How To Introduce Formula To Breastfed Babies: The Parents Guide To Supplementing With Formula
Making the transition from breastfeeding to formula feeding can be challenging, to say the least. A mothers choice to breastfeed is extremely personal and can be affected by several factors. Whats most important is a happy, well-fed baby. Exclusively formula feeding or combining breastfeeding with formula feeding can often be hugely beneficial for both mothers and babies.
Here at Little Bundle, we believe its important that mothers realize that exclusively formula feeding isnt a failure of any kind. You know whats best for your baby, and we want you to feel confident that youre making the right choice, whatever that choice may be. Its also important to remember that there is no best formula. What works for one baby may not work for others, and thats completely fine! If your little one is fed, loved, and happy, then youve made the best choice for your baby.
The great news is that introducing formula to breastfed babies is easier than you might think. It will probably take some time, but its nothing that you and your baby cant handle! Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that there are so many wonderful formulas these days. Youre bound to find one that you and your baby loves, and you can continue to bond with your baby during feeds, while also feeling confident that youre giving your baby the absolute best alternative to breast milk.
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk
If youre worried about your babys appetite and whether they are getting enough milk, their nappies are quite a good indicator to give you a steer. Youre going to become very familiar, and potentially a little obsessed, with the contents of your babys nappy!
In addition to your babys weight gain, the number of wet and dirty nappies will show you whether your little one is eating enough. In the beginning, you’ll probably be changing at least six wet and four dirty nappies every day . When changing your babys nappies, check to ensure your little ones urine is clear or pale and it will probably feel a little weighty . As a newborn, your little ones poos will probably be very dark and sticky, but after the first week they should start passing yellowish brown poos. Welcome to the joys of parenthood!
How To Make Up A Feed
If youâre using powdered milk, follow the seven steps below to make up a feed. Always read the manufacturerâs instructions carefully and ask your midwife or health visitor if thereâs anything youâre not sure about.
Always make the formula just before you need to use it and donât reuse any formula milk thatâs been left over from a previous feed.
Make sure the surfaces youâre using are cleaned and disinfected, and the feeding bottle and accessories are also cleaned and sterilised.
Boil at least 1 litre of fresh tap water in a kettle, then leave it to cool for no more than 30 minutes .
Stand the bottle on the disinfected surface, and â following the manufacturerâs instructions â pour the correct amount of hot water from the kettle into the bottle. Be careful to check the water level.
Again, following the manufacturerâs instructions carefully, use the scoop supplied with the formula to add the powder to the water in the bottle. Donât forget to level off each scoop of powder with a clean, dry knife or the provided leveller.
Insert the teat into its retaining ring and screw it on.
Put the cap over the teat and shake the bottle until all the powder is dissolved.
Cool the bottle under cold running water or leaving it to stand in a bowl of cold water.
Test the temperature of the formula by dripping some onto the inside of your wrist â it should be warm or cool, but not hot.
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Actions For This Page
- Breastmilk is the feeding option of choice for infants.
- If breastmilk is not available, then infant formula is a suitable alternative.
- Breastmilk or formula should be the main milk used until the baby is 12 months old.
- Choose a formula to match the age and needs of your baby, and always read the label carefully as labels for other products can look very similar to those for infants.
- If you believe your baby has a problem with feeding, discuss this with your maternal and child health nurse or doctor before switching brands.
How Much Should My Baby Drink
In the first few weeks, mix 2- to 3-ounce bottles for your newborn. Gradually increase this amount as you become familiar with your baby’s eating patterns and appetite. Here’s a general look at how much your baby may be eating at different stages:
- On average, a newborn drinks about 1.5-3 ounces every 2-3 hours. This amount increases as your baby grows and is able to take more at each feeding.
- At about 2 months, your baby may be taking 4-5 ounces at each feeding and the feedings may be every 3-4 hours.
- At 4 months, your baby may be taking 4-6 ounces at each feeding, depending on the frequency of feedings and his or her size.
- By 6 months, your baby may be taking 6-8 ounces every 4 to 5 hours. This also depends on whether you’ve introduced any baby food.
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How Do I Know My Baby Is Hungry
Signs that babies are hungry include:
- moving their heads from side to side
- opening their mouths
- placing their hands, fingers, and fists to their mouths
- puckering their lips as if to suck
- nuzzling again their mothers’ breasts
- showing the rooting reflex
Despite what you might think, crying is a late sign of hunger. You should give a feeding before your baby gets so hungry that he or she gets upset and becomes difficult to calm down.
It’s also important, however, to realize that every time your baby cries it is not necessarily because of hunger. Sometimes babies just need to be cuddled or changed. Or they could be overstimulated, bored, or too hot or too cold. If your baby cries only an hour after a good feeding, there may be something else causing the distress.
Infant Tylenol Recommendations By Age And Weight
Its important to give your infant the right amount of medication. Giving too much could make your child sick, and lead to complications like liver damage. It can even result in an accidental overdose and death.
As far as how much to give your baby, the package does offer recommendations based on age and weight. But in most cases, doctors recommend using a childs weight to determine a safe amount of medicine. This applies to infants, as well as toddlers who take infant Tylenol.
Recommendations for age and weight are as follows:
|24 to 35 lbs.||5 mL|
Dont let this chart discourage you or take it to mean you cant use Tylenol before your little one is 2 years old.
In fact, most pediatricians actually encourage the short-term use of Tylenol in younger babies in certain circumstances like pain from an ear infection, post-vaccination symptoms, and fever.
Most commonly, pediatricians recommend 1.5 to 2.5 mL for infants in their first year, based on their weight.
