9 Bottle-Feeding Mistakes To Strictly Avoid With Your Baby

9 Bottle-Feeding Mistakes To Strictly Avoid With Your Baby

When a mother is breastfeeding, she does not need to worry as much about her baby catching an infection while feeding. This is because the breastmilk that the mother’s body secretes is pure, and personal hygiene is maintained by all mommies extremely well. However, as bottle-feeding requires using external materials like feeding bottles, nipples, etc., we must take extra caution to make them suitable and safe for the baby. Continue reading the following post to learn in detail about wrong bottle-feeding positions.

Video: 5 Bottle-Feeding Mistakes to Strictly Avoid With Your Baby

Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, after which you can slowly introduce your baby to solid foods. This is also the time when many of us turn to bottle feeding. How to bottle-feed a newborn baby is also a question that lingers in the minds of mothers who have chosen to formula-feed their newborns, perhaps for health or personal reasons. While breastfeeding has no parallel, if you need to start formula feeding your baby, you must educate yourself on the right technique of feeding.

Mistakes to Guard Against While Bottle-Feeding Your Baby

There are a lot of small details that become very important when it comes to bottle-feeding your baby. While we learn much of this on the go, there are some aspects of bottle-feeding we MUST guard against right from the beginning.

1. Not Being Flexible About the Frequency of Feeds

The first consideration we have regarding bottle-feeding is the frequency of the feeds. How often does a baby need to be fed through the bottle? As per doctors, it is always better to maintain a flexible feeding schedule. It means you need to feed your baby as and when your baby is hungry, and not according to a schedule set in stone.

Babies and their hunger do not follow as simple a pattern as that of adults, and flexibility is important to ensure their needs are being met. You might take a month or two to settle down, and then you might see a routine emerging for timing the feeds. Until then, be flexible with the time of feeding. If your baby shows signs of fullness, then it is better to delay feeding for a while and then try again.

2. Not Keeping Bottles Clean Enough

It goes without saying that a mother is extremely cautious about hygiene and cleanliness when it comes to her baby. However, sometimes, it can be hard to figure out how clean is clean enough. As a rule, sterilizing the feeding bottles, rings, and nipples is a must every time before you bottle-feed your baby. Before using the bottle the first time, you must sterilize it in a pot of boiling water for about an hour. Alternatively, you can invest in a good sterilizer. After that, you should let it dry and wipe it with a clean, dry towel. After feeding, wash the bottle generously. Do not use harsh detergents or chemicals for cleaning it.

3. Not Choosing the Right Feeding Position(s)

The next important consideration about bottle-feeding is the feeding positions. Here, you need to remember one important thing all the time: do not try to feed the baby in a sleeping position. Your baby will probably spill out most of the milk, as this does not make an ideal position for feeding the baby. In addition, the milk may flow into the mid-ear canal, leading to an infection in future. Always keep the baby’s head in an elevated position to help him drink the milk comfortably.

4. Not Burping the Baby After Bottle-Feeding

Burping your baby after feeding is important – every time. After feeding, your baby may be getting too cranky and fussy as he swallows air while feeding. This makes him quite uncomfortable and also can lead to long crying spells. This condition is more common in bottle-fed babies than in breastfed ones. So, to avoid such a situation, burp him frequently. You can make him burp in the following ways:

  • Put the baby over the shoulder. Hold him close to your chest, looking over your shoulder and rub or pat his back gently.
  • Put him on the lap. Make your newborn sit in an upright position and make his weight lean forward against your hand’s heel. Now gently rub or pat his back.
  • Lay him down. Put him in a stomach-down position on your lap and pat or rub his back.

5. Mixing Breast Milk and Formula Milk

This is a strict no! Paediatricians do not recommend that you mix formula and breastmilk, as doing this can seriously mess up the composition of your baby’s feed. It may also lead to problems in digestion. It is advisable to stick to one milk during one feed. However, you may be able to alternate between the two during different feeds of the day. If in doubt, please consult with your paediatrician and follow her instructions.

