Baby Formula Feeding -What Parents Should Know
For babies breastfeeding is the best nutrition source. However, with working mothers and schedules or due to situations – medical or any other personal reasons if mother is not able to breast feed, then the next option is going with formula or formula milk. If parents are relying on formula feed then understanding how to prepare formula and what are the do’s and don’ts – this is a must know for the parents as it is critical for baby’s health and proper development reasons.
- Talk to your pediatrician about the best formula that is available for baby.
- After picking up the formula examine for any type of contamination – mold, fungus or odd odor.
- Check the manufacturing date and best before or expiry date.
- Make sure there is no leak, rust on the can or bottle.
- Make sure it is not for the toddlers. Babies younger than age 12 months should be fed infant formulas specifically designed to meet their nutritional needs. They should not be fed toddler milks, drinks, or formulas labeled for toddlers.
These steps are critical as any contaminated food can be life threatening for infant. Once you bring formula follow hygiene practice to prepare and feed the baby.
Preparation tips and storing methods of baby’s formula (CDC)
- Wash your hands well before preparing bottles or feeding your baby. Clean and sanitize the workspace where you will be preparing the infant formula.
- Bottles need to be clean and sanitized. To learn more about how to properly clean your baby’s bottles and other feeding supplies, visit the CDC webpage How to Clean, Sanitize, and Store Infant Feeding Items.
- Baby’s milk or infant formula does not need to be warmed before feeding, but some people like to warm their baby’s bottle.
- If you do decide to warm the bottle, never use a microwave. Microwaves heat milk and food unevenly, resulting in “hot spots” that can burn your baby’s mouth and throat.
- To warm a bottle: Place the bottle under running warm water, taking care to keep the water from getting into the bottle or on the nipple. Put a couple drops of infant formula on the back of your hand to see if it is too hot.
If you use powdered infant formula:
- Use water from a safe source to mix your infant formula. If you are not sure if your tap water is safe to use for preparing infant formula, contact your local health department.
- Use the amount of water listed on the instructions of the infant formula container. Always measure the water first and then add the powder.
- Too much water may not meet the nutritional needs of your baby.
- Too little water may cause your baby’s kidneys and digestive system to work too hard and may cause your baby to become dehydrated.
- If your baby is very young (younger than 2 months old), was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system, you may want to take extra precautions in preparing your infant’s formula to protect against Cronobacter.
Use Quickly or Store Safely
- Prepared infant formula can spoil if it is left out at room temperature.
- Use prepared infant formula within 2 hours of preparation and within one hour from when feeding begins.
- If you do not start to use the prepared infant formula within 2 hours, immediately store the bottle in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.
- Throw out any infant formula that is left in the bottle after feeding your baby. The combination of infant formula and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow. Be sure to clean and sanitize the bottle before its next use.
- Store unopened infant formula containers in a cool, dry, indoor place—not in vehicles, garages, or outdoors.
- Once a container of infant formula is opened, store in a cool, dry place with the lid tightly closed. Do not store it in the refrigerator.
- Most infant formulas need to be used within 1 month of opening the container (check the label). When you first open the container, write the date on the lid to help you remember.
- Never use formula after the “Use By” date on the container.
How much formula to feed?
If you have questions about your baby’s growth or how much infant formula he or she is taking, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse.
- Your newborn baby’s belly is tiny. He or she does not need a lot of infant formula with each feeding to be full.
- You can start by offering your baby 1 to 2 ounces of infant formula every 2 to 3 hours in the first days of life if your baby is only getting infant formula and no breast milk. Give your baby more if he or she is showing signs of hunger.
- Most infant formula-fed newborns will feed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about how much infant formula is right for your baby.
- As your baby grows, his or her belly grows too. Your baby will be able to drink more infant formula at each feeding, and the time between feedings will get longer.
First Weeks and Months
- Some babies need additional Vitamin D- Babies who are fed breast milk exclusively or who receive both breast milk and infant formula need extra vitamin D, starting shortly after birth. They can get this through over-the-counter vitamin D drops. Babies receiving only infant formula do not need vitamin D drops. Infant formula is fortified with vitamin D.
- Over the first few weeks and months, the time between feedings will get longer—about every 3 to 4 hours for most infant formula-fed babies. This means you may need to wake your baby to feed. You can try patting, stroking, undressing, or changing the diaper to help wake your baby to feed.
- Some feeding sessions may be long, and other feedings short. That is okay. Babies will generally take what they need at each feeding and stop eating when they are full.
6 to 12 Months Old
- Continue feeding your baby when he or she shows signs of hunger. Most 6 to 12 month olds will need infant formula or solid foods about 5 to 6 times in 24 hours.
- As your baby gradually starts eating more solid foods, the amount of infant formula he or she needs each day will likely start to decrease.
12 to 24 Months Old
- When your toddler is 12 months old, you can switch from infant formula to plain whole cow’s milk or fortified unsweetened soy beverage. You can do this gradually. You may want to start by replacing one infant formula feeding with cow’s milk to help your child transition.
For more information on Baby’s formula and concerns that you might have please visit www.cdc.gov
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: May 8, 2023
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