Many parents will ask why they can’t just feed their baby regular cow’s milk. The answer is simple: young infants can’t digest cow’s milk as easily as they can digest formula. Cows milk has high concentrations of protein and minerals, which will stress a newborn’s immature kidneys and cause fever, or diarrhea. Cows milk also lacks the proper amounts of iron, vitamin C, and other nutrients that infants require. In addition, it can cause iron-deficiency anemia in babies, since cows’s milk protein can irritate the lining of the stomach and intestine, leading to loss of blood in the stools. Cows milk also doesn’t contain the healthiest types of fat for growing babies. For all of these reasons, you should make sure that your baby doesn’t receive any cow’s milk for the first twelve months of life. In this article, “The How To Of Formula Feeding” we will go over all the different kinds of formula, how to prepare and store formula as well as how to go about feeding your baby formula.
Once your baby is past one year old, you can give him whole cow’s milk ( preferably organic ) provided that he has a balanced diet of solid foods, including cereals, vegetables, fruits, and meats. Try to limit his intake of milk to one quart ( 32 ounces ) per day. More than this will decrease his appetite for the other foods he needs throughout the day. If your baby is not yet consuming a broad range of solid foods, talk to your pediatrician about the best nutrition for him.
At this age, babies still need a higher fat content, which is why organic, whole, vitamin D milk is recommended for most babies after one year old. If your child is overweight or at risk for being overweight, or if there is a family history of obesity, then your pediatrician may recommend 2% milk. Don’t give your baby 1% ( low – fat ) or nonfat ( skimmed ) milk before his second birthday. In addition to requiring a higher fat content to maintain normal weight gain, it is also important to aid his body absorb vitamins A and D. In addition, nonfat, or skimmed, milk gives too high a concentration of protein and minerals and shouldn’t be given to infants or toddlers under-age two.
In the United States, to maintain our safety standards for infant health, an act of Congress governs the contents of all infant formula, and the Food and Drug Administration monitors all formulas. When you go shopping for infant formula, you will find several basic types.
Cow’s Milk-Based Formulas – account for about 80% of the formula on the market today. Mind you that although cow’s milk is the basis for such formulas, the milk has been changed dramatically to make it safe and healthy for infants to consume. It’s treated by heating to make the protein more digestible. More milk sugar (lactose) is added to make the concentration equivalent to breast milk, and then the fat( butterfat ) is removed and replaced with vegetable oils and other fats that are good for infant growth and easily digested.
In recent decades, cow’s milk formula has dramatically reduced the rate of iron-deficiency anemia in infancy due to the fact that it is iron-fortified. Iron is a mineral that is important for normal human growth and development. Some babies just do not have enough natural reserves of iron to meet their needs. It is because this reason that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that iron fortified formula be used for all infants who are not breastfeeding, or who are only partially breastfeeding from birth to one year of age.
Low-iron formula shouldn’t be used because they do not provide enough iron to optimally support your baby’s growth and development. Some moms worry that the iron in infant formula is causing constipation but that isn’t true. Most formulas also have DHA ( Docosahexaenoic Acid ) and ARA ( Arachidonic Acid ) added to them which are both “fatty acids” that are believed to be important for the development of your baby’s brain and eyes.
Another type of formula are hydrolyzed formulas or “predigested,” meaning that their protein content has already been broken down into smaller proteins that can be digested by your baby more easily. In babies who have a high risk of developing allergies ( due to family history, for example ) and who haven’t been breastfed exclusively for four to six months, there is evidence that skin conditions like eczema or atopic dermatitis can be prevented by feeding them extensively or partially hydrolyzed ( hypoallergenic ) formulas. These hydrolyzed formulas tend to be more expensive than regular formula. Your pediatrician can advise you on whether your baby is a candidate for hydrolyzed formula.
