Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bonding with your Bottle-fed Baby

For some new parents, breastfeeding is simply not an option. While experts agree breastfeeding is the healthiest choice, when it's not an option, such as for adoptive parents and the 5% of new moms who physically cannot breastfeed their babies, feeding time can and should still be prime time for bonding with a baby.

Most research on infant feeding discusses the mother/baby relationship, but dads can play an important role too. One of the positive aspects of bottle-feeding, either with expressed breast milk or formula, is that both moms and dads can be involved in feeding their baby.

Experts recommend a number of ways for new parents to bond with their baby during feeding time. For example, babies should be cuddled while being fed. Give them a little wiggle room, but not too much. Babies need to be held firmly enough that they don't feel like they're falling. Likewise, hold a baby so that he or she can look into your face while eating.

Research has shown that if babies don't get their emotional needs met by being held and talked to during feeding, they are more likely to eat too much or too little. Never prop a bottle during feeding, as propping does not satisfy the baby's emotional needs and can lead to earache, choking, and tooth decay. But feeding time is not just about meeting the baby's nutritional and emotional needs. Some experts suggest that the health of the parent/child relationship is determined to a large extent by what happens at feeding time.

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