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Babies For Parents Toddlers

Bottle-feeding Guide: How to choose the right teat for baby

Are you wondering how to pick the right milk bottle teat for your baby?

If your baby is drinking breastmilk or formula milk powder from the bottle, teats also known as bottle nipples are one of the bottle feeding essential items parents need to prepare for.

Most parents face a dilemma when it comes to choosing baby milk  bottles and teats. Which type of bottle teat is closest to a natural nipple? More importantly, what type of teat will your baby accept?

You may find that your baby refuses to drink from bottles and you could end up having to run through many brands before settling on one that your baby prefers.

Material and Lifespan of Bottle Teats
In the market, bottle teats are mostly made from latex or silicone. Both materials have their benefits, and you can switch between them.

Latex is a natural material that is softer and more flexible than silicone, which can make it easier for babies to adapt to. It is more resistant to bites. If your baby has a hard time adapting to latex teats, boil it in milk for 3 minutes to get rid of the taste.

Latex is a natural material and it breaks down more quickly compared to silicone, which is a synthetic material. There is a small possibility that your baby may be allergic to latex and thus, unsuitable to use latex teats. When latex teats break down, the teats may feel sticky.

Choosing the right milk bottle teat for your baby: silicon vs. latex

Silicone is a manmade material that is more durable compared to latex. It is clear, firm and tends to be more resistant to temperature, exposure to sunlight and fatty foods. It is heat resistant, meaning that it can undergo many rounds of sterilisation without developing cracks that could breed bacteria.

During wash of milk bottle teats, always ensure that they are thoroughly washed without any breastmilk or formula milk powder residue left behind. Regardless of the material chosen, teats should be replaced every one to two months, or immediately when you notice bite marks, cracks or damage.

Latex teats are said to feel more like a real nipple.

Shapes of Bottle Teats
Bottle teats come in all shapes and sizes. Some are slim, some are bell shaped and some have a flat end on one side. Baby bottle manufacturers are constantly working to produce a bottle teat that most resembles the feel of a natural nipple.

There are teats with an anti-colic feature, where a vent in the teat allows air to escape when the baby suckles from it. Certain bottle teats have a vacuum and require the baby to suckle harder in order for the milk to be released.

Your baby may take a while to accept a bottle teat, so you may have to get different types of teats for your baby to try.

Flow rate of Bottle Teats

As your baby grows, they will be able to consume more milk and thus, a teat with a corresponding flow rate should be used. A flow rate is how fast the milk goes into your baby’s mouth. The flow rate depends on the number and type of holes in the tip.

Although baby bottle manufacturers categorise their teats by age, it should be noted that the flow rate suitable for your baby may not correspond to his or her age. If you notice that your baby is sputtering and choking, switch to a teat with slower flow.

Conversely, if your baby is frustrated and sucking hard, change to a teat with faster flow.

Teats for newborns have a slow flow and have one hole in the teat. The more holes in the teat, the faster the flow rate. Fast flow teats may have as many as four holes, depending on the brand of teats.

Mothers who direct latch and bottle feed at the same time prefer to continue using slow flow teats as it means that the baby has to suckle harder in order to get milk. Nipple confusion is a common concern for mums who breastfeed and bottle-feed their child.

There are vary flow teats in the market where the flow increases depending on how hard your baby suckles.

Each baby has their own preference, and you should be prepared for some trial and error across the different teat brands before your baby finally settles on one.

Which type of teat does your baby prefer? Let us know in the comments!

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For Parents Toddlers

Life with Kids – 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

Parenthood is a life-changing experience for a couple.

Before the kids came along, you probably spent most of your time on intimate conversations, planning holidays and date nights. Now that your hands are busy with diapers or an active toddler, when was the last time you even held hands?

Don’t forget to enjoy time together as a married couple even after becoming parents!

With little mini-me’s who are dependent on your care, and an avalanche of baby-related topics to talk about, the focus on each other as a couple may seem like a flickering flame. So, what can parents do to strengthen their marriage and keep romance alive? After all, you were a couple first before becoming parents, and connecting as individuals keeps the relationship glowing and going.

