A common misconception is that bottle-feeding is easier than breastfeeding. This isn’t always true! No matter how you feed your baby, you are bound to face some challenges along the way. There are several important things to know about bottle-feeding that may help your feeding journey progress more smoothly.
1. Not All Bottles Are Created Equal
There’s a lot of baby bottles on the market these days. Not all of them are going to work for your baby! The best options to start with, in my opinion, are the Dr Browns or Evenflo Balance. Both of these bottles facilitate a wide latch. If you’re breastfeeding as well as bottle-feeding, maintaining a wide latch is essential to avoid nipple confusion or aversion. If you aren’t breastfeeding, a wide latch is still beneficial because babies with wide latches feed much quicker than babies with shallow latches. Either way, it’s a win-win.
2. Bottles Do Need to Be Sanitized
People often ask me “Do I really need to buy a bottle sanitizer?” Baby gear is already expensive, and a sanitizer may seem like a frivolous purchase. However, sanitizing bottles is really important. The thin plastic that makes up bottle nipples is, in particular, a breeding ground for bacteria. Washing bottles with a bottle brush, soap, and hot water should be the standard every time, but it’s best to sanitize bottles frequently as well to keep them clean and safe for use. Personally, I prefer to sanitize bottles by boiling them in a pot of hot water. It’s faster and much less expensive than buying a sanitizer.
3. Bottle-Feeding Isn’t “The Easy Way Out”
Bottle-feeding isn’t easier than breastfeeding. It requires a lot more preparation and clean-up time than breastfeeding does. It also is more expensive, in most cases. With all that being said, it’s important to know that there are resources out there to help you feed your baby, whether or not you’re breastfeeding. Bottle-feeding parents are just as deserving of feeding support as breastfeeding parents. A competent IBCLC can help you find a bottle and create a feeding plan that will fit your baby’s unique needs.