By Guest Author Dr. Natasha Burgert, Philips Avent pediatrician
Feeding is an Experience
Through the first year and beyond, you will spend hours feeding your baby. Creating a space to support the both of you will increase enjoyment and comfort during the process.
Elements of the natural feeding experience include:
Milk flow largely determines feeding pace. Babies will reflexively swallow as their mouth is filled, pausing to relax and breathe between gulps. If the flow is too fast, baby may cough during feeds or milk will leak out baby’s mouth. Too slow and baby may get frustrated or impatient. Choosing the correct nipple flow rate helps to support baby’s natural pace. If you’ve been using the Philips Avent original Natural nipple start with this guide:
From original Natural nipple
To new Natural Response nipple
First flow (0m) (number 0)
Newborn flow (0m+) (number 1)
Slow flow (1m+) (number 2)
Medium flow (3m+) (number 3)
Fast flow (6m+) (number 4)
A feeding is not a sprint. Generally speaking, a baby should take about 10-15 minutes to finish a bottle. Slowing down to pace the feed will help to limit gas and spit-up that can happen when babies eat too quickly. Choose a bottle system with a variety of interchangeable parts, like Philips Avent Natural bottle with Natural Response Nipple, to dial in the perfect flow rate.
Paced bottle feeding means allowing baby to take breaks during feeds and avoid overfeeding. Allowing baby to break away and rest a few minutes or burp during feeds can help pace the feeding session. In addition, trying different feeding positions or bottle-holds can support the natural pace your baby may prefer.
Try various positions during feeds to determine which baby likes best. Try the cradle hold, using a pillow for support or feeding baby more upright.
Change up your feeding direction to avoid pressure points. For instance, if you are right-handed, reverse to the left-handed position for a few feeds per day.
No bottle propping! Propping a bottle in baby’s mouth using pillows or blankets puts them at risk of choking. Choose a position that you can maintain comfortably for the duration of the feed so you can be present to support the process.
Eye contact is magical. Try to keep phones down and screens off during feeding time.
Your baby has been soothed by the sound of your voice for months. Try talking, reading aloud and singing songs during feeds as a point of connection.
Feeding should create a rhythm to the day. The more consistent the time and location of feeds, the more relaxed your baby will be during the experience.
Make sure YOU are comfortable. Choose a private, quiet and comfortable place to feed. Keep some easy-to-eat snacks and hydration in your feeding space. Books or magazines to read during feeding time is a way to enjoy time together.
Feeding your baby is a time of connection and nurturing. Set yourself up for success by creating the right space for feeding, choosing the right tools and using preferred technique.
FAQ: Will my baby bond with me through bottle feeding?
Absolutely. Infants bond with parents through all kinds of infant care rituals. Feeding, diapering and bath time are all ways to bond and show love to your ittle one.
FAQ: Can I keep the milk if my baby didn’t finish the bottle?
Human milk is good for about two hours at room temperature after a feeding begins. It’s not recommended to keep storing and re-heating breastmilk bottles. Best to warm a smaller volume and add more if needed, then offer too much at one time.
An unfinished bottle of formula should be tossed away. It’s not recommended to refrigerate and re-warm unfinished formula.
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