Promoting Healthy Growth and Development
Buying formula and supplies
Try to buy your formula and supplies before the baby is born. You can buy Reference infant formula as a liquid concentrate or a powder that you mix with water. Formulas also come in a ready-to-feed form, which costs the most. Always use an iron-fortified formula unless your doctor advises otherwise. If you have questions about which infant formula is right for your baby, talk with your doctor.
Reference When you buy baby bottles and nipples, make sure you have a supply of small bottles [about 4 fl oz (120 mL)] for your baby's first few weeks. You may want to buy a variety of different bottle nipples so you can experiment to see which type your baby prefers.
Preparing infant formula
Some things to keep in mind when you prepare infant formula:
- Make sure you have clean, Reference safe water to prepare infant formula. Boil water—even bottled water—for 1 to 2 minutes, and let it cool before you mix it with the formula. You may want to check with your local water supplier about your water's Reference fluoride Opens New Window level.
- Reference Wash your hands before you prepare formula. And make sure the equipment you use, including the mixer and the top of a can of powder, are clean.
- Add the required amount of water to mix the formula. If you add too little water, it can upset your baby's stomach and may harm his or her kidneys. If you add too much water, your baby will not get the nutrition he or she needs.
- Cover the prepared formula and store it in a refrigerator. It should be used within 24 hours.
- Soak dirty baby bottles in water and dish detergent. Wash bottles and nipples in the upper rack of the dishwasher or hand-wash them in hot water with dish detergent. Some doctors recommend boiling bottles and nipples for 5 to 10 minutes after washing them.
Feeding your baby
Always wash your hands before feeding your baby.
- Warm the formula to room temperature or body temperature before feeding. It is best to warm it in a pan of heated water for 5 to 10 minutes before you feed your baby. Don't use the microwave. Microwaving formula can cause hot spots in the formula that can burn your baby's mouth. Before you feed your baby, check the temperature of the formula by dropping a small amount on the inside part of your wrist. It should be warm, not cold or hot.
- Place a bib or cloth under your baby's chin to help keep his or her clothes clean. Have a second cloth handy to use when burping your baby.
- Hold your baby in a semi-upright position, with your baby's head resting in the crook of your elbow. Keep your baby's head higher than his or her chest.
- Stroke the center of the baby's lower lip to encourage your baby to open his or her mouth wider. With an open mouth, the wider part of the bottle nipple will fit, allowing your baby to make a tight seal between his or her mouth and the bottle nipple. This helps reduce the amount of air the baby sucks in.
- Angle the bottle so that the neck of the bottle and nipple stay full of milk. This helps reduce the amount of air your baby swallows while feeding.
- Do not prop the bottle in your baby's mouth or let him or her hold it alone. These practices deprive your baby of time when he or she should be close to you.
During the first few weeks, Reference burp your baby after every 2 fl oz (60 mL) of formula. This helps get rid of swallowed air, reducing the chances of your baby Reference spitting up Opens New Window. Most babies need less frequent burping as they get older.
You will know your baby is full when he or she stops sucking continuously. Usually, as babies get full, they pause frequently during feeding. Also, your baby may spit out the nipple, turn his or her head away, or fall asleep when full. Throw away any formula left in the bottle after you have fed your baby, because bacteria can grow in the leftover formula.
Feeding is a good time for social contact with your baby, so don't rush. Look into your baby's eyes and talk or sing while you are giving the bottle. This contact helps your baby feel close to you and is important for healthy growth and development. Wear a short-sleeved shirt to give more skin-to-skin contact. Sit in a comfortable chair with your arms supported on pillows.
- How to prevent tooth decay. After your baby's teeth start coming in, it is a good idea to clean them after the last formula feeding at night. Use a soft cloth or gauze pad at first. As more teeth come in, clean them with a soft toothbrush, using only water for the first few months. If you are not sure about the fluoride levels in your drinking water, talk to your doctor or dentist. Fluoride supplements are sometimes recommended but must be used with caution. Talk with your doctor about other ways to Reference prevent tooth decay in your young child. For more information, see the topics Reference Teething and Reference Basic Dental Care.
- When to offer liquids from a cup. You can start offering liquids from a cup when your baby is about 6 months old. But make sure your baby continues to get nutrition largely from breast milk or formula until he or she is 12 months old. After that time, try to have your child use a cup instead of a bottle. This can help your child avoid problems such as Reference bottle mouth tooth decay Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. And to help prevent injuries from using bottles and cups during unsteady walking, have your child stay seated while drinking.
- Whether to give a vitamin D supplement. If you are bottle-feeding formula and your baby drinks at least 32 fl oz (1 L) each day, he or she does not need a Reference vitamin D Opens New Window supplement.Reference 2 Most doctors suggest daily vitamin D supplements for babies who are breast-fed or who get a mixture of breast milk and formula, starting by age 2 months. Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of vitamin D are right for your child.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics