How you choose to feed your baby is a personal decision. Moms are encouraged to breastfeed by their healthcare professionals, friends, and pretty much every parenting book written in the last 20 years. "Breast is best" is a common saying, but for some babies, formula feeding or supplementing with formula is what's best. Even though bottle feedings may not always be as quick and convenient as breastfeeding, there are some quick tips for formula feeding at night that can make it almost as easy.
The first things moms should do after they've decided to use formula is to get rid of their guilt. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the formula manufacturers to ensure that their products are "safe and support healthy growth in infants who consume them." The FDA would not allow a product to be sold that will harm children. Although the FDA didn't set standards for infant formula until 1980, commercial infant formula has been around since the late 1800s. Today's formula is as close as ever to recreating breast milk, which is comforting for parents who choose this as an option. It is also encouraging for women who have been considering supplementing with formula overnight, but feel guilty about it.
Here are some tips for formula feeding your baby at night to make it a happy experience for your whole family.
1. Wash Your Bottles Before Going To Bed
Nothing is worse than having to wash a bottle in the middle of the night when your baby is screaming. Whether you are formula feeding or bottle feeding pumped breast milk, keep your bottles clean and ready for those 2 a.m. feedings. You should always sterilize your bottles before using them for the first time. Parents recommended soaking bottles in a big pot of clean, boiling water for about five minutes. You can scrub the bottles with hot soapy water from that point on, sterilizing again if your baby has been sick, or on occasion just to be extra safe.
2. Use A Formula Dispenser
Several companies make plastic containers to store pre-measured powdered formula. That way, all you need to do is dump in the powdered formula from one of the compartments into the water rather than having to worry about scooping out the correct amount in the middle of the night.
3. Invest In Individual Serving-Sized Containers of Ready-To-Feed Formula
Powdered formula is by and large the most affordable option when it comes to formula feeding. However, if your baby wakes up for a bottle a couple of times in the night, the individual serving-sizes of ready-to-feed formula can feel like a godsend. They can be served at room temperature and don't need to be prepared, just pour into a baby bottle and feed.
4. Share Nighttime Feeding Duties
A great thing about bottle feeding is that your partner can share in the nighttime feeds so that you can get a little extra rest. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it also fosters bonding between your partner and your baby.
5. Keep The Lights Off
Mother & Baby recommended keeping the lights off when feeding at bedtime or overnight to create a sleep-inducing environment. It's also a good idea not to chat with your baby during night feeds so that he doesn't rouse and want to stay up and play.