Just like breastfeeding, bottle feeding takes some practice – from sterilising utensils and making up the formula to perfecting your burping technique (well, your baby’s!). But with our guide, you’ll soon be an expert at whizzing up the perfect bottle for your baby…
Step 1 Fill the kettle with fresh tap water and boil. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. “This will allow it to reach 70 degrees, which is hot enough to kill any bacteria, but not so hot that it destroys the nutrients in the formula,” says health visitor Caroline Baugh.
Step 2 Wash your hands.
Step 3 Using sterilised tongs, stand the sterilised bottle on a clean work surface. Follow the instructions on the packet of formula to make up the feed.
Step 4 Put the top on the bottle – taking care not to touch the teat – add the cap and shake until all the powder has dissolved.
Step 5 Allow the formula to cool (run the bottle under a cold tap if need be) until it reaches body temperature. Test it on the inside of your wrist. You want it warm, but not hot.
Step 6 Always throw away any leftover formula after a feed.
How to sterilise a bottle
Babies’ immune systems aren’t as well developed as ours, so bottles, teats and any other feeding equipment must be sterilised before feeds. Here’s how:
Brush up Remove all traces of formula from hard-to-reach places like around the rim using a bottlebrush.
Sterilise You can use chemical solutions, steam sterilisers or boil the bottles in a pan (for at least three minutes) to kill off bacteria. “Steam is best as it gets into all the nooks and crannies,” says Caroline. Always follow the instructions.
Go hands-free “Use sterilised tongs to lift out bottles,” says health visitor Caroline Baugh.
How to wind your baby
Babies tend to swallow air as they feed, which can lead to tummy pain and tears. Here’s how to bring up those satisfying burps…
Position If possible, feed your baby in a slightly upright position. “This will encourage any bubbles of air to come up as they feed,” says health visitor Caroline Baugh
Pat Halfway through the feed, sit your baby up with your hand resting under the chin, or hold your baby to your chest so the head is over your shoulder, and pat your baby’s back gently and repeatedly
Switch If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, change their position and try again
Finish Always burp your baby at the end of the feed and try to keep them in an upright position for 10 to 15 minutes after