleaned by boiling. They are heavier than plastic, but when dropped, it will break. Disposable bottles are essentially reusable plastic bottles that use a disposable sterilized liner for each feeding. They are very convenient for quick clean ups. They are usually expensive than plastic or glass. You also need to have a supply of liners which can be costly.
Size of the bottle
The appetite of a baby usually varies with age. A newborn may need a smaller bottle than baby who is older. However, you can always buy a bigger bottle, but make sure not to fill up completely.
Shape of the bottle
The shape of the bottle is also an important factor. Bottles with unusual shapes, such as angular shaped bottles prevent air from entering into baby’s stomach.
You can choose latex or silicone nipples. Latex nipples are softer and more flexible, but they don’t last for long. Also some babies are allergic to such type of nipple. Silicone nipples are firmer and hold their shape longer.
Nipples size and flow
Nipples come in a range of sizes and flow speeds, from slow to fast. Newborns usually need the smallest size which has the slowest flow. Nipples are marked with the size and a suggested age range. But babies may not often follow as per the given size. You may have to try different nipple sizes to find one that works best for your baby.
Shape of the nipple
The shape of the nipple can be traditional, orthodontic or flat topped nipples. Orthodontic nipples are shaped to support your child’s palate and gums. Flat topped nipples are said to feel more like mother’s breast and may be good choice if you plan to switch between breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Cleaning and Sterilizing
A baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed, and babies are more susceptible to infection and illness than an older child or adult. Cleanliness is therefore very important when preparing your baby’s bottles. Always clean and sterilize the bottles, teats, and all the feeding equipment you have used, until your baby is at least six months old. This helps your baby from getting sick from germs. If you choose to stop sterilizing the equipment after your baby is six months old, always make sure the bottles, teats and equipment are cleaned well for any babies or toddlers.
How to clean after a feed
Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them well. Rinse the bottle and teat with cold water from the tap straight after feeding. Then wash the bottle and teat well with hot water and detergent. Use a brush to clean all bits of milk off from the inside of the bottle. Turn the teat inside out to clean off bits of milk and run water through the holes. Then rinse the bottle and teat with clean water again.
How to Sterilize
Sterilizing is the process of killing any harmful germs that may be clinging to surfaces of the bottles and other equipment. Microwave and electric sterilizing have gained popularity in recent years. However, you may not always have access to electricity or a microwave, so it is worth being familiar with more traditional methods. The next step is sterilizing all equipments and bottles used to make your baby’s feed. Put bottles, teats and other equipment into a large pan. Cover with cold tap water. Make sure all the equipments are completely covered with water and there are no air bubbles. Put a lid on the pan, bring it to a boil. You need to boil for five minutes. Let the water cool before taking the equipment out. Put the lid on the bottles and store everything in a clean, dry place.
Other Tips to Remember
- Always sterilize the new bottles before giving it to your baby.
- Use a gentle and safe detergent to wash the bottles.
- Discard scratched or worn bottles and make sure that the teats and all the fittings are in good condition. Scratches may release small amounts of chemicals.
- Never leave a formula in the bottle after the baby has finished feeding. This leaves stains and makes the bottle harder to clean.