Many mothers have heard the above statement. The answer is yes, bottle-feeding can cause ear infections for your baby. Here are the reasons why and how you can prevent it.
There is also an old-wives-tale that says a baby will get ear infections if the baby is breastfed whilst lying down. This is not true; in fact breastfeeding actually reduces the risk of a baby getting ear infection over that of bottle-feeding.
Ear infection from feeding usually comes about by milk flowing into the baby’s ear, where the warmth of the ear combined with the wetness and sugar of the milk provide a perfect breeding ground for germs. This is true for both breast milk and formula milk. However the mother’s nipple is wonderfully designed, so that milk will only flow when the baby sucks. Thus, there is less chance of breast milk running down into the child’s ear during feeding. Bottle nipples, however, aren’t so well designed, and it is quite easy for milk to leak out of the nipple even when the child has stopped sucking. This is what makes ear infections more prevalent in formula fed babies rather than those fed on breast milk; it has nothing to do with the milk but everything to do with the mechanics.
Therefore, if you are feeding your baby formula milk you must pay a little more attention to prevent ear infection. First thing to be aware of is that formula milk, unlike breast milk, is a foreign substance and usually contains higher level of sugar; remember warmth, dampness and sugar are what germs thrive on. Also, even when feeding baby in a sitting position, it is still possible for milk to find its way into the baby’s ear, so get a look out for this. Most importantly, never leave the bottle in the baby’s mouth over long periods of time, allowing the baby to feed itself. This is a practice that is often done by some mothers when putting baby to bed. You’re your baby is unsupervised; it is quite easy for milk to enter the ear. This habit, can also lead to something called bottle-feed tooth decay. Finally, it is important to remember that you must be more careful against infection when you bottle-feed. Breast milk is packed full of mother’s own antibodies: formula milk has none of these. And, it is these antibodies that help your baby to ward off infection.
Bottle-feeding is not the only thing that can cause ear infection. Other causes are exposure to cigarette smoke, allergies, using a pacifier, being in a day care center and, so being in close proximity to other children who may have ear infections. Like most aspect of responsible parenting, it is just a matter of being aware of the dangers.
It is universally accepted that breastfeeding is the best option for babies. But if you've decided - for whatever reasons - to bottle feed your baby, then get on with it and don't feel guilty about your decision. Here are some tips on bottle feeding.
There are many reasons why a mother decides to bottle feed. Here are some of the more common reason why a mother bottle feeds rather than breastfeed her.
1. The mother does not wish to breastfeed. This could be for all sorts of reasons such as, emotional reasons, social reasons, or many other reasons. Whatever your decision, remember: it's your decision, so stick to it and don't pay any heed to what others may say: bottle feeding does not make you a bad mother; breastfeeding does not make you a good mother. 2. Some babies are not able to breastfeeding due to illness or because of a congenital condition such as being allergic to the mother's milk. 3. The mother may be ill and cannot produce enough breast milk. 4. The mother is going back to work and her workplace does not provide facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk. Sadly, this is all too common. 5. The baby may be adopted and the mother may not be lactating.
What equipment do you need for bottle feeding?
Make no mistake; bottle feeding is not a cheap option. You'll need all of the following.
1. Plastic bottles. 2. Nipples - these will wear out and need replacing 3. A bottle sterilizer. A top of the range sterilizer can be rather expensive. 4. The infant milk formula. Choosing which one is often a confusing business.
What baby infant formula milk to use?
1. First off, never feed your child cow's milk - or any other natural milk. Feed your baby an infant milk formula. Any brand is acceptable, as all pass certain standards as set by all government agencies. The following are the main types of formula milk you can buy.
2. Standard infant artificial formula - look out for the label stating: 'suitable from birth'. This formula milk is for babies up to 12 months of age. Standard infant artificial formula is usually cow's milk based, but may be soy or goat's milk based. Soy may be preferred by vegan mothers or if the baby cannot tolerate cow's milk protein. However, unless there are compelling reasons against using cow's milk based artificial formula, it is the recommended choice. 3. Follow-on infant artificial formula - the label will say something like: 'suitable only for babies over six months. This is for babies' over 6 months of age - never give your new born this type of milk. 4. Thickened artificial formula - is sometimes recommended for babies who frequently 'posset' or regurgitate large amounts after feeding - this is often called reflux. The idea of thickened formula is that it settles more in the stomach and therefore stays there! However, thickened artificial formula does not always solve the problem. You should consult your doctor before using this type of milk formula. 5. Premature infant artificial formula - is specifically designed for the nutritional needs of a premature baby. Only use this type of formula after medical consultation and it is not suitable for healthy term babies.
