Bottle feeding is mostly used on infants that are either on infant formula or expressed breast milk. Once the infant is beyond six months it becomes a common sight in complementary feeding when giving milk or water.
The advantage of using bottle is that it’s easier since it’s equipped with a pacifier (artificial teat/dummy/soother) that mimics the nipple. These also includes cups with spouts or teats. These two are however not recommended as they pose certain risks to the child.
Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding
1. Once introduced, children have a difficult time learning good attachment during breast feeding and the mother may not able to identify well the satiety of the child during breast feeding.
2. It’s not easy to wash the bottle around the teat area making this site an ideal breeding ground for some harmful bacteria that may cause infection to the child e.g. a child may start to diarrhoea, vomiting or show other signs and symptoms of bacterial infection.
3. Exposing some of the plastic-made bottles to high heat may emit some dangerous chemical which can cause harm to the child’s health.
Benefits of Cup Feeding
Whether breastfeeding is out of the question or is still being done, using a cup or spoon is recommended over using bottles. Cup feeding is much friendly and safe for the following reasons:
1. It maintains contact between the mother and the child as it’s impossible for children to feed themselves this way.
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2. It doesn’t interfere at all with the suckling of the baby during normal breastfeeding. There is no “nipple confusion”.
3. Cleaning the cup is much easier since all the rim of the cup can be accessed with no difficulty. This drastically lessens the chances of infection.
While feeding with a spoon from a cup is acceptable, cup feeding is much easier. This is because spoon feeding takes more time and there is a likelihood that the child may not be satisfied.
How to cup feed a child?
The idea of cup feeding seems easy however much like breastfeeding, doing it properly is key for its success. To cup feed a child properly, take note of the following key points:
- Hold your baby well on your lap.
- The child can be upright or semi upright when feeding.
- You can hold the child hands to prevent him or her from knocking the cup.
- Rest the cup with the milk or formula lightly on the child’s lower lip ensuring the cup’s rim touches the upper lip.
- Angle the cup a bit to the lip so that the child is able to reach the milk.
- Your child will start suckling the milk from that cup.
- The child will close his/her mouth once he/she has had enough. If according to your measurements the feeding was not adequate and the child has simply refused, adjust accordingly either by feeding a little more next time or by increasing the frequency of feeds.
- Note: Don’t pour the milk into the child’s mouth.