- It’s Okay – Yep, it’s actually okay to bottle-feed your child formula. When I was pregnant my doctors and what seemed like everyone else on the planet made a huge deal out of ensuring I breastfed. I was constantly told that it’s the best for the baby, which I honestly do believe. But what happens when you can’t breastfeed? Sometimes that liquid never turns to milk or your nipples produce dust, or if you’re like me – after an hour and pumping twice on each side, you can’t produce more than half an ounce. Heck, for some women the time it takes just isn’t feasible. Having to revert to bottle-feeding can make you feel like a failure especially after all the cheerleading and coaching you’ve received in support of breastfeeding. No, you’re not a failure and you haven’t guaranteed your child won’t be a genius or be able to fight off diseases. Formula is safe and you are a responsible mom who wants to make sure their child is fed and fed adequately.
- Nipple Size Matters – There are lots of different bottles on the market. Many of them boast that they are colic and gas reducing but there’s more to consider. Quite a few brands offer nipples that simulate that of a breast. This may be great for the mom transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. However, as I found, not so great for the baby who has never been on the breast or has had little success getting milk from the breast. Some babies need a longer nipple to get the amount of milk they need with minimal spill.
- Bottle Bases – Similar issue as the shorter nipples, many of the bottles striving to simulate the breast have wide nipple bases much like areolas. However, if your baby has a small mouth these bottle types will create a big mess. If the baby’s mouth isn’t wide enough to rest comfortably they can become fidgety while feeding. A confused bottom lip can cause baby to lose half the feed to a hefty spill.
- Know the Flow – For babies transitioning from the breast to the bottle, a “just like the breast” flow may be most appropriate. Especially if bottle-feeding is only a supplement in between breast feedings or if the baby was breastfed for a while before moving to the bottle. However, many babies in the NICU aren’t breast-fed right away or even at all depending on what issue landed them in the NICU. If the baby is put on formula right away they may need a different bottle solution when they get home. The bottles given in the hospital usually have a nipple that offer a faster flow than the breast. When the baby is accustomed to getting their milk quickly, they are not going to be quiet about the milk flow being reduced.
- You Need a Bottle Washing Routine – What a pain in the backside it is to have a crying baby and not one bottle is clean. Seems simple enough but you’d be surprised how quickly you can go through all the bottles before washing, particularly when you’re feeding about every two hours. You should know how many bottles you have, how many you can use before washing while still having one or two already prepared. Your baby will be much appreciative for you having bottles ready whenever they’re hungry. You’ll also appreciate it, as it will help minimize the hunger cries.
Phoenix Ash is a mom, storywriter, and featured blogger at Life As P Knows It http://lifeaspknowsit.wordpress.com