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What Should I Know About Infant Bottle Feeding?

Deanna Baranyi
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many factors to consider when infant bottle feeding. For example, before beginning, it is important to select the proper bottles, nipples, and formulas. Some mothers pump their breast milk and then store it for future use or to allow others to help with late night feedings by giving the infant a bottle filled with breast milk. In addition, there are tips for sterilizing bottles and safety tips for infant bottle feeding. There are also certain tips that may be used when feeding an infant a bottle to prevent colic and other bottle-related issues.

First consider the bottle, itself, when infant bottle feeding. Although most new plastic bottles are not made with Bisphenol A (BPA), it is important to remain vigilant when selecting the bottle to ensure it is BPA-free and will not harm the infant. Most bottles are either small and hold 4 ounces (118.3 ml) or large and hold 9 ounces (266.2 ml). Usually, the smaller bottles are best for newborn infants, while an older baby may benefit from a larger bottle that holds more formula or breast milk. Some bottles have a slight bend in them to prevent colic-causing air bubbles from forming inside the bottle.

There are many different nipples to choose from as well. Most infants prefer a nipple that closely resembles a woman’s breast nipple. Tan nipples are usually made of latex, but they may release unusual flavors and often become sticky after they are used a few times. In addition, some infants may be allergic to latex. Clear nipples are made of silicon and are more slick and more durable.

When selecting a nipple, make sure it has the proper flow. The flow depends on the age of the infant. Newborns need a slow-flowing nipple while older infants need a nipple that has a quicker flow. If a faster flow is needed when infant bottle feeding, it may be helpful to loosen the neck ring, as well.

Selecting formula for infant bottle feeding is typically done by trial and error. If the baby likes a certain brand, stick with it. If the baby rejects a certain brand, try another brand. There are some basic choices that should be made though, such as soy-based formulas or milk-based formulas.

Some people like to purchase additional equipment when infant bottle feeding. For example, a bottle brush and a basket to hold clean bottle rings and nipples may be useful. In addition, there bottle warmers that warm up bottles filled with cold formula or breast milk. Some people like to have formula dispensers when they need to feed their infant outside of the home. The formula dispensers securely hold several accurately measured servings of formula and water for the baby’s bottle.

Before the infant uses a bottle or a nipple for the first time, it is often recommended that they are sterilized with boiling water. From that point on, the bottles and nipples can be washed in soap and warm water. In addition, it is important to follow the directions for making a bottle of formula exactly. Too little water may dehydrate a baby, while too little formula may mean that a baby is not receiving enough nutrients.

If the water has been warmed up, make sure that it is not too hot. The caregiver should put a few drops of the concoction on her wrist, if it feels even slightly hot, it should be considered to be too hot. Never use a microwave to warm up a bottle. It may create hot spots that can burn the baby and it kills any antibodies found in breast milk. If using stored breast milk, make sure it is not stored longer than the guidelines suggest.

Caregivers who are infant bottle feeding should not attempt to force a baby to finish a bottle. In addition, an infant should not have a bottle propped up on a blanket, it may lead to choking, if the baby cannot remove the bottle from her mouth. The baby should not lay flat when using a bottle because it may lead to ear infections. Lastly, burp the infant after she is finished eating. If the baby is prone to colic, it may be helpful if she takes a break in the midst of eating for a burping session.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Deanna Baranyi
By Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her work. With degrees in relevant fields and a keen ability to understand and connect with target audiences, she crafts compelling copy, articles, and content that inform and engage readers.
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Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her...
Learn more
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