Whether you are breastfeeding and want to be able to offer a bottle every now and then, or have chosen to exclusively bottlefeed, there are a few things that can make feeding time a little bit easier for both you and your baby.
1. Prefill your bottles - Fumbling with pouring breastmilk or formula into a bottle in the wee hours of the morning isn't fun, nor is the gas that can be caused by the vigourous shaking and mixing of powdered formula. Premix and prefill your bottles, and allow them to chill and settle in the fridge. Warm them slightly in a cup of hot water, under a hot tap, or serve at room temperature after taking out of the fridge for a few minutes before feeding time.
2. Set up a feeding station in your bathroom or bedroom - This tip is great for overnight feeds. Set up a little station with a couple of bottles, a washcloth, bottle brush and formula so that you don't have to be running down to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Babies will only wait so long!
3. Do your research - Different bottles do different things. If you're breastfeeding and only offering bottles occasionally, look for a bottle nipple that resembles the shape of your own nipple, and a wider neck that mimics the shape of your breast. If you're using bottles all the time, look for one that has a ventilation system so as to limit the amount of air bubbles in your babe's tummy.
4. Have a comfy chair - As with breastfeeding, being comfortable while you're feeding your baby is imperative to a successful feeding session. Use a pillow under your warm to help prop baby up, and give your neck and shoulder some support as they grow. If you have a recliner and can sink into a bit of a mellow rest while baby is feeding, great. If you prefer a traditional rocking chair, awesome. Just be sure to stay comfortable and relaxed so that baby will pick up on those cues.
5. Don't stress over ounces and millilitres - The amount of formula or breastmilk at any given feeding session may change, and that's ok. As with breastfed babies, you will still be feeding on demand, and while the stretches may be a bit longer in between feedings, your baby will know how much they want to take, and how often. Trust your instincts (and theirs), and try not to stress over leftover formula or breastmilk.
Remember, however you choose to fed your baby is awesome and we support you no matter what! You're doing a great job, mama!