Feeding Basics: print out guide


Things to know:

  • While bottle-feeding, you can still have skin-to-skin contact by stripping your baby down to his diaper and lifting your shirt whenever possible. (If you're breast-feeding some of the time, don't try this. Your baby may smell the milk and reject the bottle.)
  • Small, frequent feedings are best. Formula-fed infants may feed a little less frequently than breast-fed infants because formula is more filling.
  • Typically, a baby less than 1 week old will take only an ounce or two per feeding. After that, infants usually consume two to four ounces per feeding for the first two months and increase by one ounce per month until they reach eight ounces per feeding. But each baby's needs are different; always follow your baby's cues.

Getting Started:

  1. Until your baby is three months old, you'll need to sterilize his bottles and feeding equipment by putting them in a pot of boiling water for five minutes or running them through the dishwasher on a hot cycle.
  2. If you're using formula, choose the type of formula that your pediatrician recommends as best for your baby. Carefully follow all instructions on the packaging regarding preparation and storage. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you boil water for less than a minute before adding it to powdered or liquid-concentrate formula.
  3. Formula can be served cold, or room temperature, or slightly warm. (To warm a bottle, put it in a pan of warm water for five minutes.) Test it by shaking a few drops onto your wrist. If you're using bottled breast milk, serve it at room temperature (bring it to room temperature after freezing or refrigerating by running the milk container under a warm faucet).
  4. Settle into a comfortable position. To encourage bonding, cradle him so his face is at breast level, the optimal distance for eye contact. Use pillows to support your arm and the baby as needed.
  5. Angle the bottle so that the formula always fills the neck of the bottle -- this will keep the baby from swallowing too much air. Never prop the bottle, which can cause a child to choke.
  6. Switch arms regularly to relieve discomfort and so that the baby will learn to feel at home facing in either direction.
  7. After every two to three ounces and at the end of the meal, burp your baby by gently patting his back as you hold him against your shoulder or in some other comfortable position (some babies prefer a sitting up position on your lap). Put baby atop a clean cloth as you do this -- occasionally milk comes up with the burp. Be aware that he won't always burp audibly, but it's important to try to help him get rid of any gas.
  8. Let your baby tell you how much he wants to eat. If he fusses, pushes the bottle away, or turns his head, he's probably done. Don't try to cajole him into finishing the bottle if he's not interested.
  9. Discard any formula left in the bottle at the end of a feeding.

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