There are lots of ways you can make formula feeding easier and speed up prep time.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the early days when it seems like your baby is feeding round the clock.
Once you get the right routines and products in place, bottle feeding your baby will feel totally natural!
When I had my first baby I tried to breastfeed but it just didn’t work out for us.
In the end I exclusively pumped for her in the first few weeks then we gradually switched to formula feeding.
During this time I like to think I picked up a lot of ideas on how to save time when bottle feeding. I also figured out what products work well, and which ones you just don’t need!
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A few myths about bottle feeding
There are a lot of myths about bottle feeding that have sprung up in recent years. It’s been made worse as health bodies try to encourage more people to breastfeed.
The fact is some people either can’t or choose not to breastfeed. That does not make them a bad parent! Before we go in to the formula feeding hacks, here are a few myths you need to forget about:
Formula feeding is harder than breastfeeding
Not necessarily. Formula feeding enables your partner and other relatives to help you out. This means you can get help with night feeds and catch up on much-needed rest!
Formula feeding means you won’t bond with your baby
Wrong. Bottle fed babies love and need their mamas just as much as breastfed ones.
Formula feeding guarantees your baby will sleep through the night
Sorry, this one is not true either. Though we all wish that were the answer to babies who refuse to sleep at night.
Now we’ve dispelled a few myths, here are some practical hacks for feeding your baby.
Check out these bottle feeding tips to help you formula feed your baby with ease!
1. Create an organised formula feeding station
When it comes to formula feeding, a good start is to get all of your formula feeding essentials organised and in one place.
Pick a shelf in the kitchen where you can quickly access clean bottles. Have your sterilising station somewhere on the counter where you can use it easily.
When it comes to sterilising, you could use a microwave steriliser, or alternatively try a cold water sterilised.
The cold water steriliser is great as you simply pop a sterilising table into clean water in the bucket every 24 hours. Once you’ve cleaned bottles you can then just pop them in as the days goes on and they are sterilised in a few minutes.
Have your bottles on a shelf that is close to the kettle too.
2. Make bottles fast
When it comes to formula feeding, the key is to make sure you are making up the bottles in a safe and sterile way.
There are so many methods for making up bottles out there, but many don’t adhere to the safety guidelines for formula as set out by the World Health Organisation.
Some people boil water, pop it in the fridge, then pour it on the formula when needed. The problem with this is, the formula needs hot water in order to sterilise the powder itself.
But if you follow the instructions on the pack to the letter, then you’ll be waiting 30 minutes for a bottle to be ready! That’s not ideal for a hungry baby.
The other issue is steam! When you measure out your formula and hot water, you need to put the water in the bottle first, then add the powder. The trouble is, steam from the water causes some powder to cling to the formula packet’s measuring spoon.
Adding the powder first means you can’t measure out the water accurately. So what to do!
I came up with a method that satisfies the need to sterilise the powder, and gets the bottle made up fast! To make up a formula bottle fast, do this:
(This method makes 200ml formula, you need some extra bottles in order to do this)
- Boil the kettle and measure out 120ml of water. Wait for this to cool and pop a lid on, then place in the fridge.
- When you need to make a bottle, boil the kettle, then measure out the powder into the bottle you want to feed your baby from.
- Using another bottle, measure out 80ml boiling water from the kettle. Pour this onto the powder.
- Swirl the formula gently around to mix with the boiling water for a few seconds.
- Pour over the cool, boiled water from the fridge. Swirl to mix.
- Add teat and check the temperature. You should find it is warm, but not too warm to feed to your baby.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or health professional. This is the method I used for myself personally. Always use sterile bottles and a sterile environment for making up the bottles.
3. Find bottles that your baby finds easy to use
You may have to go through a few brands before you find one your baby likes.
Some teats offer different speed of flow. A newborn will need a slower flow bottle so that they can cope with the speed of the feed.
4. Try using readymade formula when out and about
The easiest way to feed when on the go is to use readymade bottles of formula.
These have been sterilised and stored in a safe way, so that you can just pop them in your bag, open and feed whenever you want. The instructions on the bottle will say the feed needs to be disposed of two hours after opening.
5. Measure out formula powder for when you’re on the go
You can buy special pots and containers that enable you to measure out formula powder so its ready for when you are out.
You will still need access to water of at least 70C temperature in order to sterilise the powder when making up the feed.
6. Get lots of bottles
Don’t just buy a couple of bottles. You will find the washing tough to get on top of and it’s time you could better spend resting.
Get at least enough bottles for each of your baby’s feeds every day. Most babies of four months will have around five feeds per day.
A newborn may be feeding seven or eight times per day, as they take little amounts and often.
Have extra bottles around to make your life easier!
Most bottle manufacturers make them in multiple sizes. For the first two months you’ll only need smaller bottles, but from around three months your baby will take larger feeds and you’ll want bottles that hold up to 250ml of milk.
7. Get a bottle washing container for your dishwasher
Washing all of those bottle parts can be hell! If you’re doing it by hand, you’ll want a good bottle brush.
If you have a dishwasher, you can get a special rack that fits inside the washer. This keeps your bottles stood up properly for the washing cycle, and keeps all of the parts together.
8. Get the burping right
Bottle-fed babies can get a lot more gassy. Make sure you burp your baby part way through a feed, so that they don’t accidentally bring a load of it up, and at the end too.
You can try lots of different positions for burping, it just depends on what works best for you.
9. Offer the bottle at room temperature
Getting a bottle warmer might be tempting, but it’s really not necessary.
However you end up preparing your formula, try to get your baby used to taking the formula at whatever temperature it comes.
This way when they switch to normal milk at one year, they will be happier to take it straight from the fridge.
10. Tilt the bottle at the right angle
Getting the bottle in the right position can help to prevent your baby from getting too gassy.
Tilt the bottle at roughly a 45degree angle from your baby’s mouth.
11. Grab a pillow
Bottle feeding can take up both of your hands! If you are trying to do something, such as a bit of work or read a book, at the same time this can be tricky!
Try using a pillow to prop your baby up on your lap. You could also use a bunched up muslin or blanket to support the bottle in your baby’s mouth so that you can free up both hands.
12. You don’t need follow-on milk
This is one of the biggest money-wasters parents get conned into buying!
Follow-on milk was created by formula companies so that they could advertise the product. Why? Because they are not allowed to advertise their infant milk. This is because it’s a breastmilk substitute and advertising laws prohibit companies from pushing an alternative of new mamas.
You don’t need to give your baby follow-on milk. A child on a normal diet does not need it. Save your money, and just offer them whole milk from age one.
I hope these tips were useful and have given you some great ideas for formula feeding your baby with ease!