You may not have the boobs in the family, but dads can feed their bubs on a bottle just as well as mums.
I’m going to be honest. While it’s a truly unique experience and unparalleled way for dad to bond with baby, bottle feeding can also be a royal pain in the arse, especially in the late night hours.
So here is a big old bottle of reality, heated to a safe temperature, for your optimum reading pleasure.
Finding the damn bottle
Buying the right bottle is the same as shopping for any of the million other things you need but would prefer not to have to shell out for. Start with the cheaper bottles from Coles or Woolworths and then get progressively more expensive as your baby decides that you being a tight-arse is not in their best interests.
Bottles from the supermarkets can cost as little as $10. This is a great thing if baby takes to them. Otherwise, like me, you could find yourself shelling out upwards of $50 for fancy-pants soft silicone bottles which are meant to mimic the feel of the breast (this is not as exciting as it sounds).
Fabulous for baby but not ideal for you. You will lose them and have a minor heart attack every time you have to pay for another.
Getting the temp right
No baby likes cold milk. Even in summer, room temperature is better than cold. Fussy little …
Anyway, you have options. Automatic drivers will prefer the bottle warmer. Milk in bottle, bottle in warmer, press the button and wait for the beep – unless you don’t want to spend the $80+ it will cost for a half decent warmer. Or if like my son’s, your bottle is silicone, it’ll warm up as quickly as a 1978 BMW 3 Series. Fun times.
Your other option is to plonk the bottle in a bowl of warm water. This takes a while to heat but it’s predictable and works on all types of bottles. And it’s free.
Don’t forget to swirl the milk to get rid of hot spots. If the milk is too hot, bub will still try to drink it but will likely come off after every sip. Don’t force it. Fridge for a few minutes, or a splash of cold pre-boiled water, will do the job.
Feeling the flow
Flow is a tricky thing. Different teats have different flows and while you will obviously start with the lowest flow when your baby is a newborn, knowing when to move up to a faster one is tricky and messy. Sorry, but it’s just trial and error here.
It is likely that bub will look like a really rubbish contestant in an eating competition for a while. It all goes roughly towards the mouth, some of it in, some of it out, and then some that went in comes out again. Don’t wear your crisp white business shirt from Mr Lauren while you do this! Milk is nowhere near as white as you think it is.
Tips for the night shifts
Your partner needs some uninterrupted sleep too, (for her sanity and yours) so you’ll need to do your fair share of the graveyard shifts. Grab a few things before you sit down for a late night feed. You’ll need:
- A bib. Any old $2 bit from the supermarket, o if you can’t find one, just use a paper towel or clean hand/tea-towel.
- A big screen TV and a subscription to the Foxtel Sports package ($25 on top of the basic package). You will be amazed at the depth and variety of sports coverage on at 2 am.
- If you prefer consuming late night content on your phone, switch it to night mode, the warmer hues reduce eye strain and make it easier to get back to sleep when you return to bed.
How to switch your iPhone to night mode
Remember, if you’re comfortable, baby is comfortable. They can smell stress like a fox .
Bottle feeding is messy, frustrating and finicky – but it’s also one of the most intimate experiences you’ll ever have with another human being. Trust me, you’ll never feel more needed than when junior is in your arms drinking and gazing into your eyes. So just make sure you look at your baby’s face during the ad breaks or while YouTube is buffering, and don’t forget to burp your child.