Breastfeeding mothers can have many problems but one thing they don’t have to think about is keeping their milk clean and germ-free. Bottle feeding mothers don’t have this luxury. Cleanliness is paramount when bottle feeding your baby.
If you’ve decided to bottle feed your child then you must first acquire the correct equipment. First on your list should be an adequate bottle sterilizer. There are several different types to choose from. The cheapest option available is to buy a bottle sterilizer that works by placing it in a microwave. Their big advantage is cheapness, but they do have a couple of drawbacks; first you must thoroughly clean your microwave after cooking spicy food. Secondly, portability can be problematic. A more expensive option is to purchase an electric bottle sterilizer. You simply wash your baby’s bottle and then place them into a plastic tray, which is then placed into the sterilizer. This is the best way to sterilize your baby’s milk bottles, however, be sure to place only the amount of water into the sterilizer as specified by the manufacturers – don’t put more than is recommended. Finally, you can purchase an electric/microwave combination. Basically, this means you can place the interior tray into a microwave rather than using the electric unit. Whichever type you purchase, don’t forget to wash it occasionally.
Ensure that you wash your baby’s bottles correctly. Use a bottle washer especially made for cleaning babies bottles. Wash bottles in warm soapy water and use salt to clean the teats. Make sure use rinse thoroughly after cleaning. Never sterilize your baby’s bottles with the teat or caps left on.
Germs require 3 things to thrive; water, sugar and warmth. Infant formula can provide ideal conditions for germs to breed. Always make infant formula just before you need to and discard any that is left over after feeding. Never give your baby milk that was made for a previous feed; would you like to drink milk that has been left standing for hours in a warm room? Also, when travelling, never make formula in advance. It is better to take hot water and mix the milk powder just before feeding. It might be worthwhile buying ready-to-use for long distance trips.
Never share your baby’s bottle with another infant, even with other siblings. Sharing is the surest way to spread germs from one baby to another. Make sure your own hands are clean before you prepare your baby’s formula.
Take care of your baby’s teeth. Bottle feeding tooth decay is a real risk. Infant formula usually contains more sugar that breast milk. You should never put baby to bed with a bottle, which the baby can suck on for hours. The sugary liquid flows over the baby’s upper front teeth and dissolves the enamel, causing decay that can lead to infection. The longer the practice continues the more damage to the baby’s teeth and mouth. Treatment is very expensive.
Bottle feeding will provide your child with all the nutrients it needs. By following the guidelines above, you can also ensure that bottle feeding is as germ-free and safe as breastfeeding.