There are many commercially available infant formulas available on the market. They are all regulated by the government and are nutritionally complete except for low iron formula- Never feed your baby a low iron formula! It is important to discuss the type of formula that you are using with your health care provider. If you feel your baby is not tolerating the formula, please call your health care provider before you change the formula.

When you bottle-feed your baby, it is important that you are seated comfortably with your baby in your arms. Hold the bottle so that the neck of the bottle and nipple are always filled with formula. This prevents swallowing air. If your baby doesn’t waste energy sucking air, he’s more likely to take enough formula to satisfy him. Air in his stomach may give him a false sense of being full and may make him very uncomfortable.

Your baby has a strong, natural desire to suck. For him, sucking is part of the pleasure of feeding time. Babies will continue sucking on nipples even after they have collapsed. So take the nipple out of your baby’s mouth occasionally to keep the nipple from collapsing. This makes it easier for him to suck, and lets him rest a bit.

Never prop up the bottle and leave the baby to feed himself. The bottle can easily slip into the wrong position. Remember, too, your baby needs the security and pleasure it gives to be held at feeding time. It is a time for both of you to enjoy each other and relax.

Formula Preparation

Infant formulas come in Ready-To-Feed, Concentrated Liquid, and Powder. The more convenient the preparation, the more expensive it is. Pick a preparation that best suits your needs. All will meet your baby’s nutritional requirements when used as directed. Bear in mind that the ready to feed formulation may permanently stain clothing.

     Guidelines to follow when preparing formula:
   * Follow the directions on the label carefully
   * Wash your hands before preparing the formula and bottles
   * Water does not need to be boiled in the Chicagoland area
   * Bottled or filtered water is fine to use too
   * Keep prepared bottles in the refrigerator until needed
   * Use within 48 hours from the time the formula was mixed or opened
   * Throw out any formula left in the bottle when your baby stops eating
   * Do not add cereal or other foods to the bottle
   * Do not warm formula in the microwave
   * Warm formula under warm, running water

After feeding, wash bottles and nipples in hot sudsy water or dishwasher. Squeeze water through the holes in the nipples.

Feeding Schedule

Bottle-fed babies usually do not require feeding more frequently than every 3 to 4 hours. An occasional shorter interval is perfectly normal. The amount of formula your baby takes will vary. Babies have a right not to be hungry sometimes, and you can’t make a baby want to eat.

Most babies feed for 15 to 20 minutes. You will probably find that sometimes your baby will finish the bottle and sometimes he won’t. Don’t worry, this is normal. As your baby grows and gains weight, he will need more formula. When your baby regularly drinks the entire bottle and cries for more, it may be time to increase the amount of his formula. Call your health care provider for guidance. Typically, a newborn baby takes 1-3 ounces at each feeding.

Prior to feeding your baby, test the temperature of the formula by shaking a few drops onto the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, but not hot.

Test the holes in the nipples regularly. Nipple holes should be the right size to help your baby suck easily. The warm milk should drip out as rapidly as possible without forming a stream. Holes that are too small may tire your baby and frustrate him before the feeding is done. If the holes are too large, your baby gets too much formula too fast, and may not get enough sucking to satisfy him. Throw out worn, cracked, or gummy nipples and those with large holes.