How To Feed Your Baby With Formula
A mother’s breast milk has a lot of benefits because it contains beneficial nutrients that you can’t find anywhere else. According to the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics, cow’s milk shouldn’t be introduced to babies who are younger than one year old. This is because granted, it’s an excellent course of nutritious protein, but it’s harder for infants to digest and lacks in the way of iron, which can lead to iron deficiency.
Baby formula, on the other hand, is an ideal supplement for breast and cow’s milk and a good choice for moms who are looking to fully ween their baby off of breast milk. There is a wide range of formulas on the market to cater for different needs such as hypoallergenic formulas, soy formulas, iron-fortified baby formula, etc.
Powdered baby formula is the most common and convenient type of formula that can be found in almost any store, and all it takes is adding few scoops it into a container, add water, shake it up, and it’s ready for your baby.
While a tad more expensive than powdered formula, there is also the concentrated type of baby formula that comes in a sterile concentrated liquid form, but it also must be diluted with water as well to make it easier on a baby’ tummy.
Formulations vary ingredients and composition-wise, but there are typical ingredients that can be found in most baby formulas such as:
- Amino Acids
- Soy lecithin emulsifier
- Carbohydrates such as lactose and corn maltodextrin
- Partially hydrolyzed reduced minerals
- Whey protein concentrates from cow’s milk
- Fats such as palm, soy, coconut, sunflower oil
Quite a lot to digest, don’t you think?
Breast milk is known for its protective and immune supporting properties and contains the right balance of probiotics and prebiotics that babies need to build healthy gut bacteria. But as you can see, baby formulas also have a lot to offer plus not only do they make feeding time more manageable, they are a saving grace for moms who experience medical conditions that cause low milk supply such hypothyroidism, stress or postpartum depression.
It’s always advisable to talk to your baby’s pediatrician before starting him or her on a baby formula regimen to rule out any allergies or lactose intolerance they may have beforehand. There are many different types of baby formulas to choose from based on your baby’s digestive capabilities.
The following are examples of what you may come across during your hunt for baby formula:
- Cow’s milk-based formula
- Soy-based formula – contains no animal proteins
- Iron-fortified formula
- Rice starch formula - for babies with acid reflux
- Toddler formula for babies between 9 – 24 months
- Organic formula - contains no genetically engineered ingredients
- Amino acid-based formula - for babies who can’t handle milk, soy or elemental formula
- Elemental formula - for babies that allergies to both milk proteins and soy milk
- Premature baby formula - contains extra calories and additional nutrients for premature and underweight babies
Formula feeding basics
Suckling from a baby bottle nipple is second to nature for babies so you shouldn’t worry about the so-called nipple confusion or your baby not being able to latch on. As a mom, you might be tempted to feed a baby the minute they start crying, but there are obvious signs that will let you know that they are ready for a feed without necessarily throwing a fit.
A baby will either suck furiously on her hands, open her mouth, suck on their lip or tongue and make smacking sounds. She will also nuzzle against your breast if you're cuddling her or turn her head to the side with her mouth open to find the source of food, especially when you stroke her head or cheek.
Your baby might take bottle feeding as soon as you place it in his or her mouth or it may take a few coaxing attempts. Something to keep in mind is formula-fed babies tend to be on the heavier side, therefore, it’s important to keep a feeding schedule to mitigate overfeeding also don’t feed your child more than 32 ounces of formula in a day, an infant, for example, may not finish a whole bottle of formula.
Your goal is to watch your baby’s feeding patterns and determine how much to feed him or her.
- It’s important to sterilize feeding bottles, nipples, and rings in a pot of boiling water before every use
- Follow the mixing instructions and ratios to a tee to ensure that your baby gets all the nutrition he or she needs
- Use sterile water while mixing the baby formula and use either a bottle warmer a bowl of hot water to warm the bottle to room temperature. Never warm the bottle in the microwave because it will create hot spots, which will burn your baby's mouth
- Don’t shake the bottle vigorously as this will create bubbles that will translate to gassiness on your baby’s tummy. Instead, swirl the formula gently until it’s completely incorporated
- Always check the temperature of the milk. It should feel lukewarm on the back of your palm
- Stroke or drop a little milk on the lips to encourage your baby to root
- Tilt the bottle upward so that there’s always milk in the nipple failure to, your baby will be swallowing copious amounts of milk and air, which will result to gassiness
- If your baby falls asleep or turns away from the bottle after drinking a few ounces steadily, stop the feeding and commence burping. You might want to offer the bottle again just to see that your baby has had enough
- Never put the baby down with the bottle still in the mouth because the baby can choke. Also, it can lead to ear infections and tooth decay
- Check for formula allergies such as excessive gassiness, diarrhea, excessively hard stools, spitting up, vomiting, and poor weight gain