Choosing and Caring for your Baby’s Bottles

Whether you are bottle feeding exclusively or want to express breast milk and feed it to your baby using a bottle, it can be tricky to find the right bottles for your baby; there are so many on the market, and each variety promises something different.

Types of Baby Bottles

There are a number of differently shaped baby feeding bottles on the market. These may be shaped to suit your hand while holding them, or they may be designed for an older baby to hold onto. Anti-colic bottles are usually shaped to allow less air to enter them so your baby swallows less air. These bottles often have vents and need to be held a certain way up. Always read the instructions of a new bottle type to make sure you are getting the best out of them. One of the most important aspects of any bottle is the material it is made from; choose bottles made from ‘safe? plastics; check they are BPA free and never overheat them.

There are different teats, and the range may seem daunting but in general, your baby will let you know what type of teat they like best. If your child seems to choke or spit out milk as if they are getting too much, then the hole in the teat is too big, whereas if they seem to be sucking very hard at the teat, they may benefit from a bigger hole. Teats can be changed to suit the age of your baby, so always check the age recommendation on new teats. There are teats designed to be used alongside breastfeeding; these tend to be more realistically ?nipple-shaped? with soft surrounds to allow baby to latch onto the teat in the way they would latch onto the breast. The idea is that your baby will not confuse the nipple with the teat and find it difficult to breastfeed. Some people feel that these bottles do not eliminate nipple confusion, while others feel that they do help combine breast and bottle feeding.

Sterilizing Baby Bottles

There are many different methods of sterilizing bottles and it is important that you master the system you choose. Bottles should always be washed in hot, soapy water before sterilizing. There are stand-alone sterilizing units that plug in and sterilize a number of bottles at the same time and there are microwave sterilizers. You can also get inserts for your dishwasher that allow you to clean baby bottles and teats effectively in the dishwasher or use sterilizing solution in cold water.

Signs of Wear and Tear

Teats and bottles don?t last forever and it is important that you check them regularly for signs of wear and tear that may indicate they need to be replaced. Bottles should be thrown away of they have any cracks or chips in them. Not only is this dangerous due to sharp edges and leaks, they can also harbour bacteria in the cracks. Teats may need to be replaced more often than the bottles themselves; keep an eye out for breaks and cracks, signs the teat is getting thin or losing colour and signs the teat is becoming misshapen. Milk or formula should drip from the teat rather than pour out; make sure there are no tears or breaks around the hole in the teat as this can cause too much milk to flow out and can be dangerous for your feeding child. When it comes to baby-feeding equipment, it is always better to err on the side of caution; if in doubt, throw it out (check recycling services in your area).

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