Bottle-Feeding - Promoting Healthy Growth and Development
Feeding your baby
Always wash your hands before
feeding your baby.
- Warm the formula to room temperature or body
temperature before feeding. It is best to warm it in a pan of heated water
for 5 to 10 minutes before you feed your baby. Don't use
the microwave. Microwaving formula can cause hot spots in the formula that can
burn your baby's mouth. Before you feed your baby, check the temperature of the
formula by dropping a small amount on the inside part of your wrist. It should
be warm, not cold or hot.
- Place a bib or cloth under your baby's chin
to help keep his or her clothes clean. Have a second cloth handy to use when
burping your baby.
- Hold your baby in a semi-upright position, with
your baby's head resting in the crook of your elbow. Keep your baby's head
higher than his or her chest.
- Stroke the center of the baby's lower lip to encourage your
baby to open his or her mouth wider. With an open mouth, the wider part of the
bottle nipple will fit, allowing your baby to make a tight seal between his or
her mouth and the bottle nipple. This helps reduce the amount of air the baby
- Angle the bottle so that the neck of the bottle and nipple stay
full of milk. This helps reduce the amount of air your baby swallows while
- Do not prop the bottle in your baby's mouth or let him or
her hold it alone. These practices deprive your baby of time when he or she
could be close to you. This may also increase the risks of choking, tooth decay, and ear infection.
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
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.