Artificial milk: all the steps for the perfect feeding

Who I am
Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
Author and references

Contents

  • 1 Artificial milk: before feeding
  • 2 Which bottle to choose
  • 3 Artificial milk: prepare the bottle
  • 4 Artificial milk: the suckling
  • 5 Artificial milk: what to do after feeding
  • 6 Store infant formula 
  • 7 Artificial milk: how often you give it

We all know: breastfeeding is easy because the feed is always "ready to use", there is no need to heat, measure, taste. Does the baby throw the house down crying desperately with hunger? And what does it take ... take out your breasts and eat! Artificial milk is a much more serious thing and, if a mother does not turn into a “Flash” and wastes time preparing the bottle, she risks waking up in the middle of the night the whole neighborhood to a cry that resembles an air raid alarm. In short, it is better to know in advance what to do. 



But first a necessary premise. Here we do not want to take a position on one type of breastfeeding or the other. In many cases, the new mother is unable to breastfeed. Sometimes she is the fault of the lack of proper support, other times the woman takes drugs that prevent him. Or she simply chooses not to. Formula milk is often inserted when mom comes back to work and needs someone to feed her baby when she is not at home. Whatever the reason, she should never be considered a bad mother just because she is not breastfeeding. We are very sure of this.

Artificial milk: before feeding

In case of bottle feeding, hygiene plays a very important role. Baby bottles and teats must always be well sterilized to avoid contamination with germs. It is always a good idea to have a couple ready so you can prepare the milk as quickly as possible. This is to avoid the "inhuman" screams of the hungry little one.



There are various systems for sterilizing objects used by newborns. The classic is boiling, the typical way of our grandmothers: large pot of boiling water and off you go. The most modern methods, on the other hand, involve the use of electric sterilizers that use steam or others that are put in the microwave oven. There are also particular products that dissolve in water where the bottles are then immersed. The new generation dishwashers have special programs dedicated to sterilization. 

Also, before feeding, remember to always wash your hands well. Only after doing so take the bottle or use the special pliers. Do not rinse it before use: it just needs to be drained.

Which bottle to choose

There are two main types of baby bottles: glass or plastic. The former is more hygienic and easier to clean, but has the drawback that it can break. The second is very practical and is good when the child grows up and wants to keep him alone. Whichever type you choose, always keep a spare pair of bottles at home - they can be useful.

The teat is perhaps the most important aspect. Today many are made in such a way as to be as close as possible to the mother's breast. There are different teats depending on the age of the babies. When they are very small, they will have a narrow hole to prevent the flow of milk from being too strong, at the risk of going sideways. As the baby grows, the teat will adapt to its new needs.


Artificial milk: prepare the bottle

Let's see the basic steps to prepare milk for our little ones:

  • wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Use sterile bottles and teats.
  • Use low mineral content water with low mineral salts: the label must show a fixed residue not exceeding 150 mg / liter and preferably less than 50 mg / liter. If you use that from the tap, it must boil for at least 5 minutes and then let it cool. 
  • Pour the right amount of water into the bottle after bringing it to a temperature above 70 ° C.
  • Fill the measuring cup with powder. It should be shaken gently horizontally to eliminate any air pockets. Level the milk with a knife to remove excess powder. Do not press the powder. 
  • Carefully follow the doses recommended by the pediatrician. 
  • Close the bottle without over tightening the ring nut that secures the teat to the bottle. There is a risk of "throttling" the valve mechanisms that allow the correct entry of air into the bottle. If this does not happen, feeding becomes difficult and the baby swallows air.
  • Shake the bottle so that the powder dissolves without lumps.
  • Cool the bottle to 37 ° C and give the milk immediately. 

Artificial milk: the suckling

Finally the bottle is ready. A nice bib around the neck and the feeding can begin!


  • Before picking up the baby, check the temperature of the milk by pouring a few drops on the back of the hand.
  • Check the flow of milk: it must come out in close drops. If it is “flush”, the hole is too large. If it goes down slowly, the hole is blocked or too small. In either case, the baby may not suck well, get nervous, and cry. 
  • "Warn" the baby that the bottle is on its way by stroking his cheek with a finger or the teat: he will turn immediately to start sucking.
  • The bottle should be tilted so that the teat and bottle neck are filled with milk. In this way, the baby does not swallow air, which could cause stomach ache. 
  • Check that the air enters the bottle forming bubbles that rise along the milk in the bottle. If they are too small, the ferrule is too tight. When the baby catches his breath, remove the bottle from his mouth and straighten it, so that the air can enter inside. Then put it back in your mouth right away. He won't even notice.

Artificial milk: what to do after feeding

When the baby finishes sucking, remove the bottle from his mouth. Keep the baby upright: it's time for the infamous burp. Its function is to expel any air swallowed during the feeding. Place it on your shoulder, on which you will have previously put a handkerchief or towel. Regurgitation may be lurking.


Massage his back or tap to encourage burping. Mind you, not all children do this. If it doesn't come, don't worry and don't stay there too long trying to get it to. 

After feeding, wash and sterilize bottles and teats. 

Store infant formula 

Once opened, the liquid adapted milk package must be kept in the fridge and used within 48 hours. Powdered milk should be consumed within 10-15 days. You don't need to keep it in the fridge.


Artificial milk: how often it is given

Here lies the substantial difference with breastfeeding. This is "on demand". That is, it means that the child is attacked every time she wishes it and, in fact, requests it. In most cases it is for hunger, but the breasts can also be used to quench their thirst (especially in hot weather) or even as a cuddle (especially in babies who do not use pacifiers). 

The composition of breast milk ensures that it is never "too much" and is easily digestible. So there is no minimum time that must pass between one feed and another. The case of artificial milk is different. It takes more time to digest it. At least 3 hours should elapse between feedings. It is clear that a minimum of flexibility must be considered: if your child screams with hunger you can anticipate by half an hour, while if he sleeps you can postpone a little. Children are very good at self-regulating, even if they are very small. 

To find out how to choose infant formula, you can learn more HERE.

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