A guide to formula feeding
Both breast and formula feeding are healthy choices for your love bug. The decision to formula feed, breastfeed, or do a combination of both is a personal choice. Newly minted parents are often conflicted with misconceptions and a lack of discussions on formulas which can make prepping a bottle seem like an intimidating task.
There are plenty of reasons why you may choose to formula feed. Among them are having latch issues, painful nursing sessions, poor sucking reflex, the fear of not producing enough milk, the need to return to work after maternity leaves, or health issue that requires medications not safe for a nursing baby. There is a learning curve when it comes to bottle feeding, but with this little knowledgeable guide, you can pass the exam about how to introduce formula to a baby safely and happily with flying colors.
Which bottle should I choose?
To feed a baby with formula milk, you need a bottle. There are several bottle styles and brands to choose from (plastic, plastic with disposable liners, plastic with glass liners, and glass). Teats can vary in shape and can either be made from rubber or silicone. For most, purchasing a few single bottles and nipples of different brands makes the most sense until you find the ones that work best for you and your baby.
What kind of formula should I use?
Most infant formulas are made from cow milk or soybeans, they’re either first milk or follow-on milk (you can also find formulas for babies that have colic). For premature babies, any formula you choose should be iron-fortified.
Formula milk is available in two forms:
- ready-to-feed liquid infant formula,
- powdered infant formula
In the early days, you might consider using ready-to-feed bottles. They’re sterile which makes them safe and convenient. They come in 2 to 4-ounce bottles (from different formula brands) that only require you to attach a sterilized bottle nipple.
Ready-to-feed formulas tend to be more expensive and provided your baby is full-term, active, and healthy, safely prepared powdered formula is a great substitute.
How much formula does my bub need?
Every baby is different, as they grow, their needs change and they eat more at each feeding. Here is a general guideline to give you a sense of how much infant formula your baby should be consuming
Newborns 2 to 3 ounces every 3 to 4 hours. (A newborns stomach is the size of a cherry. He or she does not need a lot of infant formula most babies will need an ounce or less per feeding in the early days)
- age one month 4 ounces every 4 hours
- age two months: 4 ounces in 6 to 7 feedings a day
- age four months 4 to 6 ounces in 6 feedings a day
- age six months: 6 to 8 ounces in 6 feedings a day
- age 12 months: 8 ounces, 2 to 3 times a day ( when babies reach their first birthday, they can transition to cow's milk in a bottle, sippy cup, or a straw cup)
All babies are different, so let your baby decide how much he or she wants to feed. Follow the signals of when she wants to feed and when she is not hungry. Most babies eat when they're hungry and stop when their stomachs are full. Don’t force your baby to finish each bottle. Overfeeding during infancy can contribute to obesity later in life.