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Before the birth of your baby, you will need to decide whether you will breast or bottle feed. Bottle feeding can be a very convenient and rewarding method of feeding your baby. Like breast feeding, bottle feeding has advantages and disadvantages. Formula has to be purchased, and the preparation takes time. With breast feeding it is much more difficult to leave your baby with another caretaker. The breast milk has to be pumped and put into bottles. However, breast milk is free. You have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages to decide which method is right for you.

If formula feeding is the choice you have made for you and your baby, there are several types and brands on the market. After the birth of your baby, his doctor will recommend the formula that will meet his nutritional needs. Powdered formula that you measure and mix with water is generally the most reasonable in price. Concentrated liquid is mixed with equal parts of water. There are also ready to feed formulas which are very convenient, but they are more expensive. They are all equally nutritious, and your baby will do fine on whichever you decide to use.

Bottles with plastic liners are quite convenient and easy to use. They are pre-sterilized and disposable. Once you choose the type of bottle and nipple you will be feeding your baby with, it's best not to change to another type. Your baby will become comfortable with a certain shaped nipple and will not readily accept a different one.

It is recommended that you sterilize the nipples by boiling them several times before the first use. This will remove anything that may be harmful to your baby. It is also important to wash all of the bottle parts in hot soapy water before each use. Many dishwashers have a high temperature setting that will effectively kill any germs.

Bottled water is not necessary unless your water is not safe to drink. If your water is safe for you, then it's fine for your baby. If you are unsure about the quality of your water, there are water filtering systems available that will remove most impurities and harmful chemicals.

Your baby will require about six daily feedings, and he will generally not drink more than three ounces at each feeding. Filling each bottle to the four ounce mark will be sufficient. Setting the bottle in a pan of hot water will bring it to room temperature. It is not necessary for the formula to be any warmer than this. Never heat the bottle in a microwave or in a pan of water with a flame under it. It can become too warm and also have hot spots that could burn your baby. Any formula left in the bottle after feeding should be disposed of. Your baby will let you know when he is full.

The decision to breast or bottle feed is up to you. Don't let other people make you feel guilty about your choice. Your baby will grow and thrive whether he is breast-fed or bottle-fed.