There can be a lot of equipment that goes into bottle feeding your baby. Like many other things, it will come down to preference and what works best for your baby. We will get into the different equipment, types of bottles, nipples, and the various positions to feed your baby.
What is universally true, is that feeding your baby is one of the greatest ways of bonding. These moments are precious and numbered. Do your best to make the most of this time together!
What Is a Baby Bottle Warmer?
A baby bottle warmer is just as it sounds. It warms a bottle or bag or milk or formula uniformly throughout. This eliminates the worry of uneven hotspots that microwaving can cause. Some babies are used to warm milk from mom, others are perfectly fine with room temperature or even a cold bottle. If your little nugget is on the pickier side and prefers their milk warm, a bottle warmer might be worth the investment.
There are two main ways the warmers heat the liquid. One way is through the use of steam while the other uses water. There are many on the market to choose from and have a variety of different features. Ultimately it will come down to personal or family preference.
What Is a Baby Bottle Sterilizer? Do I Need One?
A baby bottle sterilizer can actually do one or two things in addition to sterilizing a bottle and it sterilizes more than just bottles. But first things first. Is this something you truly need? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends sterilizing feeding items every day for babies “younger than 3 months, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system.”
Sterilizers range from a reusable bag that uses steam to a unit that sits on your counter and uses UV light, and everything in between. The type you choose will also determine how much can be sanitized inside.
Many of these not only sterilize, but also have a drying feature, and if unopened, can store the sterile bottles for up to 12-24 hours. The drying feature can be useful for much longer than the need to sterilize the bottle.
Do you need a sterilizer? Many generations of mom’s got by just fine with a boiling pot of water. More recent generations have appreciated the convenience of having a sterilizer. This decision will come down to personal preference, counter space, and finances.
What Do I Need to Know About Baby Bottles?
Many families want to have everything sterilized and ready to go when the baby gets home, which is fantastic! You’ll have your preferences, and so will your baby.
Definitely choose what you as their parent feels most aligned with. But don’t forget your baby will have the ultimate and final decision on what works best for them.
Today, baby bottles come in one of three materials–glass, plastic, or silicone. They all come with different size nipples which control the rate of milk flow. Each one has its pros and cons. You will want to keep a few things in mind when considering bottles:
- How many parts are there for cleaning?
- Are there different nipple sizes (flows)?
- What size bottle should you buy? 4 oz., 6 oz., or 8 oz.
- Does the heaviness of a glass bottle have an impact?
- Do you like the idea of a silicone bottle so they can collapse while baby is drinking?
- If you are going to pump, does it matter if you can pump right into the bottle?
- Does it matter if milk gets caught up in the curves of the bottle?
There aren’t any right or wrong answers to these questions. It is what feels best for your family.
What Are the Best Bottles and Nipples for Babies That are Breastfed?
There are a few bottles and nipples that are designed specifically for babies that are also breastfed. They have a nipple that is much like a breast with a natural slope. Some of these have also been designed with reflux and colic in mind. Madela also has bottles that can be pumped directly into for ease of the process and less parts to clean.
Verywellfamily.com has compiled The 7 Best Baby Bottles for Breastfed Babies. They go into detail about the specifics of each type to help you decide which is the best option for you and your baby.
Now, on to the fun part with your baby!
What Is the Best Way To Bottle Feed a Baby?
There are a few different ways the baby can be placed, but the most important thing to do is to keep their head elevated while they eat. This is to reduce the possibility of the milk moving to the inner ear and causing an ear infection.
Holding the bottle horizontally for your baby allows them to suck the milk as well as ensuring the nipple stays full of milk. If it doesn’t, baby will swallow air which can be uncomfortable.
While you are feeding, use baby’s clues if they need a break. If they start fussing, pushing the nipple out with their tongue, or acting uninterested, give them a break. This is a good time to burp your little one. Sit your baby upright and give some gentle pats on their back. The movement usually helps work out a burp which will help their tummy feel better.
Positions For Baby While Taking a Bottle
You and your baby will find the most comfortable position for feeding. Most positions are ideal for eye-to-eye contact, smiling, talking, and singing. Cherish this time with your little one.
Here are the most typical positions to feed your baby:
- Traditional cradle with baby’s head in the crook of your arm. The arm of a chair or couch, or some stacked pillows will give you the most comfortable way of supporting your baby.
- Laying baby along your legs with their head by your knees and feet toward your stomach. You can use a pillow or your hand behind their head to keep them elevated.
- Sitting baby in your lap with their head and back to your chest and stomach.
- Using a pillow. The popular c-pillow (nursing pillow) can be used to prop up your baby while you feed them.
Always make sure your baby is in a safe position and that you don’t prop the bottle up on something so you don’t have to hold it as this is unsafe.
Parents.com put together a quick yet informative video about summarizing these points.
When do Babies Hold Their Own Bottle?
All babies develop at different rates and that includes holding their own bottles. Some babies never hold their own bottle, but that isn’t a developmental milestone. It is generally recommended that babies stop using a bottle around 1 year. Babies that are nursed exclusively never have the opportunity to hold a bottle.
The age range for babies to hold their own bottle is 6-10 months. There are some signs that your baby may be getting ready to hold their own bottle. Healthline shares a few such as:
- Sitting independently
- Reaching for and picking up toys or food within reach
- Putting hands on or around the bottle or a cup when
You can encourage your baby to hold their own bottle by putting their hands on each side of it. They may or may not hold it on their own after that.
Hand Over the Bottle!
One of the nice things about bottle feeding your baby is that everyone gets to share in the love, bonding, and spit-ups! It is important for everyone to feel connected to the baby and this is certainly one way to do that.
At some point in the future, you will need an extra set of hands, or a night out to reconnect with those you love. Sittercity is here to support you through this process by letting you choose which nanny, sitter, or caregiver best fits your needs. We know how to bottle feed your baby!