It is the mother’s responsibility to breastfeed your babies. However, there are times when breastfeeding moms need a break, too. Therefore, as a dad, you also need to learn how to give your baby the bottle. Aside from helping your wife, bottle feeding your baby can also be a great way for you to bond with your baby and gain confidence in raising your tiny human.
For new dads, bottle feeding babies can be a challenge. If you and your partner have decided to bottle feed your baby, then you need to know a lot of things to be able to do it properly. If you want to learn how to bottle feed your baby, then here’s a list of bottle-feeding tips of dads that you might want to try.
- Find the right kind of bottle for your baby.
If you decide to bottle feed your baby, it’s important to find the right bottle for him or her. Finding the perfect bottle for babies is like trial and error. Therefore, you can start with the cheaper bottles first, and then get progressively more expensive. This depends on the preference of your baby on which kind of bottle he or she will be more comfortable. It will be great if your baby will be comfortable with cheaper bottles.
- Sterilize the bottles before using them.
Another important thing that dads should know when bottle-feeding babies is that the bottles need to be sterilized first before using. It’s because babies are more susceptible to germs, and milk is a medium where germs can multiply. When you sterilize the bottles, you ensure that germs are destroyed.
There are four ways to sterilize bottles:
- Steam Sterilizers: Steam sterilizers are probably the most popular method of sterilizing baby bottles. It is fast, which only takes about 10 minutes, and no chemicals are involved in the process.
- Microwave Sterilizers: Microwave sterilizers are just like steam sterilizers, but you need a microwave to use them.
- Sterilizing Solution: This is also called the soaking method. For this process, you need to use a non-metallic container. Fill the container with tap water and a measure of sterilizing solution. Leave the bottles to soak for a minimum of 2 hours. Also, remember that the chemicals used in this process can be tough on your hands. The solution also needs to be changed every 24 hours.
- Boiling: The boiling method is probably the simplest way to sterilize baby bottles. It is best for those who don’t want to invest in a sterilizer or if you will not be bottle feeding often. You just need to immerse bottles and teats in water and boil them for at least 10 minutes.
- Prepare the milk.
When bottle-feeding babies, you have two options. It’s either to use breastmilk or formula. If you will be using breastmilk, it is usually frozen and can be thawed overnight in the fridge. It can also be placed in the bottle and kept in the fridge. When it’s time to feed the baby, you just need to get a bottle from the fridge and warm it. Here are some bottle warming techniques you can do:
- On the Stove: You can put a pot of water on the stove and let it warm. But not up to its boiling point. This method can take longer, but it is the cheapest.
- Under the Faucet: You can also hold the bottle under warm-to-hot running water. Rotate it around under the running water to warm the whole bottle.
- Use a Bottle Warmer: This is the easiest and the fastest method you can try. A good thing about bottle warmers is that they get the milk to the ideal body temperature.
Before giving the milk to your baby, make sure to swirl the bottle a bit to prevent hot spots. You can also put a few drops of milk on your wrist to make sure that it is not too hot.
If you are using formula, make sure that you follow the formula maker instructions for mixing guidelines and measure everything precisely. Mix the formula with water thoroughly and make sure that there are no clumps that can get stuck in the bottle’s nipple. A bottle of formula milk can stay good for 2 hours at room temperature, and for 24 hours when refrigerated.
Stay relaxed and be confident
When bottle-feeding babies, you need to keep calm and be confident because babies can sense when something is not right. It means that if you are not relaxed, neither will your baby be. And if the baby is not relaxed, he or she won’t be able to eat well and stay down. Therefore, if you are feeling nervous, just take some deep breaths, shake out your hands, and look at your cute little baby. Think that she depends on you. Even if you are not 100% confident in your bottle-feeding skills, try to act as if you were. That act will eventually be a reality.
- Find the right position
The milk or formula will flow faster from the bottle than it does from the breast. Therefore, you need to find the right positive to keep your baby from choking or having to gulp. When bottle-feeding a baby, you need to hold her in a more upright position than a breastfeeding mom does. It can be challenging to find the right position at first, but you will eventually find what will work best for your baby.
One of the positions you can try is the cradle hold or football hold. This position will prevent ear infections and will allow you to see your baby’s face better. It is also a great position for bonding time because lots of eye contact is possible. To do this position, you need to place the head of your baby in the crook of your arm, then wrap your hand around your baby’s bum. After that, lift your elbow so that your baby is at a slight angle, with her head higher than her body. You can switch sides when your arm gets tired.
- Wait for your baby to latch.
When bottle-feeding for the first time, make sure that the lips of your baby are sealed around the nipple of the bottle. Check if the nipple of the bottle is on the tongue and not under it. You can also help your baby by gently pushing her lower lip up to the nipple. You need to be patient because you are both learning a new skill.
- Look at your baby when feeding him.
It is also important to look at your baby as you feed him. In fact, you can also sing or talk to him while you do the feeding. The more your baby gets to know you, the more he will be comfortable. You can be his go-to guy when he grows up. However, intense eye contact can also distract your baby from feeding.
- Burp your baby after bottle feeding.
Once your baby finishes his bottle, it is important to burp him. This is necessary because your baby will swallow a lot of air as she feeds on a bottle of milk. There are different ways of burping a baby. It can be on the shoulder, across your lap, or over your elbow. It’s up to your baby to let you know which works best. Also, do not bounce your baby after feeding because more air can come up. It is also wise to use a burp cloth because burping often leads to a bit of spitting up.
These are some of the best tips we can give to dads when it comes to bottle-feeding their babies. One of the best things about bottle feeding your baby is that you are given the opportunity to have uninterrupted one-on-one time with your little one. It can create a bond between daddy and baby. In fact, dads who take an active role in the early years of their kid’s lives are usually more involved in the later years. And yes, bottle feeding is one of the great ways to be involved. We hope the tips we shared will help you with bottle-feeding your baby.