Welcome to another episode of #MaternityMonday. Today I’m going to share what I learnt (the hard way) about feeding a baby.
On my first pregnancy, I thought I was fairly chilled about the whole feeding thing. I attended all the prenatal classes where we were given breast feeding 101. Pretty much all feeding chat I experienced was breast feeding and for me it was a no brainer. I would just breast fed and that will be that. You pop the baby on and away you go. There wasn’t one class I attended about feeding a baby that spoke about bottle feeding unless it was within respect to expressing your milk.
Roll on January 2016 and out in to the world arrives James. A c section was his choice of exit given his ‘breech’ position (the wrong way around for safe natural delivery). So there I am, all set to breast feed post surgery and ……… nothing……. Tumbleweed. Basically, for some strange reason which I discovered later was that my milk didn’t come in and nor did it kick in to production when there were attempts to feed or express. I was able to express tiny tiny amounts. Now, under normal circumstances I would have just moved on BUT in my vulnerable post hormonal state, I was all over the place. I was devastated. I felt that if I didn’t keep going I was failing. Layered on top, the midwives were pushing me to keep going despite James not getting what he needed and almost ended up in NICU with his weight dropping.
So next we were faced with the issue of having to prepare bottles and we never made a bottle in our lives nor knew how to start. Of course, between YouTube and Google we got there in the end. So if you are in a position where you have to or want to bottle feed, here’s what I learnt.
Bottle Feeding 101:
Firstly, when you are in hospital, they will provide you with ready-made bottles that come with a screw on teat so there’s nothing complex. I recommend stocking up on a few of these to have at home so that the first few days I don’t have any hassle and just keep going. In terms of different brands, they are all the same and for me Aptamil was just what I ended up using.
Once you are ready to move on the powder, you will need a bit of a kit to get you there.
Firstly you’ll need bottles. The teat flows are important and they go by age of baby. You’ll be replacing the teats as your baby grows.
In the past I used Tommee Tippee bottles but I’ve very recently been introduced to MAM and they have great anti-colic functionality. In other words, less on wind so less of an upset baby. I read reviews and all of the mums are raving about them.
MAM Bottles: (Also available in pharmacies & baby stores across Ireland)
This was sent to me as a gift from MAM and you’ll see there’s a smaller bottle for new born and taller for older baby.
Next, you’ll need to have a steriliser. You have 2 options here. You can go with a larger plug in that can sit on your counter or a microwave one. I’ve always used the microwave one as I like to not have my counter too busy but you can sterilise more at once with the stand alone. Plus the microwave one is easy to travel with.
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Microwave: MAM – You Just add a small amount of water to the bottom and when the water heats it steam sterilises the bottles.
- When you unpack your bottles, you should hand wash making sure to clean the teat carefully. Rinse all suds off and then place each bottle in the steriliser and let it run. They generally say not to put bottles in the dish washer. After a few months old I for the body of the bottles but on the teats.
- Once complete, you give it a few minutes to cool down. In the meantime, boil your kettle, you need to put fresh water in, no reusing water that’s been sitting there.
- Next it’s advised that you clean down the worktop you are about to prep your bottles on and make sure your hands are clean and sterilised too.
- Pop your bottles out and then depending on your formula guide you follow their measurements. First thing you add the boiling water to the measurement they advise. For new babies it’s generally 1 scoop and for every 30mls that means 3 scoops for a 90ml bottle which is the normal size for new borns and then it goes to 120mls after a few weeks. At 120mls then it’s 4 scoops. All of the bottles have the measurements on the side.
- You collect the powder using the scoop that comes with the pack. The scoops have to be level and there is a scraper in the corner of the formula box.
- Pick up you teat by the plastic surround at the bottom, not the actual rubber teat as that has to be pure sterilised.
- Pop the lid on and then shake for a couple of seconds until the formula has mixed.
- I then get a basin of cold water to cool down the bottles.
- Repeat this until you’ve made your batch, they say not to make more than 4 every batch.
- Once cooled down, you pop in the fridge. You need to use that stock within the day.
- When you need one, take from the fridge and you can either reheat in an actual bottle heater or get a measuring jug with a small amount of boiling water. Let that heat up for a few minutes
- Take out and test for a lightly warm but not hot milk on your wrist. Once it’s right, you’re ready to feed.
Of course this seems like a lot at first but over time you do it without thinking. There is no denying that if breast feeding works out it is so much more convenient
A few things I learnt, baby will probably try and guzzle that bottle in one go. Very important to give breaks and wind a few times during the feed as you want to avoid a big block of wind making baby uncomfortable.
At night, rather than having to haul all the way down to the kitchen and heat up the bottle, you could have a sterilised bottle stored in a clear bag and then open up some of the ready made liquid. OR Tommee Tippee have the bottle maker….(see below) and this is basically like a Nespresso of baby formula. You have your water in the tank, formula scooped in and then just turn it on and it does all the hard work and will prepare a bottle at the right temperature. I would keep that in my room at night for ease.
Some of you may want to express a bit if you have milk willing to come out. MAM have a great pump which can be manual or electric. I prefer electric and even though I could only get small amounts out I was delighted something was going to baby!
Extra Bits To Consider:
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