GIVING YOUR BABY A HEALTHY TRANSITION FROM BREASTFEEDING TO BOTTLE FEEDING
Positive bonding and good health
Making the decision to switch from breast to bottle feeding can be an emotional and difficult experience for new mums, with very little information and resources available.
As well as managing the physical changes taking place, perceived external judgment and confusion over where to start, the prevalent concerns for most mums about to commence formula feeding is whether their bonding experience will be impacted and if their baby’s health with be compromised.
How to provide the best bottle feeding experience
Dr Pamela Douglas, an infant health expert, it’s best to replicate as much of the ‘breastfeeding package’ as you can when you begin using formula, as this promotes good health and good bonding between mother and baby.
This process includes ‘demand feeding’.
Changing from breastfeeding to bottle feeding doesn’t mean you are suddenly required to put your baby’s meal times on a routine.
Instead, forget about the clock and respond to the cues that your baby gives you, just as you would if you were breastfeeding.
Whilst bottle feeding them, pause frequently to interact with them by cuddling and making eye contact, ensuring that you’re enjoying skin to skin contact when possible.
“Don’t try to finish the bottle once the baby signals that he or she has had enough,” says Dr Douglas.
“It is protective to make feed-times as pleasurable and relaxed as you can, giving the baby time to register satiety.”
Don’t feel scared or guilty about bottle-feeding your baby, either; formula is the best alternative to breastmilk as it ensures that they get all the nutrients they need for positive health and development.
If possible, choose a ‘gold’ formula for your baby. These are preferable because they contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, the same type that are highly concentrated in breastmilk and are beneficial to the development of nervous and brain tissues.
Some important things to know…
Always prepare the formula as it directs on the can, making sure that you’re not adding any more water or powder than recommended unless you are medically advised to do so.
Always sterilise the baby bottle before using them with cooled, boiled water.
Once you have mixed the formula, make sure that it is consumed or refrigerated within half an hour. If this is not met, discard of it. You can keep mixed formula in the fridge for 24 hours.
Regardless of what method you have chosen, remember that feeding your baby is a time where you should focus on closeness and communication. This means you should enjoy the unique experience of bonding with your baby knowing that they are getting all the nourishment and love needed for a happy and health childhood.