How to Bottle feed a baby: A Guide for Dads

1. If you’re comfortable, bub will be too.   First step is to grab a comfy spot where you’re happy to sit still for a while. It’s tempting to settle down on the couch with bub in front of a flat-screen TV but the light can be distracting and might be too much of a departure from their routine with Mum. Plus, while it might be tempting to get stuck into a Netflix marathon while you’re bottle-feeding, it’s nicer if you’re focused on the job at hand. This is a special time for just the two of you after all. You might even find that it will become your favourite, calming part of your day. If you need to use your smartphone, switch the screen to nightmode so the light doesn’t bother bub.

2. Hold your baby upright at the start of the feed.   It’s safer to hold them upright at the start of the feed, when the bottle is full, so they can control the flow.  Support bub’s head and back well so that they feed secure and comfortable.

3. Hold the bottle horizontally at the start of the feed.   When the bottle is full, hold it horizontally so there are no drips. If milk is dripping or pouring into a baby’s mouth it’s not only harder for them to latch, it may cause a baby to choke (cue a very distressed bub). When babies feed on the breast they latch with suction, and this how they feed best.

4. Hold the bottle steady.   When babies are breastfed they are held steady so they remain latched onto mum (even when pausing during a feed). When bottle feeding hold the baby and the bottle steady. The Minbie teat is specially designed so babies can latch properly like they do on the breast and remain latched including when pausing during a feed.

5. Watch to ensure there is always milk in the tip of the nipple.   When you’re watching to see that the teat is filled with milk, you also won’t miss the special moments when bub looks into your eyes. By ensuring the teat is filled with milk, you’ll know bub will be drinking milk and not swallowing air. This helps to limit their problems with wind (the air in their tummy that can cause them pain – cue upset baby). As the level of milk in the bottle goes down, it’s okay to lean bub back a little so as to keep the teat filled.  

6. Don’t forget to burp!   The baby that is! If you notice discomfort during a feed, stop the feed, hold your baby upright and pat the back gently to help release the wind. After a feed also hold bub in an upright position for around 10-15 minutes or as long as your baby needs. Laying them down too early can cause discomfort or cause them to spit up. You’ll need a cloth over your shoulder, or handy, for catching any spills (and maybe don’t wear your best shirt).

7. Prevent nipple confusion.   What is nipple confusion you may wonder? Nipple confusion is when a baby has learned to feed away from the breast (such as from a generic bottle-teat or cup) and then goes back to the breast with a poor latch or prefers the bottle. This can happen in as little as one feed away from the breast. What you want is for your baby to be practicing for breastfeeding while bottle feeding, which is what the breakthrough Minbie bottle-teat facilitates.  

8. The decision to accept the bottle is with the baby.   Some babies accept a bottle seemingly easily, but it’s also perfectly normal for a baby to refuse a bottle. While bottle refusal can be really distressing for parents, preferably don’t transfer your stress to the baby. Introducing a bottle can be a process, be patient. Trying a different bottle may help. The Minbie has helped many parents to introduce a bottle.   

9. How to offer the bottle.   Be sure to first read the instructions that come with the bottle & teat packs. When offering the bottle, touch baby’s top lip with the tip of the nipple - this encourages them to open their mouth wide. It’s important to let bub make the decision to accept the teat and latch. This way bub and you stay calm and relaxed.

Your partner and your baby need you – you’ve got this Dad!