Equipment for bottle feeding
Breastfeeding provides babies with the best nutrition and is preferred whenever possible. The World Health Organization recommends that infants start breastfeeding within one hour of life, are exclusively breastfed for six months, with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond.
However, if you are unable to breastfeed, or are using a bottle for any other reasons, it is vital that you have all the information you need to keep your baby safe and healthy.
There is a dizzying choice of baby bottles on the market, and they will all do the job. When choosing bottles consider the following:
- Glass or plastic. These days almost everyone chooses plastic for obvious safety reasons. The only draw-back of plastic is that with a lot of sterlising, they can discolour.
- Size. The smaller sized bottles are great young babies who don't drink a large amound, but you'll be sizing up once you're feeding a bigger baby.
- Shape. Shaped bottles, such as with a hole in the middle, are great for older babies to grasp, but they do make cleaning more difficult.
To clean a bottle properly before sterilising, you need a wire-handled nylon bristle brush; those with a small teat brush on the other end are really handy. It's a good idea to force a bit of hot water through the teat along with a thorough clean before sterilising.
There are several different methods of sterilising you can use. They are:
- Boiling. This is the cheapest way to sterilise all your equipment. Boil everything for 5 minutes and then leave in the pan to cool. Bottles will stay sterile in a covered pan for about 3 hours
- Cold water sterilising. This involves soaking everything in a special non-toxic sterilising solution, which comes in tablets or fluid, for half and hour. You will need a large, deep container so that bottles can be fully submerged. Bottles will stay sterile in the water for about 24 hours. The sterilising solution needs to be changed every 24 hours.
- Steam sterilising. The most expensive option, electric steam sterilisers hold up to six bottles at a time and sterilise in under 10 minutes. They also keep bottles sterile for up to three hours if unopened and have a rack for smaller items like teats and dummies. This is a great and easy option if your baby is exclusively bottle fed.
- Microwave steam steriliser. This is a simple container that fits inside your microwave and uses water to create steam when heated up. Always check equipment is microwave-safe before sterilising with this method. Bottles stay sterile for up to three hours if the lid is not removed.
- Ensure you have the right teat for your baby's age. Most teats are sold according to age, as the age (and size) of your baby will dictate how fast the flow of milk should be.
- Check the teat's milk flow. Hold the bottle upside down to see how fast the milk is flowing. It should come out at a steady rate. If it's too slow, your baby may tire before she's full. If it's too fast, she may gag on the milk.
- Control the rate of flow by adjusting the bottle cap. If the teat flattens while your baby is feeding due to lack of air in the teat, loosen the cap. You should see air bubbles rising through the milk as your baby drinks.
- Avoid 'orthodontic' teats. Special orthodontic teats may actually do more harm than good for tooth development.
- Latex (rubber) vs. silicone. Either is fine, although silicone tends to stand up to the repeated washing and sterilising better. With regular use and washing/sterilising , rubber teats can become sticky and lose their elasticity.
Kidspot is dedicated to the promotion of breastfeeding as the best possible start in life for babies as well as being good for the health and wellbeing of mothers.
The World Health Organization recommends that infants start breastfeeding within one hour of life, are exclusively breastfed for six months, with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond. Source: http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding/en/
Breastfeeding provides babies with the best nutrition and is preferred whenever possible. Good maternal nutrition is ideal for breastfeeding. You should be aware that reversing a decision not to breastfeed may prove difficult. Partially introducing formula could negatively affect your milk supply. Social and financial implications should be considered when selecting a method of feeding. Professional advice should be followed before using an infant formula. Proper use of an infant formula is important to the health of the infant and should only be used as directed.
If you’re worried about breastfeeding, your Well Child nurse or PlunketLine can help.
This article was written by Ella Walsh for out sister site kidspot.com.au and was amended for KidspotNZ using sources that inlcude http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding/en/
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