Formula is commercially available in three different forms: ready-to-feed, powder, and liquid concentrate. All forms are equal in their nutrition. Babies will tolerate the various forms and even brands in different ways. It is up to you and your baby to decide which is best tolerated by your child. No matter which form you decide on, make sure that you read and follow the directions for mixing the formula on that container. There is variability between brands on how to mix the formula. Always use a level scoop when measuring powder. Never mix more or less water than the instructions tell you to use. You should always use distilled bottled water or boil and cool the tap water before mixing it with formula.
How Much Should I Give My Baby?
Typically when you first start feeding your baby formula, he will be taking two to three ounces every three to four hours, if full term. The following is a guide to help you assess how much formula your baby should be consuming in a 24 hour period:
|Newborn to 4 months||20-30 ounces|
|4 to 6 months||28-32 ounces|
|6 to 9 months||24-32 ounces|
|9 to 12 months||24-30 ounces|
Keep in mind that the best gauge of proper nutrition in your baby is normal growth and development. We will be monitoring your child’s growth and development closely at each well child visit and will keep you up-to-date on how your child is developing.
Warming the Formula
Always use a container of warm water and sit the bottle of formula in the water to warm it up. Never use a microwave to warm formula or breastmilk! Make sure that you always check the temperature of the formula on your wrist to make sure that it is not too warm. There are several commercial bottle warmers on the market which work well to rapidly warm the formula. Make sure you follow the directions that come with each individual warmer and always shake the bottle and check the temperature of the milk on your wrist before giving the bottle to your baby.
What Type of Bottle is Best?
There are many different types of bottles on the market today. There is no one best bottle for formula feeding your infant. This is one of the many things that you will just have to try for yourself and your baby to see which bottle works out best. Most of the bottles available today are excellent and should work just fine. Some bottles come with bag inserts to help reduce air bubbles and these are often good if your baby has problems with gas or even wet burps. Always make sure that you boil the bottles and nipples for the bottles before the first use and allow them to cool before filling them.
Choosing Nipples for Your Bottle
This can be a little trickier than choosing the right bottle. You want to make sure that the nipple size is appropriate for your baby’s mouth. In general, you can go by the sizing that the companies label the nipples with. The next important variable is the size of the hole on the nipple. You want to ensure that the hole is not too large so that your baby will not get too much formula when he sucks. This will lead to increased spitting up, choking, and may not satisfy his need to suck. If the hole is too small, your baby will not get enough milk, and he may tire out before finishing a feed. Always check the nipples periodically to make sure they are not worn out. Again, boil the nipples before the first use to sterilize them.
Creating the Best Feeding Environment
Before you begin to feed your baby, make sure that he has a dry diaper, is awake and hungry, and is comfortable (not too cold or hot). This will ensure that your baby will be focused on feeding and not distracted by being uncomfortable. You want to choose a location to feed that is both comfortable for you and for your baby. Hold the baby close to you and with the head slightly raised. Make sure that as you hold the bottle, there is no air in the nipple as this will cause your baby to swallow air and become full sooner because of air in the stomach. It may also cause increased fussiness and spit-ups. Never prop a bottle or leave the baby alone to feed. This would put your baby at risk of choking and even aspirating formula into his lungs.
Cleaning Up After a Feed
It is always best to clean the bottles and nipples immediately after use to prevent the formula from sitting inside the bottle and causing a foul odor. If you do not have time to wash right away, or if you plan to use a dishwasher, always rinse the bottle and nipple with warm water first. You should always use warm soapy water to wash the bottles and nipples. It is best to use a brush that will fit into the nipples and bottles for better cleaning. Rinse them well with hot water and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing in a cabinet. Never keep leftover formula from a used bottle. Always dispose of this and make fresh formula for the next feed.