Newborns naturally learn how to suck from a baby bottle’s nipple or their mother’s breast. New parents typically decide beforehand whether they plan to breastfeed their baby or bottle feed their baby.
If they decide to bottle feed with either formula or expressed breast milk, then it is best to feed a newborn baby through a bottle right from the start. But, the process of bottle feeding a baby is not always smooth. There is a learning curve that a baby goes through while bottle feeding.
Here, we will take an in depth look at how to successfully and safely bottle feed a newborn. Plus, include some useful bottle feeding newborn baby tips you can put to use today.
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Is Bottle Feeding Safe For A Newborn Baby?
Even though breastfeeding is the recommended way to feed a baby, it is not always the case that it works out. Or, for various reasons, it could be a choice made by parents that bottle feeding is better for their family.
There can be many reasons a newborn baby is bottle fed. Some of these reasons include mom going back to work, an inadequate milk supply, breastfeeding is too stressful, plus many more.
All these conditions are very normal, and there is no shame if someone chooses to bottle feed their baby.
Formula feeding is the safest and recommended alternative to breast milk. It is completely safe and made according to the needs of a baby’s healthy development.
For expressed milk, it is very important to store breast milk in the correct manner, for example at the right temperature. For both formula feeding and bottle feeding breast milk, it is completely safe to bottle feed a newborn.
What Amount Should My Newborn Baby Be Drinking?
To avoid overfeeding a baby and making her uncomfortable, it is important to know the right amount of milk that she should be drinking.
A newborn baby should be drinking 2 to 3 ounces of formula every 3 to 4 hours.
A newborn baby typically drinks 1.5 to 2 ounces of breast milk every 2 hours.
Signs Of Hunger In Your Newborn Baby
For new moms, it can be a constant struggle to figure out when they should be feeding their baby. The good thing is babies do give hunger cues that can help parents know when it is time for a feeding.
Some of those cues are as follows:
- Sucking on hands or fingers
- Opening and closing the mouth
- Becoming more active
- Turning head side to side searching for milk
When these signs go unnoticed, it eventually leads a baby to start crying. Watching out for hunger cues in your newborn and feeding her before she is upset is beneficial.
It will be easier to feed your baby. Plus, once a baby starts crying it can be difficult to calm him or her down.
Signs Of Being Full
It is important to feed a baby until she is fully fed and satisfied. But, you also want to make sure she is not overfed.
Look out for these cues that help you identify when a baby is full.
- Baby tries to move away from the bottle
- Baby opens fists and relaxes them
How Long Does It Take A Newborn Baby To Drink A Bottle?
A newborn takes some time to learn the art of feeding on a bottle. It can take up to 15 to 20 minutes for a newborn to finish a bottle.
If a baby drinks milk in 5 minutes, it means the flow is too fast. Similarly, if a baby is regularly taking 30 minutes to finish a bottle, then it means the flow is too slow.
In such cases, you might need to change the bottle or the nipple size.
What To Do If Baby Drinks Milk Too Fast And Chokes?
If a baby drinks milk too fast from a bottle causing choking, one solution is to change the nipple of the bottle. Find a nipple that has slower flow.
To prevent choking in babies while they drink milk, you can try the following tips.
- Select a nipple according to your baby’s age.
- Take feeding breaks after a few minutes and try to burp your baby.
- Do not lay down a baby while drinking milk. Put her in a position where her head is slightly elevated while drinking from the bottle.
- Try paced bottle feeding.
If a baby chokes on milk and the situation is resolves on its own quickly, it is nothing to get too concerned about. However, if this is a consistent problem, try the tips above.
Things To Consider When Selecting A Baby Bottle
This is indeed a very important step to choose the right bottle for your baby. There could be certain bottles that cause reflux issues for your baby, in particular.
Some bottles may be full of chemicals in the form of plastic. A thorough study could be required to select the right bottle for your baby.
Bottles are typically made of either plastic or glass. Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Always select a bottle with the habits and health of your baby in mind. For example, if your baby is moves around a lot while drinking, then glass bottles are probably not the best choice because they could break.
