How to Feed With Formula

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Safety First When Mixing A Bottle

If you are using a formula that needs to be mixed, make sure the bottle is cleaned properly, and that you follow the instructions to provide the safest, cleanest bottles of formula possible to your baby. You might learn over time that certain bottles produce less gas, or you might prefer certain bottles better, This might be learned by trial and error.

Although it is commonly believed that you have to give a baby a warmed up bottle, this is a commonly held misconception. Babies can have their bottles cold, room temperature, or warmed up. Some babies prefer cold bottles, and by encouraging this early, it could save lots of time down the road.

If you do choose to warm a bottle, do it by putting the bottle in hot (never boiling) water, or a bottle warmer, so that you don’t make the contents dangerously hot for the baby’s mouth. 

Signs That Baby Is Hungry

Babies display a lot of different hints besides crying to show that they are hungry. These include:

  • “Rooting” – if you stroke the cheek of a hungry baby, their head will automatically turn towards that cheek because they are rooting around for a nipple to feed on. The same will happen if you hold a hungry baby up to your chest. 
  • Nuzzling anybody’s breasts who is holding the baby
  • Chewing on or sucking their own hands, your arm, or trying to suck your fingers
  • Constantly keeping their mouth open
  • Making lip-smacking noises or making odd faces with their mouth
  • A cry that rises and falls in intensity, and is often in a low pitch

Socialization and Touch is Important Too

By snuggling up to the bottle-fed baby and making eye contact, important bonding takes place and gives the baby the nurturing and human contact he or she needs to be developmentally on time. Since there is no breastfeeding, there is less skin to skin contact, so this close snuggling and eye contact is especially important. The same goes if grandparents, siblings, aunts or uncles, etc feed the baby. Discourage others from feeding the baby while he or she sits in a car seat, or where it is little or no skin or eye contact, if at all possible. 

Generic Tips For Formula Feeding

  • Always wash your hands before preparing formula. Nurses learn to wash their hands for 20 full seconds, or as long as it takes to sing the “happy birthday” song twice to make sure the hands are adequately clean. 
  • Never use formula that is expired or in a container that has been punctured or damaged.
  • Shake up “ready to feed” bottles well before every use.
  • If you are using canned formula, make sure your can opener is clean, and clean any dust off of the lid before using.
  • Never water formula down or try to stretch formula if you can’t afford it. Contact your doctor about how to obtain help to get enough formula, or how to switch to a formula you can afford.
  • Do not feed (unsterile) powdered formula to premature or immuno-depressed infants unless explicitly told to by your doctor.
  • Water should be boiled before using in powdered formula. If you have any concerns about lead or other contaminants in your tap water, boiling bottled or distilled water is the best-case scenario. Just using unboiled bottled or distilled water is not a good option, either. It should also be boiled first, and of course, all mixed formula should be cooled down to around room temperature before feeding.

Visit Milk Drunk for more tips about feeding your baby.