How to Bottle Feed Your Baby
If you’re going to bottle feed your baby, best practice is to pace the feeding. Paced bottle feeding prevents overfeeding, regurgitation, and the over-use of breast milk! Here’s how to do it:
- Babies should be fed when they’re hungry, not on a schedule.
- Held in an upright position.
- Switch from one side to the other side midway through a feed; this provides for eye stimulation and development, and avoids a development of a side preference which could impact the breastfeeding mother.
- Feeding should take 10-20 minutes at a time, to mimic the usual breastfeeding experience. Follow their cues to know when they’re full (quiet, push bottle out of their mouth).
- Allow the infant to draw nipple into mouth rather than pushing the nipple into the infant’s mouth, so that baby controls when the feed begins.
- Consistent with a breastfed rhythm; the caregiver should encourage frequent pauses while the baby drinks from the bottle to mimic the breastfeeding mother’s let-down patterns.
- Feed to satiation.
Common Breastfeeding Problems
Sometimes breastfeeding or pumping goes awry. Here are 3 of the top issues when it comes to milk supply:
- Oversupply: making too much milk, overstimulated breasts
- Undersupply: Undersupply is very rare. However, if you exclusively pump or pump at work, your milk supply can dwindle over time. The pump doesn’t stimulate your milk producing hormones the same way as a baby.
- Inadequate milk expression: If you don’t pump regularly, due to lack of privacy or time, your body gets a signal to make less milk. Over time inadequate milk expression leads to undersupply.
To prevent an undersupply, limit these herbs that decrease milk production. Limit use while breastfeeding OR use to decrease oversupply/ when weaning:
- Black walnut
- Lemon balm
- Periwinkle herb
If you want to increase milk supply without herbs or medication, here’s how:
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Practice hand expression or breast massage.
- Practice power pumping: you can pump in between feeding sessions or continue pumping after the last drops of milk have been expressed.
- Try Kangaroo Care, also known as skin-to-skin with baby.
- Breastfeed on demand (or more if baby sleeps longer stretches)
- Offer both breasts for each feeding if baby seems interested.
- Switch multiple times from breast to breast if the baby is tired/falls asleep too quickly
- Feed frequently, at least 8-12 times in 24 hours and at least every 3 hours at night.
- Rest, a balanced diet, and water are all very important. And also often very hard to do during times like these. Eating foods one-handed such as Nunona Mama Balls, while breastfeeding or using the time to catch up on drinking water will help a lot. You’re doing great and sharing your first meals with your child!