The Benefits of Bottle Feeding
Not all mothers are able to breastfeed their baby. Bottle-feeding is an important alternative and can still benefit mom and baby. There are many benefits to bottle-feeding, some of which include increased flexibility for the mother and the opportunity for other family members to bond with the infant. Additionally, some infants are unable to digest certain components of human milk, and therefore need to be bottle-fed an infant formula.
When choosing the right formula for your infant, there are certain ingredients to look for. Formulas may be cow’s milk based, soy-based, or hypoallergenic. Additional components to look for include:
- Iron-fortified formulas that will help prevent iron deficiency
- Formulas supplemented with long-chain fatty acids, or Omega 3-Fatty Acids, which are said to improve infant brain function; however, this is not proven
- Probiotics that will benefit your infant’s gut health and enhance their immunity
When preparing and storing formula, follow the instructions on the package. Some formulas are ready to feed; others need to be mixed with water. Mix powdered formulas with hot water (158 degrees Fahrenheit) and put them into a bottle that has been cleaned with hot, soapy water. If you are planning to store pre-made formula, make sure to store it in the refrigerator and feed it to the infant within 24 hours. Formula or breastmilk that has been sitting out for more than two hours should be thrown away.
Bottle-feeding is a great alternative to breastfeeding when done properly. Because it allows different caregivers to feed the baby, everyone involved should understand how to bottle-feed safely. Here are some guidelines for safe bottle-feeding:
- Always hold the infant during the process
- Never prop a bottle in the infant’s mouth; this is a choking hazard
- If the infant falls asleep while eating, gently remove the bottle from their mouth
- Let your infant guide the feeding. If they become distracted or fussy, this may indicate they are full.