Feeding newborn babies is a special time for parents. While some are exclusively breastfed and fathers do not get to participate in feeding little ones until they are able to take a bottle, there are others who have the opportunity from day one to feed their newborns.
And when this is the case, dads may feel like fish out of water trying to take care of their newborns who are so very small. But with a few tips and tricks, dads will be feeding their newborns like pros in no time.
Regardless of whether fathers are able to bottle-feed their newborns, there are ways that they can connect with them. Be it getting up in the middle of the night to rock babies back to sleep after they have nursed, reading newborns stories before bedtime, helping with bath time, and of course, snuggling, there are ample ways for dads to build a connection with their newborns.
But for those who get to feed their bundles of joy bottles, it is an experience like no other. And while it can be nerve-wracking the first few times, after they get the hang of it, it becomes a favorite way to spend time with little ones.
Here are some tips and tricks for dads when feeding newborns.
10 Make Milk The Right Temperature
When it comes to finding the right temperature for breast milk, dads are looking to warm the bottles to 98.6 F. But because they are not likely standing there with a thermometer, fathers need an easy way to tell that they have reached the right temperature. And an easy way to do this is to test the milk on the wrist.
According to Parents, babies should never be given a bottle without the temperature being checked. Dads simply need to apply a few drops to their wrist. If it feels like nothing, then the milk is ready. However, if it feels hot, bottles should cool down before being given to little ones.
9 Sterilize Bottles Well Before Needed So They Are Ready To Go
There is nothing worse than having a screaming baby in the middle of the night because they are hungry. This is unless bottles have to be sterilized before babies can be fed. As such, bottles should be sterilized before use at night so that there is not only milk available but bottles to put it in.
8 Know How Long Breast Milk Or Formula Can Stay Out For
When it comes to how long breast milk can be left out, that is likely information that dads of newborns are not privy to. As such, getting an answer will help them gauge if milk can still be offered or if it needs to be tossed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, breast milk can remain out for four hours before it has gone bad. Therefore, dads have a little time when feeding to get little ones to take a bottle without stress making for a great bonding experience.
7 Keep Extra Clothes Handy
When bottle-feeding newborns, there is no telling if dads will make it through the situation without getting spit up on or if new clothes will be necessary. As such, having some spare clothes nearby is helpful so that when feeding in the middle of the night, moms are not disturbed by dads looking for clean clothes. And, dads do not have to stay in milk-stained clothes, which get smelly very quickly.
6 Know The Signs When Baby Is Hungry
As dads feed their newborns more often, they will begin to get used to the cues for hunger that babies exhibit.
According to WIC Breastfeeding Supportcues that can clue in parents that babies are hungry include:
Chewing on the fist
Head moving back and forth
Opening and closing the mouth
Babies will display some or all of these hunger cues. And the quicker that dads pick up on them, the happier babies will be.
5 Hold Baby Close When Feeding
Just because dads are not the ones breastfeeding babies does not mean that they should not hold babies close while bottle feeding them. This is because there are benefits to doing this for the relationship between newborns and dads.
According to Mylicon, when dads keep babies close to the body, it helps with bonding. It also makes babies calmer, keeps them warm, and makes their breathing steady. And if this is done while holding babies skin-to-skin, per the publication, even better still.
4 Pause A Few Times While Feeding
When breastfeeding, babies will naturally take breaks to catch their breath and to assess how hungry they are. With a bottle, however, the milk just keeps coming. Because of this, newborns may not pay attention to how full they are.
But if dads pause a few times while feeding, via the paced bottle-feeding method, babies are less likely to overeat, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. And this means that babies may be less prone to spitting up or stomach aches as a result.
3 Have A Go-To Show Ready To Watch In The Middle Of The Night
Getting up with newborns in the middle of the night means that there is no telling if babies will eat and go back to sleep or if they will need to be rocked for a while after. But, when dads have a favorite show lined up and ready to go, they can remain entertained while caring for newborns, allowing moms to get some much-needed sleep.
2 Pass On The Caffeine For Nighttime Feedings
At night, it can be tempting to have some coffee, tea, or soda to help stay away from pure exhaustion. But if this happens, then dads may find that they have a hard time getting back to sleep after feeding newborns.
Therefore, the best bet is to steer clear of caffeine and opt for juice, water, or another caffeine-free beverage instead to get as many z’s as possible when caring for a newborn.
1 Be Calm & Enjoy Time With Baby
According to First Things First, babies have the ability to pick up on their parents’ emotions, both positive and negative. As such, the more relaxed dads are doing a feeding session, the easier it is likely to go.
It may be an overwhelming experience to begin with, but if dads can just be calm and enjoy their time with their newborns, feeding them will be a bonding time that they will never forget.
Source: Parents, Center for Disese Control, WIC Breastfeeding Support, Mylicon, Minnesota Department of Health, First Things First