How to Bottle-Feed a Baby


If a mother is really unhappy at the prospect of breast-feeding her child, or if in exceptional circumstances she proves unable to do so, bottle-feeding is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

Choice of bottle and teat

Feeding bottles can be made either of glass or of plastic. For convenience, measurements of volume are marked on the outside.

The shape of the sucking end of the teat resembles the human nipple as nearly as possible. The teat should have a hole large enough to allow milk to drip out unaided when the bottle is held upside down, at a rate of several drops a second. If an existing hole is too small, it can be enlarged by piercing the teat with a red-hot needle (placing the eye of the needle in a cork before heating it will prevent burnt fingers). Sterilize the teat before use.

Choice of foods

There are many varieties of milk on the market that are suitable for feeding babies -and a few that are not. Giving unmodified milks to babies under six months old is dangerous. Formula milk should be used until the baby is at least six months old.

Formula milk is the usual substitute for breast milk, and is cow’s milk adapted specially for babies to make it resemble human milk. In dried, powder form formula milk can be bought from many food shops, child health centres or chemists, and there is no significant difference between any of the standard dried milks. Liquid formula is also available, although less readily.

Sterilizing feeding equipment

In preparing any type of food for a baby, contamination with germs must be avoided. All utensils must be sterilized and you should wash your hands before you start.

Immediately after use all bottles and teats should be rinsed inside and out with cold water, washed in warm water with washing-up liquid, then rinsed again. The teat should be rubbed inside with salt to remove any milk that may have got trapped and rinsed thoroughly once more. Bottles and teats should then be immersed in a container filled with sterilizing solution, it is important that no air bubbles are trapped inside the bottles or teats. If you have not bought a purpose-made container, you may need to cover the teats with glass to stop them floating to the top. Leave the bottles and teats in the solution for at least two hours before draining. Rinse with cool boiled water.

It is also possible to sterilize feeding equipment by placing it in a saucepan of warm water and boiling for three minutes.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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