Soy Formulas contain a protein ( soy ) and carbohydrate ( either sucrose or glucose ) different from cow’s milk-based formula. They are sometimes recommended for babies who are unable to digest lactose, which is the main carbohydrate in cow’s milk formula.( FYI : simple lactose-free cow’s milk based formula is also available. ) Many babies have brief periods when they can’t digest lactose, usually following bouts of diarrhea, which can damage the digestive enzymes in the lining of the intestines. Usually this is only a temporary problem and doesn’t require a change in your baby’s diet. But it is really rare for babies to have a significant problem digesting and absorbing lactose. When there is a true milk allergy present, it will cause colic, failure to thrive, and even bloody diarrhea. That means the allergy is to the protein in cows milk formula. Lets just say that your pediatrician suggests a lactose-free formula, just know that it gives your baby everything he needs to grow and develop just like a lactose-containing formula does.
Some strict vegan parents choose to use soy formula because it has no animal products. Remember that breastfeeding is the absolute best option or vegetarian families. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that there are few rare circumstances in which soy formula should be used instead of cow’s milk based formula. One of these situations is when a baby has a rare disorder called galactosemia; children who have this condition have an intolerance to galactose, which is one of the two sugars that make up lactose, and they can’t tolerate breast milk either so they need to be fed a formula free of lactose. Most states include a galactosemia test during routine newborn screening after birth.
Specialized Formulas are manufactured for babies who have specific disorders or diseases. There are also formulas made specifically for premature babies. If your pediatrician recommends a specialized formula for your baby, follow her guidance about feeding requirements ( like the amounts, scheduling, and special preparations ) since it might be different from regular formula
Most baby formula is available in ready-to-feed liquid forms, concentrates and powders. Although ready-to-feed formulas are convenient, they are the most expensive. Formula made from concentrate is made by mixing equal amounts of concentrate and water. If the entire can is not used, the remainder can be covered and left in fridge for no more than 48 hours. Powder, the least expensive form, either comes in a can with a scoop or pre-measured packets. To prepare most formula, you will add one level scoop of powder for every 2 ounces ( 60 ml ) of water, and then you need to mix it thoroughly by covering the bottle and shaking it vigorously to make sure there are no clumps of undissolved powder in the bottle. The lumps will dissolve faster and the solution will mix more easily if you use room-temperature water.
Aside from the price, an advantage of the powder is its lightweight and portable. The powder will not spoil, even if you keep it in a bottle for several days before you add water. If you chose a formula that requires preparation, make sure you follow the manufacturers directions exactly. If you add too much water, your baby will not get the calories and nutrients he needs for proper growth: and if you don’t add enough water, the high concentration of formula could cause diarrhea and dehydration.
Make sure all bottles, nipples, and other utensils used to prepare the formula, or feed your baby, are clean. You can use a bottle steamer to sanitize all your bottle and bottle parts.
Any formula you prepare in advance should be stored in the fridge to discourage bacterial growth. If you do not use the refrigerated formula within 24 hours then throw it out. Refrigerated formula does not necessarily need to be warmed up for your infant, but more babies prefer it at least at room temperature. You can either leave the bottle out for an hour so it can reach room temperature or warm it up in a bowl of hot water. If you warm it up, test it in advance to make sure its not too hot your baby. The easiest way to check the temperature is to shake a few drops on the inside of your wrist.
The bottles you use may be plastic, glass, or plastic with a soft plastic liner. These inner liners are convenient to use and they also help limit the amount of air your baby swallows when he sucks, but they are also more expensive. As your baby gets older and can hold the bottle himself, avoid using breakable glass bottles. Also, bottles that are designed to promote self-feeding aren’t recommended as they may contribute to nursing-bottle tooth decay. When milk collects behind the teeth, then bacterial growth occurs. Also, self-feeding while lying down on the back has been shown to contribute to ear infections. Infants and toddlers should not receive a bottle to suck on during nighttime. If your give your baby a feeding during bedtime, take the bottle away before he falls asleep.
In selecting bottles, you may have to try several nipples before finding the right one your baby prefers. You can choose among the standard rubber nipples, orthodontic ones, and special ones for babies who have cleft palates and special ones for premature babies. Whichever type you choose, make sure you always check the size of the hole. If it is too small, your baby may suck so hard that he swallows too much air; if its too big, the formula will flow so fast that he will gag & choke. Ideally, formula should be flowing at a rate of one drop per second when you first turn the bottle upside down.
