“If you can’t do skin-to-skin every time, at least hold the baby very close and no propping the bottle, ever,” Gorecki said.
During bottle-feeding, hold the baby with his head up so that he won’t choke on or aspirate the formula.
Feed the baby on demand, not by the clock. Also, make sure the baby is really hungry, not just in need of comfort or play, before you try to feed her. She’ll let you know when she’s hungry by whimpering or bringing her hand up to her mouth or making sucking motions with her mouth.
“Make feeding a pleasant experience,” Gorecki said. “Calm the baby first if he’s really crying. Take time to burp him.”
If the baby is crying, but doesn’t seem to need feeding, bring him into bed and put him to your chest and pull up the blanket. Generally, he’ll calm right down.
Bonding With Baby
Janet Fox of Nashville, Tenn., bottle-fed her first baby, Sam, because breast-feeding was not going well. He was not gaining weight right away and a pediatrician suggested that she supplement breast-feedings with formula. Although Fox regrets her decision to put Sam on the bottle, she said that it has made not a difference in her bond with him.
“I feel totally bonded with Sam. We have a great relationship,” Fox said. “I don’t feel any less bonded to him than to his sister Molly”
“Bottle-feeding was a happy experience,” Fox said. “Other people besides me could feed him, which meant my husband could participate. Sometimes the grandmothers would come to work and feed him and it helped them feel more bonded with him.”
Sam never napped or required much sleep, so Fox spent hours reading to him when he was a baby, a toddler and beyond. Fox believes that books, more than breast or bottle, were the best bonding tools.