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Bottle-Feeding - Promoting Healthy Growth and Development

Feeding your baby continued...

During the first few weeks, burp your baby after every 2 fl oz (60 mL) of formula. This helps get rid of swallowed air, reducing the chances of your baby spitting up. Most babies need less frequent burping as they get older.

You will know your baby is full when he or she stops sucking continuously. Usually, as babies get full, they pause frequently during feeding. Also, your baby may spit out the nipple, turn his or her head away, or fall asleep when full. Throw away any formula left in the bottle after you have fed your baby, because bacteria can grow in the leftover formula.

Feeding is a good time for social contact with your baby, so don't rush. Look into your baby's eyes and talk or sing while you are giving the bottle. This contact helps your baby feel close to you and is important for healthy growth and development. Wear a short-sleeved shirt to give more skin-to-skin contact. Sit in a comfortable chair with your arms supported on pillows.

Other concerns

  • How to prevent tooth decay. After your baby's teeth start coming in, it is a good idea to clean them after the last formula feeding at night. Use a soft cloth or gauze pad at first. As more teeth come in, clean them with a soft toothbrush, using only water for the first few months. If you are not sure about the fluoride levels in your drinking water, talk to your doctor or dentist. Fluoride supplements are sometimes recommended but must be used with caution. Talk with your doctor about other ways to prevent tooth decay in your young child. For more information, see the topics Teething and Basic Dental Care.
  • When to offer liquids from a cup. You can start offering liquids from a cup when your baby is about 6 months old. But make sure your baby continues to get nutrition largely from breast milk or formula until he or she is 12 months old. After that time, try to have your child use a cup instead of a bottle. This can help your child avoid problems such as bottle mouth tooth decay camera.gif. And to help prevent injuries from using bottles and cups during unsteady walking, have your child stay seated while drinking.
  • Whether to give a vitamin D supplement. If you are bottle-feeding formula and your baby drinks at least 32 fl oz (1 L) each day, he or she does not need a vitamin D supplement.2 Most doctors suggest daily vitamin D supplements for babies who are breast-fed or who get a mixture of breast milk and formula, starting by age 2 months. Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of vitamin D are right for your child.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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