Bottle feeding

There are a few important guidelines to remember when feeding your baby using bottles, using expressed breast milk or infant formula.

At Kingston we have a high breastfeeding initiation rate and recognise that breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding in most circumstances. To protect this we request that women choosing to formula feed bring in their own ready-made stage 1 formula. Kingston Maternity no longer provides formula. The hospital will provide single use sterile bottles and teats as we do not have the facilities to sterilise on site.

Cartons/bottles of ready-made formula will be labelled with name date and time opened and kept in a milk fridge located on the postnatal area. The amount needed can be decanted into the sterile bottle at each feed and the remainder can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

All women will be given support to feed their babies safely and effectively.

Which Milk?

There are different types of milk on the market (e.g first milk, follow on milk etc).  If you have chosen to formula feed, newborn babies need to be fed first milk as it is easier to digest and they could become ill if fed with milk intended for older babies. Your baby can stay on first milk throughout the first year, there is no need to change if this milk suits your baby. There is no independent evidence that any company’s milk is better for your baby, therefore it is fine to choose the cheapest if this is what you wish to do. Please visit the First Steps Nutrition website for good, evidence based, unbiased information on infant milks

Which amount?

Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on the amount to make up, but it is important to remember that your baby will not necessarily finish every bottle.  Newborn babies take quite small volumes to begin, by the end of the first week your baby will ask for approximately 150-200mls for each kilogram they weigh each day, although this will vary from baby to baby.  Over feeding can lead to obesity later on and increase the possibilities of vomiting so don’t feel he needs to finish the bottle if he doesn’t seem to want to. Unused formula milk needs to be thrown away within 2 hours of being reconstituted.

Responsive Bottle Feeding

Your relationship with your baby will be helped if you are supported to tune in to your baby’s feeding cues and you hold your baby close during feeds. Offering the bottle in response to feeding cues, gently inviting your baby to take the teat, pacing the feeds and avoiding forcing your baby to finish the feed can all help to make the experience as acceptable and stress-free for your baby as possible, as well as reducing the risk of overfeeding.

Although the concept of having other people feed your baby can often be a reason to choose to bottle feed, your baby might feel anxious or confused if lots of different people are involved with feeding them. We support parents to give most of the feeds themselves (particularly in the early days and weeks), this will help you to build a close and loving relationship with your baby and help baby to feel safe and secure.

Other methods to calm and soothe your  baby, in the absence of breastfeeding such as cuddling, using skin-to-skin contact and generally responding in a timely and appropriate way to their baby’s needs for love and attention will enhance parent-infant attachment.

For more information on building a loving relationship with your baby and giving them the best possible start in life, read Unicef’s relationship building resources.

More information and tips… 

Tell us how we are doing we'd love to have your opinion