Isn’t it good news when the best way of saving time is to relax and enjoy your baby? Time spent learning all about their individual personality helps you understand their needs more quickly.
Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, set up a comfortable place at home to do it in; both bottle and breastfeeding take time, and you need comfort.
Save time spent searching by keeping a range of essentials and treats all within easy reach. For example:
• a supply of muslins or tissues
• drinks and snacks
• the phone
• the TV remote
• books or magazines
• a potty and hand-sanitizer if you also have a toddler
If you’re breastfeeding, encouraging your baby to nurse at one breast for as long as they want before offering the other side will satisfy their appetite with creamy hind milk for longer. Relax if they feed little and often; this is totally normal for new babies.
Learning to breastfeed discreetly wherever you are saves time you might take to go home.
A top you can lift is easiest. A scarf or jacket can drape over your shoulder, and a bump band can cover your belly if necessary.
Bottle feeding tips
Bottle feeding – whether with formula or expressed breast milk – can take as long as breastfeeding.
If your baby is a slow or sleepy feeder, offer smaller feeds more frequently if tactics like face washing distress them or if they choke on a teat with a larger hole. Soon they’ll find it easier to stay awake and will feed more efficiently.
Baby bottles: top time tips
1. Use baby milk cartons
The most timesaving way of bottle feeding is with ready-made cartons of baby milk.
You need only pour the milk into sterilized bottles for feeding. Many babies are happy to accept milk at room temperature. However, ready-made feeds cost more than preparing your own feeds from milk powder: you’d be looking at 19p – 30p for 100 ml, depending on brand and quantity.
2. Prepare formula feeds in advance
Preparing baby’s formula bottle feeds costs around 14p for 100 ml. But remember, baby milk powder is not sterile, so current guidelines suggest making feeds only as required.
This isn’t always realistic, so to prepare feeds in advance make up individual bottles according to the directions, cool them quickly (a timesaver is putting them in a bowl of ice cubes) and store them in the back of the fridge. Don’t keep them longer than 24 hours.
If you have no way to keep prepared feeds cold, you can boil the kettle and immediately pour the correct amount of boiling water into sterilized bottles. Screw on a sterilized lid and teat. You can keep these bottles at room temperature.
3. Pre-measure powder portions
Measure enough milk powder for each feed into small, clean tightly-lidded plastic containers if you’re going out or for quick and easy access at home.
When baby is hungry, add the exact amount of powder then shake the bottle to mix it. Use this feed straight away and throw away any that’s not used within two hours.
4. Breast milk ice cubes
Freeze expressed breast milk in ice-cube trays. You then only have to defrost as many as you actually need, and if you choose wide-mouthed baby bottles, you can defrost them straight in the bottle.
And breathe. You’ve done everything you can and now it’s time to go along with the pace your baby sets while you enjoy those short and precious first weeks.