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Learning how to bottle-feed. The Dos and Don'ts

Parenting By Essete Fitha-Amlak
Photo: Courtesy

Some babies take to the bottle without any struggle but oftentimes bottle training a breastfed baby can be challenging. Especially if you are bound by time and have to report to the office at a given time. But even if you are not a working mother, it is useful to train your baby so you can do other things without them going hungry or dad can experience the joy of feeding. Follow these tips will help you with the transition.

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Get good quality teats - For a baby who is accustomed to the breast, a synthetic teat is alien to the mouth. Get a teat that is very close to the natural feel of the breast as well as one that has a slow flow so that baby is not overwhelmed with gushes of milk. Be careful not to confuse them with different teats and bottles at once.

Use your own breast milk –

 To introduce the bottle and formula at once can be quite tasking. Try expressing your breast milk and use that during bottle training. Some mothers apply some breast milk on the teat to ease their babies into it.

Have someone else feed –

Your baby is smart enough to know your smell and associate it with breast milk. They also know the way you hold them for breastfeeding hence they might refuse to take the bottle if you're the one doing the feeding. Ask your partner to try bottle feeding first, it can be a bonding moment for them.

Choose the right time –

 Choose a time when your baby is not hungry or fussy. If you are reporting back to the office, start training at least three weeks before to avoid the stress at the last minute.

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Don't give up too quickly –

 Most children take time to get used to the bottle, so do not give up too quickly. If they refuse completely, give them a break and try again later. But if they decide to keep it in the mouth without drinking, let them play with it and sooner or later they will start suckling. Babies can feel your frustration so, give yourself some time and start again.

Even after trying these tips some babies might refuse the bottle. In that case you have the option of using a cup and a spoon. It can be messy affair but it is necessary. Not every baby is up to the bottle so do not feel as if you have not done the right thing.

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