Baby Feeding

There are two ways to feed a baby - breast feeding and bottle feeding. Many experts will recommend breast feeding your baby if you can as this helps them build up their natural defences and gives them a better start in life. However, there are many times when women cannot breast feed for one reason or another and in this case bottle feeding the baby will probably work better.

Breast feeding a baby can be tricky to start with but with a little perseverance both you and your baby should settle into a rhythm quickly with no problems. You don't assess how much milk your baby is getting here as such and you will simply feed until your baby is full. Some mothers here will breast feed on demand whilst others will keep to a regular feeding routine. If you have problems or questions about breast feeding then your midwife, health visitor or a breast feeding counsellor from the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) will be able to help.

Bottle feeding involves a little more work as you will have to prepare bottles with a suitable milk formula and clean and sterilise them after use. However this can be an easy way to feed your baby when you are out and about if you are worried about breast feeding in public. And, of course, you can combine breast and bottle feeding by expressing breast milk for use in a bottle as you wish. Again, some women feed on demand here whilst others will stick to a routine. It is also important to make sure - if you are using formula milk - that you make it up correctly and in the right mix of milk to water.

By the time a baby reaches 4-6 months they will usually be ready to be weaned. This involves gradually reducing their breast or bottle milk intake and introducing foods into their diet. This will begin with specially designed soft foods such as baby rice and cereals and, as your child grows, will then change to suit their development until they are fully weaned.