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    Parents guide

    Home ›› Bottle Feeding Newborn: How to Introduce a Bottle
    Home ›› Bottle Feeding Newborn: How to Introduce a Bottle

    How to Bottle Feed a Newborn

     

    6 min. read
     

    Feeding is such a special and important part of early parenthood that it’s no wonder we want to get it right. It’s a natural process, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy! That’s why you’re not alone if you’re wondering how to get your baby to take a bottle in the best way.
     

    Whether you have decided to bottle feed from the beginning, or if you are combining both bottle and breast, here is the essential information you need on how to bottle feed a baby. If you have any remaining questions or concerns regarding your baby’s feedings, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional.

    Bottle feeding a newborn: The basics

     

    Let’s get back to basics on how to bottle feed a newborn. When it comes to how much and how often you should bottle feed your baby, both depend on your child’s individual weight and growth spurts, as well as his or her age.
     

    The best way to know how often you should be bottle feeding your newborn is to feed when he or she is hungry. Learn how to spot those baby hunger cues, here. The length of the feedings may vary depending on each individual baby, but they generally don’t take longer than 20 minutes. 

     

    Below are some general guidelines to follow for feeding by your baby’s age: 1

     

    • Birth to three months old: every two to three hours
    • Three to nine months old: every three to four hours

     

    If you are considering a combination of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, check out this article for more information.

    What you will need to bottle feed

     

    When it comes to bottle feeding, there are a few must-have items that you should stock up on: bottles and nipples. Learning how to introduce a bottle begins by choosing the right bottle for your baby so that he or she can feed efficiently and safely. And with so many choices of bottles and nipples, we know this decision can feel overwhelming at times.
     

    We recommend that you choose a bottle with an anti-colic valve built into the nipple to help reduce any stomach discomfort. You should also consider a bottle that is easy to hold and that is BPA free. If you are exclusively bottle feeding your newborn, try this anti-colic baby bottle that is clinically proven to reduce fussing and discomfort. It has a flexible teat for easy latch-on, as well as a built-in anti-colic valve to make for quick and simple cleanings after feeding your little one.

     

    And if you plan on both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, consider this natural baby bottle designed with unique comfort petals to increase softness and flexibility without nipple collapse. Its ultra-soft nipple and overall design is ideal for combination feeding.

    What you need

    Philips Avent

    Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent

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    Avent
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      Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent

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      Designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux*

      Our unique AirFree vent is designed to help your baby swallow less air as they drink by keeping the nipple full of milk during feeding. Reducing the amount of air your baby ingests helps w/common feeding issues such as colic, reflux & gas. See all benefits

      Philips shop price
      Suggested retail price: $24.99

      Designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux*

      Our unique AirFree vent is designed to help your baby swallow less air as they drink by keeping the nipple full of milk during feeding. Reducing the amount of air your baby ingests helps w/common feeding issues such as colic, reflux & gas. See all benefits

    • Designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux*

      Play Pause
    • Designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux*

      Play Pause

    Videos

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    Images

    Designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux*

    Our unique AirFree vent is designed to help your baby swallow less air as they drink by keeping the nipple full of milk during feeding. Reducing the amount of air your baby ingests helps w/common feeding issues such as colic, reflux & gas. See all benefits

    Philips shop price
    Suggested retail price: $24.99

    Designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux*

    Our unique AirFree vent is designed to help your baby swallow less air as they drink by keeping the nipple full of milk during feeding. Reducing the amount of air your baby ingests helps w/common feeding issues such as colic, reflux & gas. See all benefits

    How to make up a baby bottle

     

    The first step in learning how to introduce a bottle to your baby is knowing how to make up the bottle. Before you begin to make the bottle, clean and sterilize your baby’s bottle either with a commercial sterilizer or with a pan and boiling water.
     

    Once you have cleaned the bottle and the surface that you will be using, as well as your hands, follow these steps to make up a bottle: 2

     

    1. Boil the water. If you are using a pan, ensure that the water comes to a rolling boil and is not left for more than 30 minutes after boiling.

    2. Read the formula packaging instructions. If you are giving your baby formula, refer to the instructions provided on the packaging to know how much water and powder you need.

    3. Add the formula and water together. Add the water to the bottle and then the specified amount of formula in the sterilized bottle and mix it thoroughly by gently shaking the bottle.

    4. Immediately cool the bottle. Once you have mixed the formula and water, hold the bottle under cold running water to cool it down to feeding temperature. But ensure that the level of the cooling water is below the bottle lid to avoid contaminating the feed. You can then dry the bottle with a towel after you have cooled it.

    5. Check the temperature. Drip a little formula onto the inside of your wrist to check the temperature. The liquid should be lukewarm and if it is not, simply run it under some more cold water until it has reached the desired temperature.

     

    Now that you know how to make a baby bottle, we will discuss how to get your baby to take a bottle.

    How to bottle feed a newborn

     

    Like most parents, you’re probably wondering how to get your baby to take a bottle quickly. Here are a few things you can do to help when getting your baby to take the bottle: 3

     

    • Tilt the head. Keep your baby’s head tilted above his or her body to help prevent choking, spitting up, and overfeeding.

    • Introduce the nipple. Bring the nipple to your baby’s lips and gently guide it into his or her mouth.

    • Choose a bottle with the correct nipple/ teat size. For maximum ease, comfort, and safety, make sure the bottle is fitted with the correct nipple/teat size for your baby. This will help maintain a steady rhythm and pace for feeding.

    • Burp during and after. Burp your baby both during feedings, about halfway through, and after he or she has finished the bottle.

    • Throw the rest away. When your baby starts turning his or her head away from the bottle or closes his or her mouth, it means the feeding is over. You can then throw away any remaining milk that is left in the bottle.

     

    In addition to those above tips, consider these three popular positions for bottle feeding a newborn:

     

    • Cradle hold. Place your baby in the crook of your arm and support the head while tilting his or her body in a slightly leaned-back position. Ensure that your newborn’s chin isn’t tilting towards his or her chest before feeding.

     

    • Sitting up. In this position, hold your baby in a sitting position on your lap with his or her back against your chest. If your baby has reflux symptoms, this is also a great position to help prevent spitting up.

    • Bent legs. If you and your baby are in need of some extra face time, this may be just the position for you. Place your baby on your lap facing you with his or her feet against your stomach. Bottle feed your little one while the two of you enjoy the additional bonding time.

     

    If you find that you are still having difficulty getting your baby to take the bottle, check out this article on what you can do when a baby refuses a bottle. You can also contact your child’s doctor for any questions or concerns, as well as if you think your baby has reflux symptoms. After all, your doctor knows what’s best for your baby’s unique needs!

    Time to dig in!

     

    Learning how to bottle feed a baby may seem a bit intimidating at first. But with a little advanced preparation and organization, you will discover your own methods to getting your baby to take a bottle sooner than you think.
     

    Ensure that both you and your baby are comfortable and equip yourself with a supply of bottles and nipples and you’re all set to bottle feed!

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    1 Seattle Children’s Hospital - Bottle-Feeding (Formula) Questions

    2 WHO - How to Prepare Formula for Bottle-Feeding at Home  - PDF

    3 kidshealth.org - Formula Feeding FAQs: Getting Started