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Bottle Feeding Advice

If you're planning to bottle feed your baby, either with formula or expressed milk, you have a lot to think about. At first it may seem like a complicated and daunting task, but a bit of planning and preparation will take the stress out of the whole process.

The bottle feeding advice below serves as a useful guideline and provides a list of things you can do to get the best out of your bottles. If you plan to start with breastfeeding before making the transition to bottle feeding, then be sure to have a read through our breastfeeding advice page.

Your bottle feeding questions answered

At Tommee Tippee we have been making award-winning feeding bottles throughout our 50 year history.

Since 2009 all our bottles have been made from polypropylene, a durable and long-lasting material that is completely and reassuringly safe to use.

Polypropylene contains absolutely no bisphenol-A, a chemical ingredient that has raised concerns in recent years though there has been credible scientific evidence against it

Our bottle teats are made from ultra-soft silicone, a clear man-made material which retains its appearance even after constant sterilising and allows you to see milk deposits more easily.

It is important to remember that sharp baby teeth can puncture the silicone if your baby is allowed to 'teethe' on the bottle, so always take it away from the baby once a feed is finished and inspect teats before and after each use for signs of damage or wear and tear.

Our teats come in three flow rates – slow, medium and fast – as well as Variflo which allows the baby to control the flow of milk through his own sucking strength.

All our Closer to Nature bottles come with newborn, slow flow teats which are generally suitable for bottle feeding all new babies. Your baby will guide you when it is time to move to the next flow rate.

He may, for example, fall asleep with the bottle if it is too tiring to get his feed through a hole that is too small. Or the teat may collapse if he seems impatient as he feeds. The age guidance of three months (medium flow) or fast flow (six months) is simply to guide you so do not worry if your baby seems ready to move up earlier or later than the pack says.

All our Closer to Nature teats have an exclusive Easi-vent valve on the surface. This valve opens and closes to reduce the risk of colic as your baby feeds by letting air in and out of the bottle naturally. For best practice position the valve under your baby's nose when feeding. And take care when cleaning the teats and the easi-vent valve as both are very soft, sensitive and delicate and won't appreciate rough treatment with a bottle or teat brush.

What you should know about bottle feeding

If you bottle feed your baby you may need as many as 10-12 bottles to start off with. Some may be in the steriliser, some may be in the fridge or freezer and some may get left on the bus! Smaller 150ml bottles are ideal for first feeds or drinks of cooled boiled water.

Whatever your tally, there are some do's and don'ts to remember to help you get the best out of your bottles.

  1. Don't use bottles that are badly worn or scuffed or scratched
  2. Inspect bottles and teats before and after each feed for signs of wear and tear
  3. Always wash the bottles you have used in warm soapy water before sterilising, using your bottle and teat brush (there is no need to sterilise the brush itself), then rinse
  4. Don't put boiling water straight from the kettle into your bottles. Allow it to cool for approximately 30 minutes
  5. Follow the instructions from the manufacturers of the infant formula you use, making sure you level each scoop of formula
  6. Discard any unused milk after baby has had his feed
  7. Buy new bottles for each new baby
  8. Health guidelines recommend you make up bottles one at a time. It may be easier to store the cooled, boiled water sealed in the bottles and then add the formula at feeding time
  9. If storing bottles in the fridge, don't use the door compartments as the temperature changes every time you open the door
  10. A carton of ready-to-feed formula is a useful standby in your cupboard or changing bag
  11. Don't heat bottles in a microwave. It can lead to hot spots and destroy nutrients in your formula milk
  12. Never thaw breast milk in a microwave. Allow it to defrost at room temperature

Guidelines for making up a feed

Bottle feeds should be made up with water that is 70°C or more. Boil the kettle, then leave it for half an hour to cool before making up the feed.

Make up each feed as it is needed. Warm milk is a breeding ground for bacteria so making up bottles in advance is no longer advised. While it is not easy to anticipate when a baby is going to wake up (and therefore when to boil the kettle and let the water cool) it may be easier to put a measured amount of formula aside in a sealed container (Tommee Tippee Milk Powder Dispensers are ideal) and have a flask of cooled boiled water ready to make up the feed. You can re heat the cooled boiled water and then add the formula prior to feeding. You should only mix the formula once you are happy the water is at the correct temperature as this minimises the amount of time within which bacteria can grow.

Once you have made up the feed you must cool it to the right temperature for the baby. When tested on the inside of the wrist it should feel neither warm nor cold on your skin. Babies enjoy their feeds at room temperature, which may seem just lukewarm to you but is just right for the baby.

Whatever you do

  1. Sterilise all feeding equipment
  2. Clean the surface on which you are making up the bottles
  3. Wash the hands thoroughly
  4. Follow all the instructions on the tin and don't use more or less powder than it says as your baby could become ill
  5. Throw away used formula and never re-heat or re-use it