Bottle feeding is a positive option
If for some reason you’re unable to breastfeed and need to bottle feed your baby, there’s no need to put yourself through the guilt trap.
Yes, breast milk is considered better than formula, but if you are finding breastfeeding difficult or painful, or if you’re simply unable due to work commitments, bottle feeding baby will still give him a great start in life.
Stigmatizing mums who bottle-feed their babies seem to be a popular sport in some mother’s groups.
Last time I looked it was still a free country, so if you’re getting any negative reactions, go and find a more supportive environment. Also, remember that breast milk will vary according to what mum decides to eat.
The advantages of bottle feeding baby
The most important advantage is that your partner can help with feeding.
This is great for dads (or other non-birth partners) as it allows them more opportunity to bond with their baby.
This is also a tremendous help to you as it will give you more freedom and serve as a back-up if so get sick or are unable to feed for whatever reason.
Bottle feeding baby will also allow you to measure more precisely how much formula your baby is taking. (Babies, however, are pretty good at regulating these things so don’t get too hung up on quantities)
Bottle feeding baby will also give him a consistent quality of nutrition with every meal.
If we compare the formula to breast milk, the main recently discovered difference is that breast milk contains dietary prebiotics. These non-digestible fibers encourage the growth of “friendly” bacteria in the baby’s intestines.
Prebiotics are believed to boost immunity and may prevent some infections in the first couple of years, such as cold sniffles, coughs, and diarrhea.
Now many baby formula manufacturers are putting prebiotics in their formula.
Also found in breast milk is DHA or Omega-3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid considered to boost brain function in infants.
These are also now being considered important for the baby’s first year and are also being included in some formulas.
Omega-3 can also be added to baby’s formula but please check it out with your pediatrician first. It’s a good idea to compare infant formulas before choosing one for your baby.
It’s also worth mentioning here about the advantages of glass baby bottles. There has been a scare recently concerning the use of plastic baby bottles.
The plastic used in these bottles produces a toxin when heated. Glass baby bottles are also hygienic and long-lasting, a much better choice all round.
Baby feeding schedule
A schedule will help you plan your day and give baby regular feeds. However, for the first four to five weeks your baby will probably not fit into any set schedule or time frame.
Try letting him tell you when he’s hungry (he will anyway!). You may be finding he’ll settle into a regular pattern all on his own.
Just as a rough guide, when feeding a newborn baby, he’ll probably take 2 to 3 ounces of formula every 3 to 4 hours. This is a 24-hour cycle so expect one feed at night.
Your baby will follow this pattern, increasing his amounts at each meal until around 6 months when the night feeds will drop off. By then he’ll be taking 6-8 ounces 4 to 5 times per day.
If your baby’s eating habits are slightly different from this, that’s normal too so don’t be concerned.
When to start feeding baby solids?
Although milk will still be your baby’s main food until he’s about twelve months old, he may be ready for solid foods from four months onwards. All babies are different, but here’s a general guide.
Your baby will weigh around 13 pounds or approximately twice his birth weight and be able to hold his head upon his own. He’ll probably still be hungry after his normal milk feeds (around 32 ounces per day)