When baby comes along, dads can often feel left out. Tasks such as changing and feeding baby are often carried out by the mom. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but the reason many dads are left out of the process is because they’re anxious.
Taking care of a newborn is daunting. Suddenly, you have this little person who is reliant on you to take care of their every need. This can understandably make you nervous of carrying out certain tasks such as feeding. However, feeding baby doesn’t just make you feel a little more useful, it also gives you a great chance to bond with your little one.
If you’re nervous about helping out with the feeds, here you’ll discover 10 baby feeding tips for dads.
1. Be Confident
This is harder than it sounds, especially if it’s your first time feeding baby. However, it’s really important you at least act confident, even if you’re not feeling it on the inside!
The thing is, babies pick up on tension and stress. So, if they sense you’re feeling anxious, they’ll be less likely to want to feed. So, if you’ve had trouble getting baby to actually take the bottle from you, it could be to do with how confident you feel while you’re attempting to feed them.
2. Never Warm The Milk In The Microwave
This is actually something a lot of parents do, but it can be potentially dangerous. Microwaves don’t always heat things up evenly. So, your baby’s bottle could end up with milk which is hot in some places and cold in others.
Not only does this increase the chance of burning your baby’s mouth, but it can also cause painful digestive troubles too. A good tip for safely warming up baby’s milk, is to fill a bowl with warm water and then place the bottle in it until you can feel the milk has warmed up. The water should be cool enough to the touch, but hot enough to warm up the bottle.
3. Wear Old Clothing
When you’re feeding baby, there’s a high chance you’ll end up with either milk or vomit all over you. So, it goes without saying you should always wear old clothes when it comes to feed time. Never attempt to feed baby in your crisp, clean work suit!
4. Hold Baby Close To You
When baby is feeding from mom, they’re typically touching the skin. This skin-to-skin contact is how mother and baby bond in the early days. So, they’ll be used to feeling close to the person doing the feeding.
Hold baby as close to you as you can as this will help to make them feel safe and comfortable. If you still have problems and they won’t settle down enough to feed, you may find swaddling a good option. You can find videos on YouTube which show you exactly how to swaddle a baby if you’re unsure. It can really help to calm and help baby to feel secure.
5. Ensure They Are Latching On Correctly
If you are having trouble feeding your little one, it could be an issue with how they’re latching on. It’s worth noting here that even moms have trouble getting baby to properly latch on, so it’s not necessarily a problem with you.
The main thing to remember is that you’ll want to try and guide the bottle gently into your baby’s mouth, but not under the tongue. Once the bottle is in your baby’s mouth, you can also try pushing their lower lip up a little to help them get the perfect latch.
6. Don’t Forget To Burp Baby
One of the most important things to remember when feeding baby is burping. It may not sound very pleasant, but burping ensures your little one won’t get stuck with painful trapped gas.
There’s a lot of different burping methods you can try out and it may take a little practice. However, men generally find it easier to burp babies than women due to their naturally firmer approach. Don’t be surprised if a little vomit comes up when you’re burping baby, it’s totally normal and not usually anything to be concerned about.
7. Always Ensure Baby Is Wearing A Bib
Unless you want to spend a lot of time cleaning up both you and baby, it’s a good idea to ensure they’re wearing a bib. This will catch any milk and vomit they may spit up during the feed. You can also use it to wipe their mouth afterwards too.
A bib can save you so much mess and hassle! We happen to offer our own line of baby bibs, which you can view by clicking here!
8. Take It In Turns
Ideally, you’ll want to start feeding baby as early as possible. Don’t see it as something you do only when mom isn’t around. Instead, take it in turns to feed them. That way, you’ll get the hang of feeding much quicker and you’ll also be giving mom a break too – something which will definitely score you a few brownie points!
Obviously if you work it’s going to be difficult to alternate the feeds. However, if this is the case you can always alternate the night feeds.
9. Don’t Make Feeds In Advance
It’s really important not to make up bottles of milk in advance. The milk can actually start to go bad, even within an hour or two of being prepared. Bacteria build-up can then cause your baby to become pretty ill. So, always make up a bottle only when it’s needed.
10. Don’t Force Baby To Drink It All
It’s important to realize that your baby won’t necessarily finish the bottle in one sitting. They may not be hungry, or they may be feeling tired or a little fussy. If they don’t want to finish the bottle, don’t force them to. If you do, they’ll end up vomiting all over both you and themselves.
Overall, it can be daunting feeding baby for the first time. However, you need to remember that it was new to mom too! The only way to really learn is to do it. The above 10 tips will really help, but it is advised you ask your partner, pediatrician or do your research to discover the best feeding methods.