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How to Bottle-feed

Newborns need good nutrition and plenty of loving—two things you can supply with bottle-feeding. There are many formulas, so ask your health care provider which is best for your baby. If your baby seems hungry but isn’t eating well, try using a different-shaped nipple on the bottle. Also, be sure to hold the bottle so your baby can suck properly.

Mother feeding newborn baby with bottle.

SAFETY TIP: Don’t heat formula in a microwave. Instead, heat a bowl of water in the microwave. Remove the bowl and place the bottle in the hot water for a few minutes.

Facts on Formula

  • Baby formula can be cow-based or soy-based. If your family has a history of allergies, your baby’s doctor may suggest a specific type of formula to use.

  • Ready-to-feed formula is the easiest, but it also costs the most.

  • Concentrated powder and liquid formulas need to be mixed with water before using. Follow the package directions closely. Using too much or too little water may be harmful to your baby.

Bottle Care

  • Wash your hands every time you fill or offer a bottle.

  • Start with 8 four-ounce bottles. To limit the amount of air your baby swallows, use bottles with plastic liners.

  • Boil new nipples for 5 minutes before the first use.

  • Clean used bottles and nipples with hot, soapy water. Be sure to rinse both completely.

  • Bottles can be filled up to 24 hours ahead of time, but you must keep them refrigerated until they’re used.

Hold Baby and Bottle

  • Cradle your baby in your arm, holding the head slightly higher than the chest.

  • Stroke the cheek nearest to you. When your baby’s mouth opens, place the nipple on the tongue well into your baby’s mouth.

  • Tip the bottle so the nipple fills with milk. For your baby’s sake, never prop the bottle. Holding your baby during feedings builds trust and makes choking less likely.

Burping Your Baby

  • Burp your baby after 1/2 to 1 ounce of formula and when he or she is done feeding.

  • Your baby can be burped sitting up while you hold the baby’s jaw, lying face-down across your lap, or with his or her belly against your shoulder.


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