When it comes to bottle-feeding, we’ve heard a ton of bad advice ranging from not-so-good to worst. Maybe you have even heard the following advice and wondered “is this for real?” Well, breathe a sigh of relief because most of the advice that’s ruffled your feathers has done so for good reason - your intuition was spot on. There’s no need to overthink bottle-feeding. Ahead we’ll detail the worst advice we’ve heard on bottle-feeding and we’ll set it straight.
It’ll disrupt or ruin breastfeeding
A lot of people think, especially if they are breastfeeding or intend to combination feed, that beginning bottle-feeding will disrupt or otherwise ruin a breastfeeding relationship. This is simply not true. In fact, for many people, the ability to use a bottle saves their breastfeeding journey! Furthermore, babies are tiny humans, and as such, are able to adapt and demonstrate resilience. While it may be a challenge to switch at first, this is a huge maybe and if it does happen, babies learn to eat from both the breast and the bottle. Most infants and toddlers are able to successfully eat from both without giving their parents too much grief!
Babies don’t have a bottle preference
Oh, how laughable! Again, babies are people. They have preferences! They learn what they like and they actively try to communicate what those likes are. Because of this belief, many new parents heed the advice of their parents and grandparents who say to just “grab a bunch of the same bottle” because options were limited back in the day. This is not the best strategy because you don’t want to get stuck with a thousand of the same bottle that neither you nor your baby like. So, more sage advice? Try a few bottles from different brands. See how your baby reacts to each bottle. Do they eat comfortably without sputtering or without tiring out? Do they seem satiated afterward? And consider your preferences too! Are they easy to clean and hold?
It messes up the baby’s jaw or palette
Another seed of advice that is totally inaccurate is that bottles and pacifiers damage the baby’s palette. This stems from a truth taken out of context. Bottles and pacifiers, or any other artificial nipple do not inherently cause damage to the baby’s soft palette, jaw, or mouth; however, extended use as the baby grows into a preschooler could have negative ramifications if the child is already predisposed to orthodontic issues. Even then, a new parent shouldn’t feel like they can’t feed their baby with bottles because of a future possibility that can be easily corrected. This advice is more damaging than any potential change to a baby’s mouth!
You don’t have to sanitize bottles
Lastly, this bit of advice is wrong and potentially dangerous. Bottles should be routinely sanitized according to manufacturer instructions. This usually involves a solution of properly diluted bleach water and/or using the sanitizing steam cycle on the dishwasher. Regular sanitation is important for a number of reasons, including but not limited to the following: bottles have crevices that easily harbor bacteria, babies are often sick even without symptoms; formula and breastmilk spoil quickly and can leave contaminants, and others. Therefore, ensure that bottles are thoroughly cleaned.
Relax in the knowledge that bottle-feeding is a commendable choice and a viable option to ensure your baby’s nourishment and sustained health, even if the bad advice pervades the interwebs. Bottle-feeding will not ruin your baby’s mouth or complicate breastfeeding, you do have to sanitize their bottles, and your baby will have their favorites - so don’t invest in a singular brand!