#1: Think of each other

This might sound easy, but when we are caught up in the busyness of our multiple roles and responsibilities, and focused on getting things done, we probably spend very little time thinking about our better half. Send her a text in the day to say, “I love you”, or, get your wife’s favourite cake to surprise her at the end of a long day. Think of your spouse and let her know that! Thoughts translate into actions towards filling our partner’s love tank, and it is a wonderful feeling to know that someone is thinking of you too, isn’t it?

 

#2: Speak the right love language

Remember those days when it was just the two of you, and how all that fuzzy lovey feeling was like? Your partner’s love languages are most likely to be the same as before, even with the kids who are vying for your love. According to Gary Chapman who coined The 5 Love Languages, men and women have diverse ways of “feeling” loved, so take a minute to remember what makes your spouse tick. Was it: words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts or quality time? These little steps go a long way in helping to keep the marriage going.

 

#3: Creative communication techniques

Parents often spend most of the day apart from each other, but that should not be a reason for the lack of communication. With technology and some creativity, it is easy to stay connected with your spouse and keep things fresh. No time to meet during the day? Have a quick 5-minute chat, or, send a text via WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber and add a cute emoji, or a funny selfie. It is always nice to feel appreciated for our roles in the family, just like how these mums are sharing their heartfelt thoughts about their husbands for being together as a team. That would help brighten up your husband’s dreary day at work, knowing that his partner for life is always there.

Children are like our pillars in a marriage, where our love is built upon and grows from.

 

#4: Be more patient with your spouse

Caring for the kids may be a priority, and it is easy to neglect an adult since he or she is not as dependent on you like the kids. Make effort to pay attention to your partner’s needs, even those non-verbal cues, as this little action helps show that you care. Being more patient with your husband or wife when they help with the kids would help affirm their actions positively, and reduces arguments over the children too.

 

#5: Encourage your kids’ independence

Sneak in pockets of time together when the kids are on their own. Letting the kids develop independence, and enjoy activities on their own allows them to appreciate their own personal space and time too. It is a double win, and both adults get to raise wine glasses and catch up with each other at the end of the work day, or over the weekends, while the kids establish life skills over time. Sounds like a winner!

 

#6: Plan couple time and don’t feel guilty

Scheduling in couple time sounds easy, but many parents may feel guilty for being away from the children. Parents need time away whether for individual growth or as a couple, and being a parent is only one of the multiple hats they wear. Deliberately planned time together gives both of you something exciting to look forward to (think: endorphins, happy hormones and dates!), and precious quality moments like these are better cherished too. That certainly makes for two happy lovebirds in the marriage.

 

#7: Get help with the kids

Planning for couple time sounds like the easy part, so, what do you do with the kids? Enlist support from trusted adults who can help care for your little ones when both of you are spending time together. Knowing that the children are in good hands helps make the quality couple time a better one. The last thing you need is to start an argument over the idea of “outsourcing” the childcaring to get more time together.

Are you nurturing your marriage even after having kids?

 

#8: Understand that there are stages in a marriage

Just like our children’s developmental milestones, there are stages in a marriage too. Post-honeymoon period during the initial wave of all-things-romantic, things may have gotten a little routine until your first child came along. With the new role to grow into, the spouse in you may have taken a back seat for a while, but remember that children are part of the love equation. Pretty sure that the children added some spice to your marriage too!

 

#9: Don’t be shy about hugging and kissing in front of your kids

Whoever said that public display of affections are reserved for secondary school kids? Married couples hugging and kissing in front of their kids are simply reinforcing that physical affection of love is valued in the family. The human touch is important in healthy relationships, and just as physical affection with our children is completely acceptable, it is surely normal between daddy and mummy – just keep it child-friendly!

 

#10: Fall in love all over again

It is time to bring back romance and fall in love again with the very person whom you pledged your vows to. With children in the family, it is easy to neglect working on the marriage. Take time to celebrate the both of you, and enjoy the company and love of your better half on both journeys as husband-and-wife, and mum-and-dad during this lifetime.

Like parenting, marriage is a lifelong path which takes effort and commitment to nurture and protect. Marriage is a sacred union that needs just as much love, as we set ourselves as healthy examples to our little ones about marriage and relationships. Raising happy, world-ready children in a marriage of abundance allows children to thrive and learn about from their role models too.

How do you fuel your marriage even after having children? Do share your tips too!