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Bottle Feeding Your Baby

Feeding time lets you bond with your baby. Keep feeding time calm and relaxed. Your baby should be dry and comfortable.

Your baby may seem sleepy and not interested in feeding at first. It is important to offer the bottle to the baby frequently so your baby will not get dehydrated. Your baby will be more interested in feeding after the first few days. Most babies will be hungry every 3 to 4 hours. Babies will eat best if they are fed when they want to eat.

Most babies take 1 ounce of formula on the first day of life. The baby will take 2 ounces of formula on the second day and up to 3 ounces on the third day. If the baby is hungry every 2 hours, you can add 1/2 an ounce of formula. The baby should be happy for a few days at that amount of formula.

Babies may go up to 4 to 5 hours between feedings at night. The baby should have a total of 6 to 8 feedings each day.

Getting started

Here are some tips to make bottle feeding your baby a bit easier.

  • Ask your baby’s doctor which kind of formula to use and how much to give.
  • Never use a microwave to warm the baby’s formula. A microwave may cause “hot spots” that burn the baby’s mouth.
  • Make only 1 day of formula at a time. Store it in the refrigerator after you mix it. Do not save any formula that is left in the bottle after a feeding.
  • Wash your hands before mixing formula and before feeding the baby.
  • The bottle should be held so that the nipple is always filled with formula. This will keep the baby from swallowing air.
  • Stop and burp your baby halfway through the feeding.
  • If your baby is vomiting after each feeding or has very loose, watery stools 8 or more times a day, call your baby’s doctor. The baby may be allergic to the formula.
  • Never prop up the bottle or leave the baby to feed himself or herself.
  • Bottles need to be washed in hot soapy water and rinsed well in hot water. They do not need to be sterilized.
  • The baby will usually get enough fluids from the formula. You do not need to give bottles of water to your baby.
  • Crying doesn’t always mean that the baby is hungry. If the baby has recently eaten and is crying, try changing the baby’s diaper and make sure the clothes are dry. The baby also may need to be burped or held.

Follow-up care

Your baby’s doctor will check how well your baby is eating at your regular follow-up visits. However, you should call the doctor if you have any concerns or questions about feeding your baby.

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