Bottle feeding, breastfeeding, or pumping is a personal choice for new or expectant mothers. However, if you choose bottle-feeding over breastfeeding, maternal concern and new parenthood puts you into a dilemma and ask questions like "is it safe to bottle feed your newborn babies?"
The answer is bottle feeding is safe for newborn babies, but it should be practiced with extreme caution, keeping bottle hygiene and the infant formula ratio in mind. Dilute milk will lead to undernutrition, and the baby would still feel hungry, whereas concentrated milk may cause diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal discomfort.
The point to remember is even in this advanced technological era, we can't replicate the nutritional value of mother's milk or the comfort and skin-to-skin contact and emotional bonding of breastfeeding.
American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, and American Medical Association have all advocated in favor of breastfeeding. But if for any reason, you choose to bottle feed your baby, the recommendable way is to pump breast milk instead of using formula milk.
Health Concerns of Bottle Feeding
A born baby has an underdeveloped immune system and bacteria, germs passing through the bottle can make your baby susceptible to health issues such as:
- Diarrhea or constipation increases three times more than breastfeeding.
- Respiratory infection’s chances increase five times.
- Gas and bloating issue
- Abdominal discomfort/electrolyte imbalance
- High risk of infection
- Underweight or overweight
When It Becomes Crucial To Feed Your Baby Through Bottle?
No matter how much lactation experts recommend breastfeeding, in certain circumstances, bottle feeding becomes essential.
- The medical condition of the mother and the scare of passing the disease to the baby through breastfeeding.
- When the baby is unable to latch on properly, or the latch-on pain is unbearable.
- When a mother's diet is poor, the mother has to use certain medicines that can affect the baby's feed.
- When there isn't enough supply of milk.
- When your baby is born immaturely and has to stay in the NICU.
If you are feeding your newborn baby through a bottle, strictly follow these safety tips and recommendations.
Safety Tips Of Feeding Your Baby Through Bottle
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended sterilizing your baby bottle daily until the baby is three months old and develops better immunity.
- Only use breast milk or infant formula. Don't give whole milk or any other milk.
- Remove the bottle immediately from the mouth when the baby stops sucking and shows signs of fullness. Else, the milk will pool around the mouth, or the baby can choke on it.
- Always keep the bottle at an angle instead of positioning it upright to control the flow. In an angled position, the milk will only go in the baby's mouth when the baby sucks the nipple.
- Hold the baby close to your body and chest so the baby can have the same bonding and emotional connection as in breastfeeding.
- Don't keep prepared formula milk in the bottle for more than an hour. Discard the older milk and make fresh milk every time.
- Make sure that you are using clean water for making formula milk. If you are using well water or unsure about water's purity, then boil it at a high temperature for 1-2 minutes.
- Don't force your baby to finish the bottle.
What Type of Baby Bottle is Safe for Newborn Babies?
Since a newborn baby's bottle will be sterilized daily, the bottle should be able to handle high heat.
- Choose a BPA-free plastic baby bottle.
- You can also choose a glass bottle if you are afraid of harmful chemicals in the plastic.
- Baby bottles should have an anti-colic design to reduce air swallowing or colic during the feed.
You may also like to learn - How to Sterilize Baby Bottles in the Microwave?
Pumping Breast Milk is a Better Choice than Formula Milk
If possible, it's better to pump out the breast milk and feed your newborn baby through a bottle. It will make your baby stronger, and the baby can enjoy all the benefits of breastmilk too. Breast milk has different tastes, depending on the mother's diet. And the baby will be able to adapt to solid foods better than those infants who are exclusively fed formula milk.
When you are Planning to Combine Pump Feeding and Formula Milk
When you are planning to feed breast milk through a bottle and combine or alternate it via formula milk, always offer your baby breastmilk first. The reason is that the baby will get all nutritional value from breast milk, and then if the baby needs more, he/she can have formula milk.