Rinse your bottles with hot water after a feed, then brush thoroughly with a bottle brush and liquid soap. Rinse in very hot water and sterilise as described on p. 36 or put in a dishwasher. Rub the inside of the teats with salt to remove any milk residue. Squeeze water through the teat hole and unclog with a toothpick if necessary. Rinse with hot water and sterilise as usual.
Preparing for the feed. Wash your hands thoroughly, and warm the milk by standing bottle in a jug of hot water, being very careful to keep it out of the reach of children and far from your baby. You can use a bottle warmer but do not leave the milk in it for long periods. If you change your baby before the feed, wash your hands well before you touch the bottle. Shake the feed to mix and test the temperature by shaking a few drops onto your wrist â” it should feel pleasantly warm. Some babies will take their feeds straight from the fridge and there is no harm in this after the first few months.
Giving the feed. Hold your baby close as if you were breast feeding, opening your blouse so that she gets skin to skin contact if possible. With the teat touch her cheek and she will â˜root’ towards it and open her mouth. Hold the bottle fairly upright so that the teat is full of milk or she will suck in air.
If the teat becomes flattened by the suction, take it out of her mouth and allow it to expand again, or just loosen the lid slightly so that air can get in.
Make yourself comfortable when feeding. You can even do it lying on your bed, but never be tempted to prop the bottle because not only could your baby choke but she will miss the vital human contact. If you prop the bottle there is also the possibility that milk will run from the back of her mouth into the Eustachian tubes in the ear and collect there and form a source of infection. Doctors operating on babies’ eardrums have found stagnant milk which has resulted in a temporary hearing loss. Because the child’s hearing is impaired in this way, she could lag in learning to talk and other areas of development.
Try to make a point of giving your baby her feeds yourself so that you can foster a warm close relationship in which she feels secure. Your husband can do night feeds occasionally so that you can get some rest.