Your wife may choose to breastfeed, express the breastmilk or even formula feed. There may come a point when she decides to transition from breast to bottle. While there are pros and cons to the different methods and opinions too, we will leave the debate for another day.
What we want to focus on right here, right now, is how you as a father can play a role in determining what the best choice for your baby is. Impress your partner with key facts, take better co-parenting decisions and be ‘in the know’.
Ok, so here we go. The facts, fiction and things to remember:
- When it comes to baby bottles, there’s no algorithm. You have to try, test and work with your child’s preference and needs.
- Some children take to bottles instantly, some may outright refuse. This will depend on how they react to a brand and some bottles may cause more gas and spit up versus others. Not all babies are created equal.
- In some cases, your child may not display a preference, but you do. Bottles vary, and some brands have more parts than others. More parts equate to more cleaning, more sterilizing and more chances of your little one catching an infection. Not all bottles are created equal.
- Start by buying a small selection of bottles and teats, do not invest in just one brand. Equipment is expensive, and it pays to ask friends for recommendations and read online reviews.
- Materials Matter:
- Plastic bottles are convenient, cost-effective, deteriorate faster and present the challenge of chemicals (even in BPA free bottles).
- Glass bottles are heavy, expensive, last longer and are chemical free. They can also shatter, but there are silicon casings to help mitigate this issue.
- Silicone bottles are unbreakable, expensive but not heavy. They aren’t as easy to come by so replacing them may prove challenging.
- Stainless steel bottles are light, chemical free, they last longer and like silicone bottles, are harder to replace.
- Depending on the material, follow the manufacturer's guidelines on replacing bottles and bottle parts.
- Bottle & Teat Shapes Vary:
- Some manufacturers design bottles to be easier for babies to hold (as they grow older) and even for convenient storage on a stroller or in a cup holder.
- Wide-neck bottles have teats with a broader base, making it easier for breastfeeding mothers to transition. This can help the baby avoid teat confusion.
- Teats also have varying flow speeds. Remember, formula or breast milk should drip steadily out the teat, not pour out in a stream.
- Venting Systems, Quantity and Bottle Sizes:
- Many manufacturers produce bottles that claim to help reduce colic and gas. They contain a straw-like system that prevents your baby from taking in air bubbles. There is no substantial proof of their effectiveness, but users are believers.
- Depending on whether you primarily bottle feed or do a mix of bottle and breastfeeding, the number of bottles you require may vary. Washing and sterilizing is important, so once you’ve identified the brand that works, it’s better to have more than less.
- Start with 4-ounce bottles and after month four shift to the larger 8-ounce bottles. Growing babies have growing appetites.
It is important to pay close attention to health and safety notes when selecting and using bottles. Our guide is meant to outline a quick snapshot of the need to know facts. Always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child.
Impress your partner with key facts, take better co-parenting decisions and be 'in the know'. Visit our Partners & Parents resource center for more.
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