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How to prepare bottles for night feeds

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When it comes to feeding your baby at night, preparing bottles is certainly a more complex process than breastfeeding on demand. With that being said, there are, of course, some lovely benefits that come with bottle feeding your baby formula during the night. One of the best benefits of feeding your child this way is that it allows your partner to be involved in the feeding process, thus enabling them some extra bonding time. To introduce formula feeding at night, you first need to know how to prepare bottles for night feeds. There’s no one set way of doing this and different methods of preparation come with varying degrees of effort and safety. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to safely prepare baby bottles for night feeds.

How to prepare bottles for night feeds: 6 ways

If formula feeding at night sounds like something you and your partner want to try, you’re going to need to know how to prepare bottles for night feeds. In this blog post we’re sharing advice and guidance on the 6 most popular methods used by parents. These options include:

  • The Official NHS Guidance 
  • The NHS’s Flask Method
  • Use A Baby Bottle Making Machine
  • Use A Mix Of Hot and Cold Water
  • Preprepared Bottles
  • Ready-To-Drink Formula

Let’s take a look at each method in turn and learn how to prepare bottles for night feeds. 

The official NHS guidance for preparing bottles for night feeds.

If you want to learn how to prepare bottles for night feeds and you are a stickler for the rules, the official NHS method may be the right choice for you. In terms of effort, this particular option takes a lot of time and energy – this is something that may contribute to additional stress for both parents and baby in the middle of the night. However, with that being said, it is the safest method for providing your baby with fresh formula milk. 

When learning how to prepare bottles for night feeds, the NHS recommends boiling a litre of fresh tap water and pouring it into a previously sterilised bottle. Next, add the correct amount of formula and shake to dissolve the milk powder before cooling the milk to the correct temperature. Check that the milk has cooled down to body temperature by shaking a few drops of milk onto your wrist. 

The NHS recommends doing this each time you need to feed your baby during the night. 

The NHS endorsed ‘flask method’.

The NHS recommends the ‘flask method’ for parents that need to formula feed their baby when out and about during the day. The NHS does not specifically recommend this method for night feeds, however, it is a useful method to use if you want to cut down on the use of the kettle each night. 

Learning how to prepare bottles for night feeds with this method will save you a little bit of time during the night, which should hopefully be less stressful for you and your child. Instead of filling the kettle up each night and boiling it to make fresh baby bottles, you simply fill a flask up with just boiled water before going to sleep. A good quality flask should keep water at a safe temperature of 70˚C or above for several hours.

Use a bottle preparation machine.

If you want to know how to prepare bottles for night feeds with hardly any fuss at all, you need to invest in a baby bottle preparation machine. The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine makes a great addition to your bedtime arsenal by cutting the time it takes to prepare a bottle during the night in half. In around 2 minutes, the Perfect Prep machine creates a fresh bottle of formula feed for your baby by combining hot sterile water and cold sterile water. After 2 minutes, you’ll have the perfect bottle of milk for your baby.

Combine hot and cold water in a bottle.

Although the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep and other baby bottle preparation machines are incredibly useful, they can be expensive to purchase. If you want to learn how to prepare bottles for night feeds that are the right temperature without forking out for an expensive machine, you should try the hot and cold water method. This is essentially what the baby bottle preparation machines do for you, but instead of relying on an expensive gadget, you can do it yourself. 

For this baby bottle preparation technique, you will need two sterilised bottles and a freshly boiled kettle. In one bottle, add enough boiling water to make up a quarter of the amount of overall water needed to make a bottle. In the other bottle, add the remaining amount of sterile cold water necessary to create an entire bottle. For babies under 6 months, ensure that the cool water has been boiled and cooled previously.

Next, simply add the necessary amount of formula feed into the bottle that has the freshly boiled water and shake it before pouring it into the other bottle. You will now have a warm bottle of milk for your baby’s night feed. 

Premade Bottles.

Freshly made bottles are best, however many parents choose to prepare their baby’s bottles in advance. Premade bottles are a popular method for parents looking to make night feeding easier, so here’s how to prepare bottles for night feeds using this method.

To use this method for night feeds, make your bottles of formula milk the normal way, ensuring that you add your formula powder to freshly boiled water. Next, cool down all the bottles by running them under cold water before placing them in the fridge (do not put them in the fridge door). These bottles will stay fresh for 24 hours.

During the night, these premade bottles can be gently warmed up for your baby by placing them in a bowl of warm water or using a bottle warmer. Do not use the microwave to heat up your baby’s milk as it can leave hot spots, resulting in burning.

Use ready-to-drink formula.

All of the above preparation methods are extremely popular with parents, however, if you want to know how to prepare bottles for night feeds in the fastest way possible, the answer is simple: ready-to-drink formula. It’s possible to purchase premixed bottles of formula from supermarkets and other high street stores which dramatically reduces the amount of time spent preparing your baby’s bottle for night time feeds. 

Tips For Making Night Feeding Easier

There’s no denying that night feeding is tough, but there are a few things that can be done to help ease the stress for both you and your baby. Some babies will wake for a feed and go back to sleep with minimall fuss, whereas others may stay awake for hours after a feed. The way that you approach night feeding can have a huge impact on whether or not your baby finds it easy to fall asleep again. Here are a few tips to help make night time feeding easier:

  • Keep lighting to a minimal when feeding your baby at night
  • Include your partner in your baby’s night feeds
  • Don’t change your baby’s nappy unless it’s absolutely necessary
  • Make sure your baby has been winded well before laying them back down to sleep
  • Use white noise to help sooth your baby back to sleep

How To Prepare A Bottle Of Breast Milk For Night Feeds

Expressed breast milk is an excellent option for night time feeding and it takes very minimal effort to prepare a bottle of breast milk for your baby. One option is to pump right before you go to sleep and use the milk within 6 hours. Breastmilk will sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours making this a great way to feed your baby during the night. 

The second option is to pump and store your breastmilk in the fridge, then use a bottle warmer or a bowl of warm water to gently heat the breast milk to the correct drinking temperature.

Felix fast asleep as a newborn

How to Prepare Bottles for Night Feeds

By now you will know exactly how to prepare bottles for night feeds and you may well have a new technique that you want to try out this evening. It’s important to remember that all babies are different and all parents are different too; what works for one family may not work for another. Do not feel disheartened if one of these methods doesn’t work for you because you will find one that does!

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