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Bottle Feeding Basics

Bottle Feeding involves some additional equipment 😉

You’ll have to choose a Bottle System.

Bottle warmer

Not necessary if you are using powder or ready-to-serve. You will do both yourselves & your baby a big favour if you give him formula at room temperature. You just fill your bottles in the morning with cooled, boiled water (or bottled water, if you doctor advises). If you’re going out, keep a formula dispenser with formula pre-measured (These exist with 3 bottles’ worth of formula in one container – they are not expensive & very handy) & just add when you want to make your bottle. You will be flexible & your babies will not be used to warm milk all the time, making it difficult in some situations to warm up bottles when you’re on the go. You can also use the pre-mixed formula which similarly does not require warming. It is however significantly more expensive & heavier to carry around.

If you are preparing formula from concentrate, than a warmer may be a worthwhile investment as this type of formula would need to stay in the fridge & you would not want to serve COLD formula to an infant.

Seating for Feeding (Breast or Bottle) for parents

We had a “glider” type of rocking chair with ottoman that is comfortable for either breastfeeding or bottlefeeding.  If unavailable, just make sure you have somewhere comfy to sit while feeding your babies.

TWINS OR MORE: A glider is not necessary-so if you have at least one that should be fine.  If you are bottlefeeding & your spouse/helper will feed at the same time as you then just make sure there are 2 comfy feeding places that can be used at the same time.

Steam Sterilizer 

In either case (breast or bottle), you may want a steam-sterilizer. If you have a microwave, Avent makes one that you can use in the microwave. If not they have one that plugs into the wall. (I bought the latter as I don’t have a microwave). With my first child I opted for the boiling in a pot option & had a minor fire when I fell asleep sterilizing my pump at 1 am. I bought the sterilizer for the twins & used it frequently. It was worth it.

Introducing a Bottle

Introducing a bottle is important – even if you are still breastfeeding. You can use expressed milk instead of formula. It is important so that in the event that you are unable to breastfeed, your baby is comfortable taking a bottle. Things can happen: family emergency, illness where your medication passes through breast milk & is not recommended for babies (some meds are ok- others are not- check with you physician & your pharmacist) and less dramatic but equally important- a spouse who desperately needs a night out with you.

Introducing a bottle to your breastfed infant may or may not be an ordeal- you will hear mom stories from both ends of the spectrum. Your best chance at a positive bottle-introduction experience is that you take a relaxed approach and not “feel the pressure.”

Some helpful tips:

  • Realize that it is normal to encounter some resistance
  • Don’t begin the weaning process 3 days before going back to work. Give yourself a few weeks so that you don’t “feel the pressure”
  • Try to give the bottle when baby is not “starving” but also not “stuffed”.  This will mean baby also will be in better spirits.
  • This is a great place to let someone else – Dad, Grandma, Auntie, help out by having THEM offer the bottle to baby so that she is not sniffing & seeking out your breast while you desperately try to keep the bottle’s nipple in her mouth
  • If at first you don’t succeed, take a break for a few feeds(or a few days!) & then try again

Feeding your Baby

  • It is generally recommended that bottle-fed babies be fed every 3-4 hours. Your baby will drink according to her appetite & it is recommended that you allow your baby to satisfy her appetite at each feed.
  • The time between feeds is calculated from the beginning of the feed, so, if you begin feeding at 8:00 AM and are feeding every 3 hours, the next feed will begin at 11:00 am.
  • It is common for your baby to be extra-sleepy in the first days of life, especially if the baby has developed jaundice. It is important to awaken your baby & to make sure he drinks. If you are havng trouble, try undressing your baby, tickling him & even wiping him down with a wet washcloth, if needed.
  • It is a good idea to keep track of feedings, as well as baby’s stools & their colour. Keep note on a feeding chart or an App that will help you to keep track. This will be especially useful, especially in the hospital where they will ask you to keep track of these things, but also at home where you will want to keep track of things more closely for the first few weeks. It will also be helpful to answer the questions of your CLSC nurse when she comes to visit.

Burping your baby

There are several positions in which you can burp your baby:

  • Over the shoulder
  • Baby lying over your arm
  • Baby lying across your lap
  • Sitting baby up on your lap while you support his head by holding up his chin

You can burp baby by

  • Tapping his back
  • Rubbing his back in circular motions

Baby will need to give one or two good burps & will usually be fine. If your baby is still irritable try…try again! You may choose to switch positions.

Choosing a formula – preparation type & brand

Choosing a formula can be overwhelming. There are different types of preparation to choose from (ready-made, concentrate, powder) as well a various brands.  Below are some factors to consider when choosing the formula that ill feed your baby:

  • Ease of preparation
  • How long does it last once prepared?
  • Does it need to be refrigerated?
  • How does it “travel”?
  • Price


  • easiest
  • no need to prepare in advance
  • travels well
  • most expensive option
  • heavy to bring home from the store!
  • Once open, it can be kept at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerated for up to 24 hours


  • Many moms prefer as they feel they get the texture of ready-made with a much better price tag.
  • Another “heavy” option bringing back from the grocery store-but- the same weight of concentrate will take you much further than the ready- made so you will have less trips to the store, theoretically.
  • Prepared concentrate must be kept cold when on-the-go with ice packs & lasts, covered & refrigerated for 48 hours


  • seems like more work to prepare, it actually is not more difficult than the concentrate option.
  • Powder is an excellent formula to be using when on—the-go.  With the your formula pre-measured into a formula dispenser, you can just bring along your cooled, boiled water (or regular water if your baby is over 1 year of age) already measured into your bottle(s) & tip in the powder & shake well when ready to use.

Many parents choose to continue with whatever brand of formula was given at the hospital, if that was well-tolerated.  Some babies tolerate certain formulas better than others.  The iron content in some formulas can sometimes have a constipating effect on some babies but often does not always have such an effect.  The Nestle GoodStart program is believed by some to be easier for babies to digest due to the fact that the enzymes in that formula are already broken down.  It should be noted that GoodStart is not a kosher formula, if this is important to you.

Happy Feeding!


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