Newborn babies and babies, in general, are the most beautiful and precious gifts anyone could ever get, knowing this we as new moms want to know everything there is to know about taking care of them.
In the beginning if you find that you want to bottle feed either formula or breast milk you are going to need to know the proper way for feeding your newborn baby, here are some great tips on how to hold the bottle, positions for reflux, how often to feed your infant and when to stop and burp your baby.
Bottle Feeding Newborn Baby Tips
Here is what you need to do to feed your newborn baby with a bottle, cradle her head in your arm (making sure to support her wobbly head) in a semi-upright position and hold the bottle at an angle making sure she doesn’t suck in air instead of formula or breast milk.
During the first week or so your infant will drink about 1 oz every few hours and 2 to 4 oz for the next few weeks after that.
You should feed on demand to ensure that your baby is getting enough to eat, a tip for how to tell if she is full is by looking at her hand and if it is closed into a fist she is full. This is something I wish I had known as a new mom but no one ever told me this until I had my son.
When feeding your newborn it is important to not be distracted by anything, this is a time when your infant will bond with you more than any other time. Spend your time talking to your baby and looking at their precious angelic face because he will grow up fast and these days of snuggles are very short.
Burping Your Newborn
Your baby can swallow a bit of air while feeding so it is best to stop every 3 to 5 minutes and burp him or he will become very fussy and uncomfortable which will continue to add more air to his already gassy tummy.
To burp your infant sit him up while supporting his head with your hand under his chin and pat his back until you hear him burp, you could also sit him on your shoulder and burp him as well. Be firm when you pat his back you won’t harm him I promise if this doesn’t work very well for you try rubbing his back or placing your baby stomach down on your lap and pat.
Make sure to burp your baby after feeding as well as during this will ensure that your little one won’t have trouble sleeping or be uncomfortable because of gas, you can tell if they have gas trapped in their tummy by it being a little bloated.
A tip to remember for helping your baby release this trapped gas is to do the bicycle exercise if that’s what it’s called (I like to call it that) by taking your babies leg and bending it while touching her opposite elbow to her knee, this works wonders for gassy babies.
Gas is a big problem for most babies so it is important to get them to burp properly or you will have a very fussy baby on your hands due to her still maturing digestive tract. You can try using special bottles made for gas and reflux which work really well for most parents here is a post I wrote on The Best Bottles For Newborns with Gas and Reflux
Bottle Feeding A Breastfed Baby
Sometimes breastfed babies need to drink from a bottle when mom is away or Dad wants to feed baby instead of mom, here is what you need to do in order to not confuse your breastfed baby and make things go as smoothly as possible during the feeding.
- Use a bottle that mimics mom’s breasts, they make several different kinds but this is my recommendation
- Rub the nipple slowly on babies lips until baby accepts it rather than shoving it directly into his mouth
- Make sure to hold the baby in a semi-upright position and to switch sides halfway through to avoid breast preference
- Take your time feeding, do not allow your little one to guzzle the bottle but rather try to mimic the letdown patterns of breastfeeding
- Bottle feed baby when they indicate they are hungry and not when you have it scheduled out
- Have frequent pauses as your feeding, to stick with breastfeeding rhythm and make feeding last around 15 to 20 minutes
Tips To Remember
- Never feed baby lying down as this could cause an ear infection
- Hold your baby often even when not feeding so they don’t associate being held with eating only
- Wash your hands before feeding your baby or handling the bottle
- Make sure to wash the bottles and nipples with hot water and soap to keep your baby safe from bacteria
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Bottle Feeding With Formula
Tips for bottle feeding your a newborn baby with formula it is a good idea to read the instructions on the formula to find out how much to mix with water (I recommend getting purified water made for infants so you know the water is safe for them to drink and it also contains fluoride) and heat it up in water on the stove or you can get a bottle warmer which will save you a ton of time.
Note: Never heat bottles in the microwave because they don’t heat evenly and your baby can get serious burns from it being too hot!
Here is a great bottle warmer that I absolutely recommend it works for most bottles and also sterilizes them, great for breast milk or formula!
- Hold your baby in a slightly upright position and make sure to tilt the bottle so the formula covers the nipple
- Stop every 2 or 3 minutes to burp
- If your newborn is gulping it down take the bottle out of her mouth for a few seconds and then back in to try and slow her down
- Make sure to burp again after feeding and dump out any unused formula and wash all bottle and formula items you used in hot water
Note: Never reuse formula for the next feeding due to bacteria contamination, your baby could get really sick if you do this. Make sure to dispose of formula if it sat out for an hour without using it, it is best to refrigerate formula instead of leaving it out.
At first, your infant will only drink 1 oz of formula every 2 or 3 hours until her stomach grows bigger after a few days and then you will increase the amount to 2 or 3 oz every 3 or 4 hours. By the end of the month, your little one will be drinking 4 oz of formula until she is 6 to 8 months old and then you can increase it to 6 or 8 ounces depending on your child and how hungry they are.
No two babies are the same one may drink more then another, if you find your baby is hungry all the time you will want to increase the ounces a little at a time till you find what works for you. Always talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about feeding your baby or health concerns, they can give you tips and answer all your questions so don’t hesitate to call even for the slightest thing.
The best newborn feeding schedule to follow is to feed your baby on demand rather than a set number of hours, you will get to know his feeding cues and can feed him whenever he is hungry, this can be different for every baby from every two hours to every three. You will eventually see a pattern and will know when your infant gets hungry so you can be ready at these times with warm formula.
There is nothing worse than trying to make formula with a screaming baby in your arms, this may happen a few times but you will find a schedule that works and be ready in advance so you don’t have to deal with this all the time!
Conclusion for Bottle Feeding Your Newborn Baby
All babies are different and some have a preference on how to feed and when they get hungry, over time you will figure out your babies feeding cues and find what works best for both of you. Don’t stress over a schedule that doesn’t work well, find a rhythm and stick to it.
You will have a happier baby and can anticipate what they need before it happens.
The most important thing about bottle feeding your baby is that you get them to burp and make frequent stops during feedings to do so. Some babies have an easier time burping then others, my first had a terrible time and it was very frustrating because she would get gassy and extremely fussy.
Try different ways until you find what works for you, don’t be discouraged if you don’t figure it out right away. Being a parent is a lot of trial and error so embrace it and keep trying!
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