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How To Be Sure Your Baby Is Getting Enough Formula
Rather than strictly following a chart to decide how many ounces or millilitres a baby should eat at a given age or weight, experts advise feeding âon demandâ in response to the feeding cues listed above.
As long as your little one is gaining weight normally and producing enough wet nappies, you can be pretty certain he or she is getting enough formula.
From the first few days after being born itâs normal to see around six heavy nappies, soaked with pale or clear urine, every day.
Your baby will usually be weighed a few times in the first 10 days after birth, and then once a month after that â at monthly health and development reviews â until the age of 6 months.
During the health and development reviews your health visitor and/or doctor will use growth charts to keep track of your babyâs growth and weight gain.
These visits are also a great opportunity for you to ask questions or discuss any concerns you might have. But if youâre ever concerned about whether your baby is eating enough, you can always turn to your midwife or doctor between the scheduled visits.
What Do I Need To Make Formula
You will need the following items to make formula and feed it to your baby:
- Bottles, rings, nipples, discs, caps
- Tongs, spoons, mixing utensils, can opener
- Digital thermometer
- Large pot with a lid or a kettle for boiling water
- Safe drinking water
If you do not have a safe source of drinking water, use ready-to-feed formula. You can also make store-bought liquid concentrate or powdered formulas with bottled water that has an unopened seal. If you are not sure if your water is safe, check with your local public health unit.
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Convert Your Baby’s Weight To Pounds
One pound equals 16 ounces . To convert the extra ounces into pounds, divide the ounces by 16. For example, if your baby weighs 8 pounds 4 ounces, this equals 8.25 pounds.
If you are using kilograms, multiply your baby’s weight in kilograms by 2.2 to get their weight in pounds.
Using the example above, a baby weighing 3.74 kilograms converts to 8.25 pounds .
Topics Covered For Formula Feeding
If your baby is healthy, skip the “What to Do” section. Go directly to the topic number that relates to your question for advice:
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Why Babies Need Formula Rather Than Cows Milk
All baby formula has added vitamins, minerals and fats that babies need, which they cant get from straight cows milk.
Also, babies cant digest cows milk as completely or easily as breastmilk or formula. The protein level in cows milk is too high for babies, so some is taken out for infant formula.
For these reasons, you shouldnt give cows milk to your baby as the main milk drink until your baby is over 12 months old.
Babies under 12 months of age should not have:
- normal cows milk as a main drink
- skim, evaporated, powdered or sweetened condensed milk
- dairy alternatives like soy, rice, almond or coconut milk.
For most healthy full-term babies, breastmilk or cows milk-based baby formulas are recommended until 12 months of age. If youre thinking of feeding your baby something other than breastmilk or cows milk-based formula, talk to your paediatrician, GP or child and family health nurse first.
How To Choose Formula
Talk with your baby’s health care provider about what formula is best for your baby. Although there are many types of formula, most babies do well with one that is cow-milk based.
Unless your baby’s health care provider advises against it, choose a formula that is iron-fortified. This is important to prevent iron deficiency, which can slow development.
Once made up, all formula must be refrigerated. Formula should be thrown out after 24 hours if it has not been used.
The different types of formula are:
- powder. This is the least expensive. It does not need to be refrigerated until it is mixed with water. If you are going to be away from home, you may choose a brand that comes in individual packets. This option is more convenient, although more costly.
- concentrated liquid. This needs to have water added to it. It is more expensive than powder. It also must be refrigerated once the container is opened.
- ready-to-use formula. This is the most convenient and the most costly. It can be handy for the times when mixing might be difficult.
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Combining Breastfeeding And Infant Formula Feeding
Feeding your baby any amount of breastmilk has benefits for you and your baby. You might be able to combine breastfeeding with formula feeding if you are unable to give your baby only breastmilk. Here are some tips to help you:
- Try to breastfeed first before giving formula.
- Any breastmilk has benefits to mother and baby, even if it is only a few drops.
- The more you can express or breastfeed, the more milk you will make.
Signs Of Hunger And Fullness
Whether you’re using a formula, nursing, pumping, or a combination of all these feeding methods, tune in to your baby’s hunger and fullness cues before you start crunching numbers. While each baby is unique, these are are some common hunger cues to watch for:
- Crying or fussiness
- Opening of his mouth when touched on his chin or lips
- Smacking of lips or making small sounds with his mouth
- Sucking on fingers or placing fist in mouth
Fullness cues include:
- Stopping feeding or only taking a few sucks before pausing
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Is There A One
Before we get into the details, lets make one thing clear: everyones baby is different, and thats okay! Your baby may or may not eat as much as general guidelines suggest. A crucial thing to keep in mind is that you need to listen to your baby. Most of the time, they know what they need in terms of food supply- while doing this, you should also try to stay away from extremes.
Use of general trends and guidelines as benchmarks. These are great resources to see if your baby is eating as much formula on average or if you might need to investigate further. Just remember not to worry too much if your baby doesnt follow these exactly. Also as said previously, it is important to not derive too much from feeding recommendations.
Amount Of Formula Required
From five days to three months, a full-term, healthy baby will need about 150 ml of prepared formula per kilogram of body weight, every day. For example, a baby who weighs 3 kg will need 450 ml of prepared infant formula each day.From three to six months, this falls to 120 ml of infant formula per kilogram of body weight each day. From six to 12 months, it falls again to between 90 and 120 ml of infant formula per kilogram of body weight each day.Premature babies need more formula. At first, they usually need about 160180 ml of formula per kilogram of body weight per day. Your neonatal doctor or maternal and child health nurse will advise you.See your doctor or maternal and child health nurse if you are worried about your babys appetite or growth.
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