Meanwhile, glass bottles do have the advantage that they are chemical-free. Whereas, plastic bottles are safe to carry and are light weight.
Whether you opt for glass or plastic baby bottles is totally up to you. But, keep these bottle selection tips in mind when purchasing bottles for your newborn.
Bottles That Are BPA Free
To ensure the complete absence of chemicals in the bottle, always buy Bisphenol-A (BPA)-free bottles. If you are still not satisfied with BPA-free bottles, then you have the option to go for glass bottles.
Buy Small Bottles
One of the essential newborn baby bottle feeding tips is that you should buy small bottle sizes (4 to 5 ounces). You will buy bigger sized bottles when your newborn gets a little bit older.
Buy bottles that have broader necks, they are easier to clean.
If your baby is colicky, then try bottles with angled necks because they reduce bubble formation. Less bubbles will hopefully lead to less gas.
Keep Breast Pump And Bottle Brand The Same
Choose the bottle with the same brand as your breast pump, so that you can easily express milk straight into bottles.
Glass Has Durability
Plastic bottles tend to deteriorate with time due to frequent exposure to the heat of a sterilizer. This could potentially require the need to buy new bottles before your baby is done with them.
For glass, you will not need to get new bottles due to deterioration.
For Combined Feeding Get Nipples Similar To The Shape Of The Breast
Be sure you purchase nipples of the same bottle brand, and according to the age of your baby. If you are both bottle feeding and breastfeeding, you should select a nipple that has a shape similar to the breast.
It is also important to note that nipples must be changed out frequently to maintain hygiene.
Choosing The Right Bottle For Your Newborn
How do you choose the best bottle for your newborn? Sometimes it can be a matter of trial and error.
To help you out we have created a list of recommended bottles. These are bottles that are of great quality and have been chosen by parents over and over again through the years.
Philips Avent – Natural Nipple
These natural Philips Avent bottles are great because they have few parts, are easy to clean, and have slow flow nipples. I found the nipple flow to be a little bit slower slow when compared to other brands. This made it easier for my newborn to drink from it.
The natural nipple is also shaped as close to the breast as possible, making this a great choice for moms who are supplementing with formula.
The great thing about Dr. Brown’s bottles is the vent system to help eliminate bubbles when babies are feeding. If you are concerned about bubbles causing discomfort for your baby, then these bottles are a great choice.
One down side for Dr. Brown’s bottles is the extra parts for the vent system require a little more cleaning and assembly time than other bottles.
If you are pumping, getting bottles that match up with your breast pump brand can make the whole process much simpler. Personally, I had a Medela breast pump, so I tried out Medela bottles for my baby and he liked them.
Philips Avent – Glass Bottles
Looking for a chemical free and more natural way to feed your baby? Then these Philips Avent glass bottles are the way to go.
One watch out is that since they are glass they are breakable, so handle with care. It is recommended to invest in a sleeve, to protect the bottle in case it does fall.
Another great option for bottle feeding a newborn baby are Tommee Tippee bottles. These bottles are a favorite among parents.
They have a nipple shaped similar to the breast and are known for their slow flowing nipples.
Philips Avent – Anti-Colic
If you are looking for bottles made specifically for babies with colic, then these anti-colic bottles from Philips Avent are just what you need. They come with a special vent to keep milk, and not air, in the nipple at all times.
How To Prepare A Bottle For A Newborn Baby
As part of this post on bottle feeding newborn baby tips, it is important to share information on how to prepare bottles for both formula feeding and bottle feeding breast milk. See below for instructions on each.
Preparing Powder Formula Bottles
To prepare a bottle of formula milk for a baby, you should go through the following steps.
- Wash your hands
- Wash the bottle thoroughly and sterilize it
- Take room temperature bottled water or room temperature water that has been boiled and measure it in the bottle
- Measure and add formula to the bottle
- Shake the bottle by swirling it until it the water and powder are well mixed
Breast Milk Bottle Preparation
To prepare a bottle of breast milk, you should go through the following steps.
