What Should I Know About Formula Feeding my Baby?

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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 December 2018
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Many new moms choose to feed their baby with infants’ formula. Formula has a lot of the same nutrients as breast milk, and has the added benefit of containing vitamin D. Although it does not carry all of the same health benefits as breast milk, such as the mother's immunity, formula feeding is one option for nourishing a young child.

There are many things to know about formula feeding. The first thing parents should be aware of is the types of formula available. Some are soy-based, and some are made from cow’s milk. There are special formulas containing extra nutrients, and formulas specially made for sensitive stomachs. Formula comes in a variety of forms. Traditionally, formula was only available in the powdered form. Now it can also be bought in a liquid concentrate, or ready-to-use. The ready-to-use formula is very convenient, especially for families who are always on the go.


Formula feeding is easy to do. Most newborns drink one to three ounces every couple of hours. New infants should be fed on demand, with a feeding schedule usually being established around two months of age. Baby bottles should be sterilized before the first use, which is done by leaving them in boiling water for five minutes or so. Although it is not necessary to sterilize bottles every time you wash them, it should be done often -- about once a week. Bottles can be heated in a bottle warmer or under warm tap water. Don’t use a microwave, because they heat unevenly, causing hot spots that could burn the baby.

A baby who is formula feeding should not have the bottle propped up to hold it in place. Not only is this dangerous, as the baby may choke, but feeding times should be used to bond and cuddle with the infant. Replacing a mother or father’s warm arms with a blanket holding up the bottle takes away from what should be a very pleasurable experience for both the baby and the parent. An infant who is feeding should be making regular swallowing sounds. If not, check to make sure that the tip of the nipple is not clogged. If the baby doesn’t act like she is getting enough milk, it might be time to change the nipple to one with a larger hole.

Infants who are fed formula are still capable of growing up strong and healthy, even without breast milk. While breastfeeding is still thought to be best for an infant, formula feeding isn’t detrimental to a child’s health. Many babies are given formula, and turn out just as healthy and intelligent as infants who were breastfed.



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