Bottle Feeding FAQ
Are plastic baby bottles and formula cans safe?
The linings of formula cans and polycarbonate (a type of plastic) baby bottles contain the chemical bisphenol A (or BPA), which has been shown to possibly cause behavioral changes in babies and could contribute to the early onset of puberty in girls. The best way to protect your baby is not to buy polycarbonate bottles or cups, or if you do use them, never microwave them. You should also use powdered rather than liquid formula, as The Environmental Working Group has shown through studies that liquid formula from a metal can contained up to 20 times as much BPA as powdered formula.
How do I know which bottle nipple is best for my baby?
The best one is the one that fits best in your baby’s mouth. Most babies will accept whichever one is given to them, so it shouldn’t be too large a concern.
There are three basic types of nipples you can choose from:
- Orthodontic, a flattened nipple made to look and feel more like your breast
- Angled, a slanted nipple that automatically tilts into baby’s mouth
- Vented, a nipple with a tiny hole to let air into the bottle while your baby sucks milk (may help with gas prevention)
Is it bad for my baby’s teeth if I let her fall asleep with a bottle in her mouth?
Yes, it is. If baby falls asleep with a bottle, the liquid pools around her little teeth as she sleeps and can lead to cavities.
There are certain bacteria in your baby’s mouth that change the sugars in breast milk, formula and juice into acids that can dissolve tooth enamel.
When can my baby hold his own bottle?
Some babies start as soon as 6 months if they have highly developed motor skills. For others it may take a little longer, more like 10 months. Want to see if baby is ready? Hand them one and see what happens. If they can hold the bottle, put it in their mouth, drink, and know to take out when they’re full, baby is ready!
Remember, never prop a bottle or cup in baby’s mouth.
When should I stop giving my baby a bedtime bottle?
Anywhere between 6-9 months. Because babies are such great self-regulators, most will let you know when they are ready to stop the last feeding of the day. Bedtime bottles can lead to tooth decay and can make it harder for your child to learn to fall asleep on his or her own. A bedtime bottle can still be used once in awhile but should be eliminated completely by 12-18 months.
When should I transition my formula-fed baby from a bottle to a cup?
Babies can start trying a cup as soon as they show interest and can hold it themselves. Most often this is around 7-9 months, but for some babies it is as early as 5-6 months. More tips on switching to the sippy cup:
- Choosing the right sippy cup for your little love should be a decision made with comfort, ease and safety in mind. There are just as many options for sippy cups as for bottles or nipples. You may need to try a few before finding the best for you and baby. Some children prefer handles, where others don’t. You’ll also want to take into consideration BPA warnings and whether plastic, stainless steel or glass is right for you and baby.
- Sippy cups will come in handy for milk, water and fruit juices. At first, baby should stay away from citrus juice. Try apple, grape or peach. Doctors suggest diluting juices with water, to both help hydrate your wee one and to cut back on the sugars normally found in fruit juice.
Note: You do not want juice to replace breast milk, formula or, if baby is over 12 months, whole milk.