Trying to establish a bottle feeding routine with your little one might seem intimidating at first. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to help your baby get used to the change. Read on for a step by step guide on how to introduce your baby to the bottle for the first time!
Know When To Bottle Feed Your Baby
Knowing when to start bottle feeding is the first step towards establishing a good routine. Lactation experts recommend you wait until your baby is at least a month old before you offer them the bottle for the first time. Breastfeeding should also be well established before you introduce a whole new nipple. Remember, this is a big change for your little one, so you’ll want to make sure they’re used to their current feeding routine.
The World Health Organization recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life. Even if you’d prefer to bottle feed your baby over breastfeeding, it’s best to give them expressed breast milk right up until the age of two.
Introduce A Bottle Feeding Routine
Introducing your baby to a new way of feeding can be challenging. A gradual transition is key to avoiding unwanted upsets and terrible tantrums!
Here are some things you can do to gently guide your baby towards a new bottle feeding routine.
- Don’t Wait Until Your Baby is Super Hungry
While this might seem like the perfect opportunity to try your baby with the bottle, it’s actually counterintuitive. Babies don’t exactly possess the best self-awareness, and strong hunger can often translate into feelings of stress and anger. An angry baby is not a baby to be messed with, and they certainly don’t want to be fed through an unfamiliar nipple!
Instead, look for cues that your baby is ready to eat something. They might put their hands in their mouth, blink fast and appear very alert, or move their jaw up and down. Offering your baby the bottle when they’re most content and relaxed will give you the best chances of success.
- Change Things Up A Little
When you breastfeed, your baby thinks of you (and only you) as a source of nourishment. Asking someone else to try feeding them with the bottle will help your baby get used to feeding without you. If your breast isn’t right in front of them to latch onto, they’ll be more inclined to give the bottle a try!
You can also try switching up your baby’s position to help them disassociate feeding times with your breast. Allow them to rest upright against your knees so that they can face you while feeding. You’ll be able to pull silly faces or sing their favorite song, which should help encourage them to take the bottle.
- Allow Your Baby To Be Your Guide
Remember that this is a huge change for your baby, so taking things slow is very important. Brush the bottle’s nipple against your baby’s lips and use lots of eye contact to encourage him to feed. They’ll want to become familiar and comfortable with the bottle before they feed from it, and this could take a good few tries.
Taking things slow will give you the best chance of introducing the bottle smoothly and successfully.
- Bottle Feeding Routines By Age Group
Your little one’s feeding schedule is dependent on their age. An average feeding schedule might look something like this:
- Newborns: every 2-3 hours
- 2 months: every 3-4 hours
- 4-6 months: every 4-5 hours
- 6+ months: every 4-5 hours
Your baby will generally let you know when they’re hungry. Don’t worry if they seem to be feeding more than usual. This usually happens during growth spurts and it’s just a sign that your baby is getting bigger!
As your baby gets older and their tummy grows, they’ll get hungry less often. This should decrease the frequency of feedings, allowing you to establish a more predictable feeding pattern.
Month-old babies might only drink 2-3 ounces per feeding. At 2-4 months, this will increase to about 4-5 ounces. And by the time your little one is 6 months old, they might be up to 8 ounces in one go!
As long as your child has 4-6 wet diapers a day, has regular bowel movements and is gaining weight, chances are they’re eating enough!
Essential Equipment For Easy Bottle Feeding
Now that you’re well-versed in all things bottle feeding, here are some helpful products to make feeding times easier for you and your baby.
Bottles and Nipples
Our Closer to Nature baby bottles are just perfect for introducing your baby to the bottle. Designed to feel just like mom, these award-winning bottles feature the most breast-like nipple ever made. Baby approval guaranteed!
Bottle Feeding Starter Sets
Our starter sets come complete with all the feeding essentials to give you the very best chances of success. This anti-colic start set is specially designed to prevent colic by reducing bubbles in the milk. Fewer bubbles = fewer tears!
Gently warming your milk is an important step to take to encourage your baby to bottle feed. Warm milk will soothe their little tummy, helping them get to sleep. Our Easi-Warm bottle and food warmer heats things up to just the right temperature within minutes.
Sterilizing your baby’s milk is the most important thing to do when it comes to bottle feeding. Our micro-steam sterilizer cleans your baby’s bottles to protect them from bacteria. It kills 99.9% of harmful germs within minutes, keeping your baby safe, and keeping the tummy upsets at bay!