- Express and collect breast milk
- Store it in the refrigerator or freezer
- Thaw and/or warm the milk to room temperature
- Pour it in a sterilized bottle
I will also add that you can mix formula and breast milk together in a bottle. First, you would mix the amount of formula needed. Then, top off the bottle with breast milk.
Bottle Feeding Positions
To ensure that your baby has a safe and comfortable bottle feeding session, follow these guidelines for bottle feeding positions.
- Place the baby’s head in the crook of your arm in the cradling position, then lift baby’s head slightly. A baby should never be lying straight back while drinking milk because it can lead to choking.
- Have your baby sit up while drinking from a bottle. You can give the baby support with your chest.
It is also important to note that while feeding a baby you should make sure the nipple is filled with milk. You can keep the nipple filled by keeping the bottle tilted.
By keeping the nipple filled with milk, you prevent your baby from sucking in air as she drinks.
Bottle Feeding Positions For Babies With Reflux
Babies who have reflux issues can be very difficult to handle. A little mistake can cause a lot of pain for them.
Both breastfed and bottle-fed babies might experience reflux. Follow these bottle feeding newborn baby position tips to help to cope with reflux issues.
- Check the flow of the nipple. Make sure it is not too fast or slow. It should be age-appropriate for the baby.
- Feed in small, but frequent quantities.
- Take breaks in between feedings and try to burp the baby as many times as possible.
- A baby should never be lying flat while drinking milk. Hold them in an upright position while they drink, and after drinking as well.
- Try using anti-gas drops for babies with colic issues.
- Try using a bottle made specifically for babies with reflux.
How To Bottle Feed A Baby Step By Step
Once the baby’s bottle is prepared and at the right temperature, it’s time to feed the baby by following these steps.
- Comfortable position: Find a comfortable position for yourself and the baby so that both of you do not get tired.
- Fill the entire nipple: Make sure the milk fills the entire nipple. It helps to minimize the amount of air that goes into the baby’s tummy. Hold the bottle in a horizontal position so that the nipple is filled with milk.
- Burp the baby: Burping a baby in between and after feeds helps prevent spitting up, crankiness, and being gassy.
- Bond with the baby: This is the perfect opportunity to get to know your baby. Look straight into her eyes, sing some songs, or talk to her. This will make feeding sessions a happy time.
Signs Of Poor Bottle Latching
Next up on the list of newborn baby bottle feeding tips is reviewing poor bottle latching. It can be stressful when a baby does not latch on to the bottle properly.
There are many reasons that babies cannot latch properly. Here are some signs that a baby is struggling with drinking from a bottle.
- Chewing on the bottle’s nipple
- Turning head away from the bottle
- Unable to suck milk from the bottle
- Coughing while feeding
- Not being able to swallow milk and spitting it out
What To Do If Baby Is Not Latching Onto The Bottle Properly
If your baby is not latching properly, you will need to try to figure out why. Below are some reasons why a baby is unable to latch onto a bottle.
- If you notice signs of reflux problems, this could be an indicator that your baby is having trouble latching onto the bottle. You can try to resolve the issue by using the reflux tips that were provided earlier.
- The structure of a baby’s face i.e. cheeks, mouth, tongue or jaw can affect their feedings. These body parts directly affect how a baby is able to latch on to a bottle.
- It is possible that the oral muscles of the baby are too weak and do not have the strength to suck onto the bottle properly. It can happen even if the oral motions look normal to you.
Any of these issues can be formerly identified by a medical doctor only. If you have tried your best to get your baby to latch on to a bottle but failed, it is a good idea to call your baby’s pediatrician.
If necessary, you may even be referred to a professional who specializes in feeding issues.
You can safely bottle feed your baby, just follow these bottle feeding newborn baby tips to make it easier on you.
Bottle feeding can be a stressful journey for some parents. But, once you and baby get the hang of it, it becomes much easier, and you will probably start to enjoy bottle feeding sessions.
Every baby is different and you should not rely solely on anyone else’s experiences. Try out different bottle feeding methods for yourself and see what suits you and your baby best. Happy newborn baby bottle feeding!