Pediatrician Dr. Natasha Burgert shares her top 5 baby bottle feeding and safety tips. Read on:
1. If you drink from the tap, it’s safe to use for baby.
If your local tap water is deemed safe to drink by your local authorities, then formula prep is a snap with water straight from the tap. Sterile or bottled water is not needed to rehydrate powdered infant formula or dilute formula concentrate. Keep in mind, any bottled water marketed “for infants” is only required to meet the same EPA standards for tap water to carry the claim. Purchasing filtered or distilled water for formula preparation is only necessary if you use well water or if you are concerned about the safety of your local water supply. For families concerned about excessive fluoride exposure (fluorosis) from tap water, alternating formula prep with both tap and distilled water will allow baby to get the positive benefits of fluoride without harm. Of note, in the US, fluorosis in infants is exceedingly rare.
2. Don’t have warm milk? Not a problem.
Most babies initially prefer milk to be warmed, especially if they are used to nursing warmed milk, but preferences can change over time and caretakers can offer milk from the bottle at cooler temperatures. Breastmilk can be served straight from the fridge and room temperature water is just fine for formula, making for quicker delivery of stored breastmilk and easier feeding on the go.
3. Baby gas is unavoidable, but limiting extra air intake during bottle feeding is the goal.
Gas is naturally produced when baby drinks any type of milk food. This gas can get trapped in baby’s developing digestive system and cause discomfort, especially in the first few months of life. Adding more air to baby’s tummy can happen during bottle feeding when the bottle nipple collects with air during the feeding process. Using a bottle specifically designed to keep air out of the nipple while feeding, like the Philips Avent Anti-Colic bottle, will help you avoid this problem and offer a more comfortable feeding experience for baby.
A newborn’s stomach is about the size of his or her fist. That’s tiny! As baby grows, his or her stomach stretches to accommodate larger milk volumes during a singular feeding session. This growth, however, happens very slowly. Despite common belief, offering a larger milk volume does not promote stomach stretching or increase the interval between feeds. In fact, increasing milk volumes too fast more often makes for spitty, uncomfortable babies. Allow your baby to tell you when he or she needs more by continuing clear feeding cues immediately after the bottle empties. If that happens, increase the volume by a small amount during the next few days of feeding. As a general rule of thumb, most babies will not be able to drink 4 ounces at a time until about 4 months of age.
5. Nipple flow rates help to maintain a consistent feeding experience
A baby’s bottle-feeding experience should last around 15-20 minutes in duration. As baby’s bottle volume increases, it takes a faster flow nipple to keep this time consistent. Most parents don’t know that nipple flow rate is important physiologically. There is a special hormone that is secreted at the start of a feeding experience that triggers a sense of satiety or “fullness.” If baby slams a bottle too quickly or takes exceeding long to finish, it’s possible he or she will miss the opportunity to respond to this natural self-regulation system. Both the Philips Avent Natural and the Philips Avent Anti-Colic bottle systems have replacement nipples with different flow rates which allow parents to match the best bottle volume and nipple flow rate for baby to hit this feeding duration mark.
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