4 Game Changing Bottle Feeding Tips
If you thought bottle feeding didn’t have as big of a learning curve as breastfeeding, you’re mistaken. Despite what you may think, giving your little one a bottle isn’t just as easy as propping a bottle in her mouth. According to experts, the majority of parents aren’t bottle feeding their babies correctly. Poor bottle-feeding habits can cause any number of problems for babies, including reflux, overfeeding, wheezing, fussiness, refusal to eat, and difficulty breathing while eating.
Signs Your Baby May be Stressed
If your baby has exhibited any of the following signs while bottle feeding, it may be caused by poor feeding habits.
- Splayed finger or toes
- Turning head away from bottle
- Pushing the bottle away
- Milk spilling out from the mouth
- Fussiness or tears while trying to feed
- Refusal to eat
Reduce Reflux and Fussiness
If you believe your baby may be having difficulty feeding from a bottle or is exhibiting any of the signs mentioned above, follow these helpful tips:
Keep your baby upright while feeding. If your natural inclination is to hold baby while she’s on her back, try holding her in an upright position instead. Her head should be elevated above her body while you hold her. A baby who is lying primarily on her back can be overwhelmed with milk, which can cause spitting up, anxiety, and reflex.
Alternate the side you’re holding your baby on to stimulate both eyes and both sides of the body. By switching sides, you’re also eliminating the chance your baby takes a liking to one side more.
Hold the bottle parallel to the floor. Instead of tipping the bottle up, which can force a baby to gulp her bottle down, hold the bottle parallel to the floor just enough so the tip of the nipple is filled with milk. As long as the tip of the nipple is filled with milk, you don’t need to be concerned about air bubbles in the bottle itself.
Make sure the nipple you’re using is appropriate for your baby. Although it can be hard to ignore the recommended ages listed on nipple packages, watch your baby to determine what flow is best for her. If she seems to be struggling with a fast flow nipple even as an older baby, don’t hesitate to switch back to a slow flow nipple.
Keep in mind: the flow of a nipple can vary from brand to brand, so you may need to try a few before finding one that suits your baby.
Don’t Force Baby to Take a Bottle
Avoid propping a bottle for your baby. It’s not only dangerous, it can really stress her out and make feedings difficult. Also, don’t ever force your baby to take a bottle. Forcing your baby to take a bottle can result in overfeeding, which can make baby unhappy and unhealthy. Your baby knows when she’s had enough, so if she stops feeding, it’s probably because her tummy is full.