Nannies that are just beginning their careers, or even experienced childcare providers that haven’t worked with newborns and infants before, are faced with a staggering amount of information they must absorb and retain. Some aspects of baby care, such as diapering or soothing a colicky infant, can be learned through trial and error; others, like safely and properly preparing a bottle, must be done accurately from the beginning in order to keep tiny charges healthy and happy.
Methods for preparing a baby’s bottle vary depending on whether the infant is formula-fed or adhering to the World Health Organization’s recommended diet of breast milk. Mothers that opt to continue breastfeeding after returning to work often choose to pump and store their milk for Baby’s use while they’re out of the home, and breast milk requires different storage and preparation than formula. Some aspects of the process, however, are universal.
Choosing the Right Bottle
Your employers will provide the infant feeding bottles that they have selected, which were likely chosen based on the advice they received from a pediatrician or lactation consultant. Some may choose not to use plastic bottles due to concerns about chemical content and the possible leaching of such substances into formula or breast milk as the bottles are heated. Shape may also be a consideration, especially for the parents of infants that suffer from colic or reflux problems. Nipples come in different shapes and sizes and can have varying flow rates. As a nanny charged with caring for an infant, you should make sure that you only feed her with the bottles that your employer has chosen and that you regularly inspect both bottles and nipples for any signs of cracking, discoloration, or disrepair.
Before preparing formula you should wash your hands carefully and thoroughly to avoid any contamination that can lead to illness. Powdered, concentrated, and ready-to-feed formulas should all be checked for a past expiration date, which should be stamped conspicuously on the packaging. Follow your employers’ instructions regarding the type of water that you use for powdered or concentrated formulas, as some may object to the use of tap water or unsterilized bottled water. Following the preparation instructions on the container to the letter is of the utmost importance, regardless of which type of formula the infant that you’re caring for is fed. Diluting formula more than you’re instructed by the manufacturer to make it go farther or last longer can lead to malnutrition and a host of related health woes, as the formulas are specifically designed to provide the best possible alternative to breast milk. Diluted formula contains significantly lower levels of nutrients, so it’s imperative that all formulas are mixed to the manufacturer’s specifications. Make sure that the lids of cans are clean and free of dust or other debris, and that you also use a clean can opener.
Preparing Expressed Breast Milk
Your employer should chill any breast milk pumped for later use; surplus stores of milk should be frozen to prevent spoilage. Breast milk is best used within 24 hours of pumping and chilling, but any milk that’s been in the refrigerator for more than 72 hours should be discarded.
Frozen breast milk should be thawed in the refrigerator, or by placing the frozen container into warm water; thawed milk should never be refrozen, and bottles of breast milk shouldn’t be saved for future feedings. To warm chilled breast milk, La Leche League suggests that bottles be immersed in a pan or bowl of heated water rather than heated directly on the stove. Breast milk shouldn’t be boiled, and may also separate into layers during storage. These defined layers of milk and cream are normal, and are not a sign of spoilage; simply swirl or shake gently to mix the bottle’s contents before a feeding.
To Microwave or Not to Microwave?
There’s no denying the convenience and time-saving potential of a microwave oven for heating foods and beverages; however, nannies and parents aren’t typically advised to use them for warming either formula or breast milk before a feeding. In addition to creating “hot spots” that can burn the delicate tissues of an infant’s mouth, microwaving can also negatively impact the nutrient content. If you must use a microwave, be sure to shake the bottle to redistribute the fluid and eliminate any possible hot spots; testing the temperature of the formula or breast milk to ensure that it’s safe for Baby’s mouth is also important.
Check with your employers to determine whether or not their pediatrician has suggested that bottles, nipples, and other equipment be sterilized before each feeding, and to ask any questions that you may have in relation to their child’s feeding schedule or regarding any special dietary needs.P.S. This post was proposed to me for publication by Martina Keyhell. I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information: