Breastfeeding is great but so is formula feeding. Many parents choose to formula feed their little one and that is okay! There are many reasons parents like to choose formula over breastfeeding. Maybe you can’t produce enough milk, work schedule to hectic, you want to allow others to help with feedings, just don’t want to breastfeed, or maybe you are a single dad trying to care for a newborn. All are examples of why people choose formula over breast and that’s perfectly acceptable. Don’t allow someone to shame you or make you feel bad for using formula, your baby will thrive and go on to do great things, same as breastfed babies!
Formula recipes have changed quite a bit since they were first introduced. They contain better amounts of iron, vitamins, minerals, and essential fats that baby needs to grow. Infant formula is also tightly regulated by the FDA to ensure baby is getting the nutrients they need. Picking out the right formula can be tough but with some help from your doctor, you can find the one that works perfect for your baby. When deciding there are a few factors to consider, make sure its milk based, iron fortified, and enriched in DHA and ARA. Also, you may want to use a hypoallergenic formula if prior formula has caused baby to be “colicky.”
How Much Should Baby Eat?
First thing to remember is every baby is different, so feedings will be different for each. Before you leave the hospital the doctor will advise you on the correct amount of formula to feed baby and how often. Babies tend to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full so watch for cues from baby. Typically an infant will eat about 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day. Example, if baby weighs six pounds, you will give her fifteen ounces of formula in a 24 hour period. Some days it will be a bit more or a bit less depending on baby. While baby is growing they may look for more food, try preparing an ounce or two more at a time. If your baby is vomiting after feeding, that may be a sign baby has had too much. If you are wondering if baby is getting the right amount of formula, there are signs that will let you know. There are three sign to ensure baby is getting enough, if baby is steadily gaining weight, baby is happy, and baby is producing wet diapers. If you are worried about your baby’s weight gain, just talk with your doctor!
Different Types of Formulas:
There are many different types of formulas to meet the needs of many different types of babies. Most babies typically start with cow’s milk based formula. There are also organic versions, as well as, vegetarian and vegan options that use soy based ingredients. Anti-reflux formulas help treat babies with spit-up. For those with lactose issues, there are sensitive formulas that can be lactose free or contain limited lactose. You and your doctor can help pick the best version for your baby.
Formula comes in three different forms, powder, concentrate, and ready-to-feed. It is important to read all labels when preparing formula for your little one because incorrectly made formula can hurt baby. A prepared bottle lasts at room temperature for no more than an hour. If it’s been over an hour, discard bottle and make new.
Tips on Bottle Feeding:
- Always make sure bottles are clean and sterilized
- Never microwave formula. Microwaves do not heat evenly and there could be hot spots in the formula.
- Test temperature on the inside of wrist. It should be lukewarm not hot.
- Tilt bottle upside down to check the nipple hole. If formula is dripping out very fast, the hole is too big and could cause baby to choke.
- Never prop the bottle up or leave baby alone to feed
- Don’t leave bottle with baby to feed during the night
The Weston A. Price foundation has formulated a recipe for homemade formula that designed to mimic the nutrient content of breast milk. For those that don’t like the idea of using commercially bought formula, this could be something you try. I would talk to your doctor before.
Whether you breast feed or formula feed; always choose whatever works for you and your family the best. Being a parent is tough and we should all stick together to make our lives easier, not more complicated.