Feeding times should be relaxing, enjoyable and comforting for both you and your baby. They give you opportunities to show your love and to get to just know each other. If you are calm and content, your baby will respond in kind. If you are nervous or agitated, he may pick up these negative feeding and a feeding problem can result.
You probably will be the most comfortable in a chair with arms or in one with pillows that let you prop up your own arms as you feed your baby. While supporting his head, cradle him in a semi upright position. Do not feed him while he is lying down totally flat because this will increase the risk of choking. It can also cause formula to flow to the middle ear, where it can cause an infection.
So, while you have your baby in an upright position, as you hold the bottle in his mouth, make sure to hold the bottle up so that formula fills the neck of the bottle and covers the nipple while you feed baby. This prevents baby from swallowing air as he sucks. To get him to open his mouth and grab the nipple, you need to stimulate his rooting reflex by stroking the nipple against the lower lip or cheek. Once the nipple is in his mouth, he’ll begin to suck and swallow naturally.
After the first couple days, your formula fed newborn will take from 2 to 3 ounces (60-90ml) of formula per feeding. They will also eat every three to four hours on average during the first few weeks. (Breastfed babies take smaller, more frequent feedings other than formula fed babies) It is probably a good idea to write down your baby’s feeding schedule, the time your baby ate and how much they ate vs how much you prepared.
During the first month, if your infant sleeps longer than four to five hours and consequently starts missing feedings, wake him up and offer a bottle. By the end of the first month, he will up to four ounces (120ml) per feeding, with a predictable schedule of feeding of every four hours. By six months, your baby will be drinking 6 to 8 ounces (180ml – 240 ml) at each of five feedings within twenty-four hours.
On average, your baby should be taking in about 2 1/2 ounces (75ml) of formula a day for every pound (453grams) of body weight. He will most likely regulate his intake from day to day meet his own specific needs. So instead of going by fixed amounts, just let him tell you when he has had enough. If he becomes fidgety or easily distracted during a feeding, it probably means that he is finished or full. If he drains the bottle and still continues to smacking his lips, then he might still be hungry!
Mind you there are high and low limits. Most babies are satisfied with 3 to 4 ounces (90ml – 120ml) per feeding during the first month then you increase that amount by 1 ounce (30ml) per month until they reach a max of about 8 ounces (240ml.) If your baby consistently seems to want more or less than this, it would be a good idea to discuss this with your pediatrician. Your baby shouldn’t be drinking any more than 32 ounces (960ml) within 24 hours. Some babies have a higher need for sucking and what you might interpret as hunger could simply be your baby just wanting to suck on a pacifier after a feeding.
Initially it is in your best interests to feed your formula fed newborn on demand, or whenever he cries because he is hungry. As time passes, he will begin to develop a fairly regular timetable of his own. Then as you become familiar with his signals and needs, you will be able to schedule his feedings around his routine.
Between two and four months of age ( or when your baby weighs more than 12 pounds [5.4kg]), most formula fed babies don’t need a middle of the night feeding anymore. This is because they are consuming more during the day and their sleeping patterns have become more regular ( although I will tell you that this varies considerably from baby to baby, as my baby did not sleep through the night until he was one years old ) Their stomach capacity has increased also, which means they may go longer between their daytime feedings – occasionally up to five hours at a time. If your baby still seems to feed very frequently or consumes larger amounts, then try distracting him by playing with him or offering a pacifier. Its important not to overfeed your baby because sometimes patterns of obesity happen during infancy.
Regardless of whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, the most important thing to remember is that your baby’s feedings are unique. I cannot tell you precisely how much or how often she needs to be fed or exactly how you should handler her during feedings. You will discover these things yourself in time, as you and your baby get to just know one another.
Fed is best. If you are considering Breastfeeding however, then please read “The How To Of Baby Breastfeeding.” For more information about both breastfeeding and formula feeding please read, “The How To Of Baby Feeding”
Let me know in the comments below if you are planning on formula feeding or breastfeeding, or maybe both?