Bottle feeding - 5 steps to healthy feeding

Author Philippa Murphy

Bottle feeding - 5 steps to healthy feeding

Some parents are left floundering and alone when it comes to learning the necessary practice of healthy bottle feeding and this can often contribute to digestive imbalance. For example, we often presume that a newborn automatically knows how to take breaths when needed, but it takes time for any baby to learn how to synchronise their breathing and swallowing while drinking from the bottle. Place your feet in your 'baby's shoes.' Try lying down and drinking a litre of water continuously. It cannot be done. You need to stop for a breath until you feel you can drink more.

Therefore, to aid the digestive process effectively observe baby during a feed. When their breath quickens and they swallow faster — trying to catch their breath and synchronise swallowing — allow them time to catch their breath by breaking the seal on the teat, pulling it out slightly to stop the milk from flowing and angle it so the teat rests on their bottom lip, thus stopping their suck. This will help retain calm while they relax their breathing.

The basics for good bottle teat latching are:

  • rub the teat downwards over the newborn's bottom lip
  • when the mouth is wide, with the tongue dropped, place the teat into their mouth
  • tilt the bottle so the teat rests more on the hard roof palette of the mouth, rather than the tongue, with the lower part of the teat resting on the bottom lip.
  • as baby sucks, pull against their suck slightly. This helps to protect their demand reflex, especially helpful if you are mixed feeding.
  • listen to your baby's breathing during the feed, giving them quick breaks to catch their breath as described above


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Last Updated: 14 October 2016