Help for Bottle Feeding Babies!

I just told my husband this morning, “I feel a blog coming on…”

Checking through my google alerts this morning, I found a link to this article about adoptive breast feeding and pressure from breast feeding “crazies” (me?). I went to check it out because I have a lovely friend, Alyssa Schnell, who specializes in adoptive breast feeding and I wanted to see if the article might be interesting. I always want to know more about this subject myself, and Alyssa might want me to send it to her.

War on Science

War on Science

Before we start though, apparently there is a new term out there for those of us who support and promote breast feeding. We apply “bressure”. Get it, breast feeding + pressure? I don’t this is a compliment. I am sure someone from a formula company made it up to help promote negative images of breastfeeding advocates. A very common tactic for them to use. If you want to know more about that, read this, The War on Breastfeeding.

Anyway, let’s return to the blog, I read this:

“From the start, with the assumption we would be bottle feeding, we were on our own. Not once did any of the social care or health professionals around us offer advice on bottle feeding. It sounds like it should be easy right? Just pick up a bottle and feed the baby?”

This is so true! I often feel I am the only one who cares how bottle fed babies are being feed! Properly developing, human babies, up to a year of age, only EVER need between 25-28 oz! I love my breast feeding babies, don’t get me wrong. But I also love, love, all the bottle feeding babies too. No matter what is in the bottle. And I want them to be properly feed as well. Over feeding bottle feeding babies seems to be the norm and no one seems to care.

Colin Robertson

Colin Robertson

When I had my first born son almost 20 years ago, we left the hospital completely formula feeding. I had intended to breast feed but so many things got in the way. (Side note: Thank you to my step mother, Pat Lennington who called and got help for me! With the help of La Leche League, we turned breast feeding around and nursed for several years. Look at me now! Don’t lose hope! Call and get help if you are struggling with breastfeeding!)

Back to bottle feeding. So, we left the hospital with CASES of ready made formula. All the nurses felt sorry for me because of our horrible start! But, no one showed me how to bottle feed. No one told me how much to bottle feed. I was feeding my five day old baby about 40 oz per day! 40 oz for a five day old! Mind you, he spit up a lot! He also gained weight VERY quickly. No asked about my bottle feeding at the doctors office even though he was gaining well over 2 oz per day. Was this detrimental to his health? Hard to know. He is almost 20 years old, tall and lean right now. But he overeats frequently. It might not catch up to him until his metabolism slows down. Time will tell.

Why do I believe this? Because his tiny tummy was stretched to the maximum as soon as we were in charge of feeding him. Instead of having frequent, slow, small feeds, about 15 cc to 45ish cc on day five, we were giving him 90-150 ccs in about 10 minutes! He was gassy and fussy. Duh. He also had no control over how much he was eating. We were basically water boarding him with formula. That may sound harsh but I was recently watching a crime show and saw what watering boarding was. This is so much like what we do to our babies. Put them on their backs, put a very fast, flowing bottle in their mouth, and don’t give them breaks. They have to keep swallowing or else they will choke. No wonder they “finish the bottle”.

I feel this is that lack of bottle feeding guidance is criminal. There are very simple, general, calculations you can do to figure out about how much food to feed your baby and ways to bottle feed your baby in a more respectful manner. You do need to watch your baby’s feeding cues and weight gain. (Please contact your health care provider about any specific feeding questions you have about your baby.)

Let’s break it down.

Days 1-3: Little bits. 5-15 cc per feed. Why do those ready made bottles in the hospital come in 2 oz? This implies that it how much a new born baby should eat. I read another blog a few months ago about a woman who had chosen not to breastfeed and it said, “I gazed at my husband blissfully (something like this) bottle feeding our two hour old son his first 2 oz bottle.” Fine, choose to formula feed, but please, not 2 oz in the first days! But we do. All the time. And the hospital staff doesn’t stop us. The pediatricians don’t stop us.

Days 3-10ish get dicey. You want to gradually feed the babies more until they hit 2.5 oz per pound of their weight per 24 hours. Easy!

Day 10 and beyond: Babies continue to eat a bit more as they gain weight. Until they hit 25-28 oz. Once they get to that volume, 25-28 oz per 24 hours, no more! Caveat: Unless the baby is not gaining about .5 per day! See your doctor if this is happening. Babies gain on average about 1 oz per 24 hours. Some a bit more, some a bit less.

Once you know about how much your baby should consume in 24 hours, count up about how many times the baby eats and divide the total number of oz your baby should be consuming by the number of times your baby eats to get how much should be in each bottle.

I have talked in the past about how to bottle feed all babies. Pacing the bottle feed is so important. Putting a baby on its back and basically

bottle feeding, breastfeeding, pumping, breast pump

Pacing the bottle feed

water boarding liquid down their throat is not an appropriate way to feed anyone, especially a newborn.

Let’s start talking about and thinking about how we are bottle feeding our babies. They deserve to be feed with respect and in a way that will help their future health no matter what is in the bottle.

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