While breast/chest feeding has many health benefits for parent and babe, not all people can or want to feed their baby directly from their bodies. And that's ok! We do know that human milk is more nutritious and safest for baby to consume, but we will save that post for another day.
In the meantime, here are 5 tips for if you choose to - or need to - exclusively bottle feed your baby:
1) Choose bottles with nipples that have a wide base and gradual slope like Lansinoh with slow flow nipples or Evenflo Balance +. Many bottle companies market their product as being orthodontic or "just like the breast", but this is often completely untrue. A gradual sloped teat will give your newborn the chance to use full function of their tongue, thereby supporting optimal orofacial and airway growth.
2) Use expressed breast milk if possible as it has much greater nutritional value than formula; provides antibodies - giving baby passive immunity to disease; and supports the microbiome and gut health.
3) How much? Your newborn will take just 2-10 mls of colostrum for the first 3-5 days, gradually increasing to 30-60 mls every 2-3 hours for the firs 4-5 weeks. After this, they will increase to 90-120mls every 3-4 hours until they begin eating solids at 6 months of age, when they may take a bit less. (Remember to always offer milk first when starting solids as this is their main source of nutrition in the first year of life).
4) Start low and go slow. Use slow-flow nipples and paced bottle feeding technique. The breast is more work for baby to transfer milk out of, giving them opportunity to feed slow and not overfeed. Bottles are much easier to feed from so baby will eat quickly and can overfeed, causing tummy troubles and even vomiting episodes. Slow the feed down by keeping baby in a sitting position and offering the bottle horizontally, allowing baby to pace themselves. Bottle feeds should take 15 - 30 minutes
5) If you plan to still feed on the breast/chest sometimes, be sure to have Pamela help you make a feeding plan to protect your milk supply and your baby's skills at the breast!
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