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Bottle Feeding

Is it necessary to sterilize bottles?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sterilization is no longer necessary as long as your water comes from a municipal water supply (as opposed to a well) and you use a dishwasher. Some formula manufacturers do continue to recommend that you boil water for about a minute before mixing it with powder and concentrate, especially for younger babies. You should check with your pediatrician to get specific information on preparing formula for your baby.

What's the best way to warm a bottle? Is it necessary?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the best way to warm formula is to place the filled bottle in a bowl or pan of hot water and let it stand for a few minutes. If you hear your baby starting to stir, you can take a prepared bottle out of the refrigerator and start to warm it. Then, by the time you are ready to feed your baby, the milk is ready. Shake the bottle after warming it to distribute the warmed milk evenly. Then turn it upside down and allow a drop or two of the formula to fall on your hand. It should feel comfortable, barely warm. However, there's no health reason to feed a baby warmed milk or formula (though your baby may prefer it). Indeed, if your baby is accustomed to drinking bottles at room temperature or slightly cold, you save yourself the time and hassle of preheating bottles, especially when the baby is crying to be fed right away. You should not use a microwave to heat a bottle of breast milk or formula. Microwave ovens can heat unevenly, and create "hot spots" that can burn your baby.

Which bottles are better for my baby, glass or plastic?

Plastic or glass, colored or clear, washable or disposable liner – it’s really up to you. Of course, the bottle that is the best is the one your baby prefers. In the first few weeks of bottle use, be prepared to try a variety of shapes and materials to find one that is suitable. In a few months, be prepared to switch again when your child is old enough to hold the bottle.

There really is no "best" bottle overall. Take note, however, that once your baby gets older, he or she may tip, drop or throw the bottle – so plastic may be a better choice. Additionally, you may hear stories that glass bottles get too hot or plastic bottles leak dangerous amounts of harmful chemicals into the formula. Rest assured, there are no facts to support these claims.

Will using a bottle damage my child’s dental health?

So-called "Baby Bottle Tooth Decay" can develop if your child's teeth and gums are in prolonged contact with almost any liquid other than water. This can happen from putting your baby or child to bed with a bottle of formula, milk, juice, soft drinks, sugar water, sugared drinks, etc. Allowing your baby to suck on a bottle for longer than a mealtime, either when awake or asleep, can also cause Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. This is a costly condition to treat and, if left untreated, can quickly destroy the teeth involved. It can also lead to pain, infection, early loss of baby teeth, and an increased risk of decay in permanent teeth. If your child occasionally needs to be soothed orally, provide a small bottle with plain water or a sucking aid such as a pacifier.

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