6. Heating Formula Milk

Microwaving formula or overheating it on the stove can create hot spots that scald your baby’s mouth. Always test the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist to ensure it’s just right before feeding.

7. Not Knowing About the Milk Flow

Nipple flows come in different rates, and using the wrong flow can lead to issues. If the flow is too fast, your baby might choke; if it’s too slow, they might become frustrated. Choose a flow that matches your baby’s age and feeding pace.

8. Excess Water in Formula

Sometimes, baby formula can go over the budget. In this, many parents dilute the formula to compete with the grocery budget; however, skimping down on the baby’s nutrition is not an ideal decision. The bay formula should be mixed and diluted as per the instructions mentioned on every packaging of the product.

9. Preparing Formula Batches Early On

Sure, if you are busy and are on the trail, you would want to save time to prepare and keep everything handy, right from diapers to formula milk. However, preparing extra batches way too early can make it unsafe for consumption. Baby formula should either be made fresh (one feed at a time) or consumed within two hours of room temperature. Keeping fresh formula in the refrigerator for 24 hours can be safe for consumption. However, if the formula is half consumed, then it should be discarded within 1 hour of serving the baby.

2 Important Cautionary Tips to Remember

1. Pick the Right Kind of Bottle

It is important you pick the right kind of bottle for bottle-feeding your baby. The bottle should not be too big or too small. It should have a good grip. It should be easy to clean. It should also be made of safe, non-reactive material that will not adversely react with the formula milk and spoil it, nor react with your baby’s tender, soft and delicate skin.

2. Buy the Right Kind of Formula Milk

Different formula milk brands will offer you different things. Your baby may like the taste of a particular brand more than that of another. He may find a particular one easier to digest. On the other hand, practical considerations like shelf life, quantity of packaging, and ease of storage may affect your buying preference.


1. How long should I bottle-feed my baby?

You can start bottle-feeding your baby from six months onwards and continue it till 12 months of age when they are ready to eat solids pretty easily.

2. Can I reuse a bottle without washing it between feedings?

No, it’s important to thoroughly wash and sterilise bottles before each use to prevent bacteria buildup.

3. How can I tell if the nipple flow is suitable for my baby?

Pay attention to your baby’s feeding pace. If they’re gulping or struggling, the flow might be too fast. If they seem frustrated or disinterested, the flow might be too slow. Choose a flow that matches their age and needs.

Bottle feeding can be tricky and might require some effort on your part. Whether it is a newborn with wrong bottle feeding positions or microwaved formula, bottle-feeding mistakes should not be taken lightly, and feeding must be done with dedication and awareness. It is not necessarily an ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ process, and your baby needs to be taught to do it (unlike breastfeeding, where you can trust your and your baby’s instincts to take care of the majority of it. However, a little bit of practice and patience will make it much better! Good luck!


1. Bottle-feeding babies: giving the bottle; raisingchildren.net.au; https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/breastfeeding-bottle-feeding/bottle-feeding/giving-the-bottle

2. Feeding From a Bottle; CDC; https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/bottle-feeding/index.html

3. Infant Formula: Safety Do’s and Don’ts; CDC; https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/infant-formula-safety-dos-and-donts

4. Bottlefeeding; HSC; https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/sites/default/files/2019-03/Bottlefeeding_Jan_2019%20draft2.pdf

5. How to Sterilize and Warm Baby Bottles Safely; American Academy of Pediatricians; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/formula-feeding/Pages/How-to-Sterilize-and-Warm-Baby-Bottles-Safely.aspx

6. How to Clean, Sanitize, and Store Infant Feeding Items; CDC; https://www.cdc.gov/hygiene/childcare/clean-sanitize.html#Sanitizing

Also Read:

Choosing the Right Bottle for your Baby
Dangers of Bottle Feeding Your Baby in Bed
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding

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