If you’re bottle-feeding, it is important to know how much food your baby needs. It is also important to know how to prepare the bottle properly and how to clean it afterward.
How much food should be in my baby’s bottle?
There are two rules of thumb to help you decide how much food you need to put in the bottle:
- After the first week, feed them 150 milliliters a day per kilo of bodyweight.
- Pay attention to your baby’s signals. Don't let your baby drink for more than half an hour and stop when your baby indicates that it’s had enough.
How often should I feed my baby?
Let your baby tell you when it wants to be fed. After a while, you’ll recognize the signals, such as nibbling on the hands. Most children like to be fed about six times a day.
The best way to prepare the bottle
Most bottles usually come with instructions on how to prepare a bottle. But we do have some more tips that could be of help:
Stirring instead of shaking
When you’re using formula, it might seem logical to shake the bottle after you’ve added the powder to the water, so that the two can mix. However, it is better to stir. Shaking the bottle will create air bubbles, which can cause stomach cramps.
An easier way to fill the bottle: use the bottom!
Want to fill the bottle with cubes of frozen breast milk or milk powder? The easiest way is to use the bottom bottle opening. The opening in the bottom is wider than the top.
Get the temperature right
The temperature of the milk should be no higher than 37°C. You can easily check the temperature by dripping some of the milk onto the inside of your wrist. Does it feel warm? Then it’s too hot. If the temperature is no higher than 37°C, it has the same temperature as your skin. So, it should not feel hot or cold.
Make skin and eye contact during the feeding
Skin and eye contact are important for the bonding process between you and your child. The act of feeding is a perfect time to do this. Hold your baby in your arms and try to make skin-to-skin contact where possible. Also make sure to give your baby enough eye contact when bottle-feeding.
Good hygiene of the baby bottle is important
After a feeding, it is recommended to first rinse the bottle and bottle teat with cold water. After this, they can be cleaned with hot soapy water. A bottle brush is a handy tool for cleaning as it makes it easier to clean the hard-to-reach parts of the bottle. In the first few months, your baby is very vulnerable, so good hygiene is extra important.
Until what age should you bottle-feed?
Up to six months, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding is the best way to provide food for your baby. The transition from breast- or bottle-feeding to solid food is then made in small steps. Your baby will often give signals to show that it’s ready for its first bites. For example, does he open his mouth when you present a spoon? Is she curious when her parents are eating? If so, you can slowly start experimenting with different types of more solid food.