How to Bottle Feed a Baby?
1. Always test the temperature of the milk before feeding. The old traditional method of sprinkling a few drops on the under-side of your wrist is still the best method. It should feel slightly warm but never hot. 2. Make sure you are sitting comfortably when you feed your child. Your baby can take some time to finish and a crotchety mother will upset a child. 3. Your baby should be held in a semi-reclining position with their head slight tilted back. 4. Try not to force the nipple into your baby's mouth. Instead, do what breastfeeding mothers are taught to do: stimulate your baby to accept the nipple by gently touching her lips with the nipple. 5. During the feed, make sure that air bubbles are flowing into the bottle, replacing the milk that is drunk. If you can't see any air bubbles, while she's feeding, slowly loosen the nipple ring (the part that attaches the nipple to the bottle) until you can see bubbles. Take care not to loosen it too much, as this will cause the milk to leak all over him. 6. Take your time; allow for 'pit stops'. During these times, gently rub your child's back to stimulate burping.
If you decide to bottle feed, then learn by paying close attention to your baby. By doing so, you will learn all the subtle signals that your baby gives out, making feeding time a beautiful and emotionally rewarding time for the both of you.
The presence of thrush in a baby's mouth can be painful for the baby and very upsetting for parents. Babies who are bottle-fed are more likely to develop thrush than those who are exclusively breastfeed. However, steps can be taken to lessen the risk of thrush developing, and treatment is quite easy.
Thrush, or oral pseudomembranous candidiasis, is a superficial yeast infection that is found in about 5% of healthy newborns. Babies usually acquire the yeast from their mothers during passage through the birth canal. You can tell whether or not your child has thrush by looking out for the telltale white patches that can be found of the inside of the cheeks, lips, palate and tongue. Many mothers who bottle-feed their baby often mistake milk residue found on the tongue for thrush. If the tongue is uniformly white, this isn't thrush. The patches of thrush are often described as curd-like. Unlike milk residue, they adhere to the underlying tissue. You can also, test for thrush, by gently touching a patch with a gauze-covered finger. If it is thrush, it probably won't come off very easily, but if it does, you'll find a raw, red area underneath that may bleed. Thrush lesions can be painful and when bottle-fed a child can become fussy and squirm.
Why are bottle-fed babies more susceptible to thrush?
Many babies have thrush, but it is a self-limited condition; it goes away all by itself, without anyone ever knowing the baby had thrush in the first place. However, certain changes in baby or its environment can cause the thrush to be exacerbated. Antibiotics or stress can be to blame. Bottle-feeding often causes thrush because the lining of the mouth becomes abraded with prolonged sucking, such as babies who sleep with a bottle or pacifier - babies who are breastfed don't go to sleep at night still sucking at their mother's breast, unfortunately, many bottle-fed babies do go to sleep sucking on a bottle. Also, dirty nipples and pacifiers can harbour the yeast infection.
How to treat thrush?
First off, prevention is better than cure. Babies should not be put to bed while still sucking the nipple of a bottle. Avoid letting your child suck on a pacifier for long periods of time. Make sure all nipples and pacifiers are washed thoroughly and sterilized.
In most case thrush will disappear all by itself and the only treatment required is to alleviate oral discomfort or to treat (or prevent) painful yeast diaper rashes. You can use an antifungal medicine such as Nystatin suspension. This can be applied, directly to the plaques with a cotton-tipped applicator, or given orally 1-2ml four times daily. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. An old-fashioned, and still affective treatment of baby thrush is baking soda. Use a cotton-tipped bud dipped into a mixture of one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda and one or two drops of mild liquid detergent (without ammonia or bleach) mixed in a glass of warm water. Apply the mixture gently to the affected areas.
If symptoms persist or you have any concerns, seek medical help.
Babies who fuss during bottle-feeding, can do so for many reasons. If your baby is fussy when being fed formula, it's worth checking to see if your child has thrush. If your child does have thrush, you need not change milk formula. Just apply a treatment as described above and the thrush should disappear in a matter of weeks.