How Adding Formula Can Affect Your Baby
If youve only been breastfeeding, slowly adding supplements to their feeding sessions will likely have some noticeable impacts on your baby.
To that end, a few natural adjustments may include:
- Longer breaks between feedings Its much easier for a baby belly to digest breast milk than an infant or toddler formula. This makes them feel fuller for longer. As a result, once you start supplementing, your baby may not seem to gain an appetite as quickly after a meal.
- Refusing the bottle Some babies take a while to transition from the breast to bottle feeding. Others flat out refuse. A baby may need some coaxing to make the switch.
- Refusing the breast On the flip side, some babies and infants take a liking to formulaso much so that they no longer want to nurse. For many young ones, drinking formula is easier and more satisfying than breastfeeding.
- Bowel movement changes If you add formula to your babys diet, you can expect to notice changes in the color, consistency, and pattern of your babys stool. Bowel movements may occur less frequently, have a stronger odor, and become darker and firmer.
What Are Signs That Your Baby May Need A Supplemental Formula
Typically, doctors highlight specific signals that prove your baby is receiving an adequate amount of breast milk. These include but are not limited to:
If you notice that your baby has lost more weight than normal, they arent producing enough diapers, or their nursing sessions are either overly long or short, it may be a sign that your baby needs supplemental formula to help their growth.
Consult with your doctor immediately to determine the proper course of action.
After youve added formula to the feeding routine, be sure to monitor signs of your babys growth and constitution. If the baby is happy, growing steadily, and producing wet diapers, you should be on the right track. However, keep an eye out for signs of vomiting or tummy pain, which could indicate that your baby is ingesting too much formula.
Can I Adjust The Mixing Instructions Of My Babys Formula On My Own
No, unless you have been explicitly instructed to do so by your childs healthcare provider and/or pediatric dietitian. Certain formulas can be concentrated or diluted, but this is only done on a case-by-case basis, as needed, and with ongoing medical supervision. Otherwise, continue to follow the mixing instructions on the formula container.
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Introduce A Bottle Early But Not Too Early
The sweet spot for introducing bottles for full term babies is usually between 2 and 6 weeks of age, said Rosenfeld. If you do it before you and your baby are in a groove with breastfeeding, she warned, your baby may learn to prefer the faster, easier flow from the bottle and lose interest in the breast.
But even more important than age, according to Dr. Neifert, is whether your baby is latching well, getting full feeds at the breast and gaining well. Some babies get the hang of nursing sooner than others.
Once your baby is nursing effectively and gaining weight, however, dont wait too much longer before introducing the bottle because the baby might reject it. Babies sucking reflexes typically start fading at around 6 to 8 weeks, so its best to introduce a bottle before this reflex has faded so your baby reflexively sucks on the bottle nipple.
Start Slowly Use The Right Nipple Relax And Enlist Help
Start by offering bottles filled with just a half ounce or so .
If your baby has been exclusively breastfed, Rosenfeld recommended starting with a wide, slow flow nipple that mimics the shape and flow of your own nipples, decreasing the chance that your baby will find it easier to get milk from a bottle than the breast.
A baby older than 3 months, however, may become frustrated with a slow flow bottle, especially if moms breasts have a fast flow, Rosenfeld warned. In that case, she recommended trying a faster flow nipple.
To ensure that baby is happy, relaxed and not too hungry, offer a bottle one to two hours after your babys last feeding. Crying is a late sign of hunger, and a hungry baby is easily frustrated.
If you are the first to offer the bottle, your baby may refuse and insist on nursing. Instead, ask your partner or another familiar caregiver to offer the first few bottles, if you can. This will not only help your baby get used to bottle feeding, but will help establish a feeding relationship with your partner , too.
Whomever is giving the bottle should try to relax and follow your babys cues. Babies sense stress and may reject a bottle if the person offering it seems anxious.
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How To Choose Bottles And Nipples
You will find many kinds of bottles and nipples at the store. Try several kinds and see what you and your baby like best.
Bottles are made of glass or plastic. When choosing a bottle, consider:
- Glass bottles last longer but may become a problem when a child is old enough to drop or throw one.
- When choosing or reusing plastic bottles:
- Choose bottles that are made from non-polycarbonate plastic.
- Look for plastics that have the numbers 1, 2 or 5 in the recycling triangle.
- Look for plastics that are labeled “BPA-free.” Studies are suggesting that a potentially harmful chemical has been found in clear polycarbonate plastic. This is hard plastic that is usually clear.
Nipples come in several shapes and sizes. They can be made of silicon or latex. Consider the following:
Understand That Bottle Feeding And Breastfeeding Place Different Demands On Your Baby
To breastfeed effectively, babies must open their mouth wide, latch on to the breast and then coordinate a suck, swallow and breath sequence. Bottle feeding, by contrast, provides a continuous flow of milk instead of working to extract the milk, babies only need to pause the flow of milk in order to breathe.
Because of these differences, some babies will develop a strong preference for the bottle or, less often, for the breast.
Nipple confusion. Women sometimes receive dire warnings that artificial nipples, including pacifiers, can lead to nipple confusion or an inability to latch on to the breast and effectively extract milk.
these concerns can cause significant stress for new mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding, Dr. Chad Hayes, M.D., a pediatrician practicing in Charleston, S.C., wrote on his blog.
For example, La Leche League, a nonprofit focused on breastfeeding advocacy, warns that many mothers have noticed a change in her babys sucking patterns after introducing a bottle or a dummy . Her baby may struggle and cry, find it difficult to latch on, or simply nurse ineffectively at the breast.
Flow preference. While true nipple confusion is rare, a more common cause of a baby fussing at the breast or refusing to latch is flow preference.
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What Do I Need If I’m Formula Feeding Away From Home
If you need to feed your baby away from home, take with you:
- a measured amount of formula powder in a small, clean and dry container
- a vacuum flask of hot water that’s just been boiled
- an empty sterilised feeding bottle with cap and retaining ring in place
The vacuum flask does not need to be sterilised, but should be clean, and only used for your baby. The boiling water should kill any bacteria present in the flask. If the flask is full and sealed, the water will stay above 70C for several hours.
Make up a fresh feed only when your baby needs it. The water must still be hot when you use it, to destroy any bacteria in the formula powder.
Remember to cool the bottle under cold running water before you feed it to your baby.
Alternatively, you could use a carton of ready-to-feed liquid formula when you’re away from home.
What Is Infant Formula
Although pediatricians recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the newborn’s first six months, there are situations where you may have to give baby formula to your child.
Baby formula is a special dietary product meant for feeding babies. It is usually made from cow’s milk, although you can find goat milk-based baby milk. The animal milk is first treated so that it is suitable for babies. You should not feed your baby regular cow’s milk instead of infant formula – small babies cannot digest untreated cow milk properly, which can lead to health problems. Cow’s milk also lacks the right amount of important nutrients, like vitamin C and iron, which can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Formulas, on the other hand, are often enriched with iron together with DHA and ARA , fatty acids that support baby brain development.
There are more formula types available on the market – like soy, sheep’s milk, and almond ‘milk’. You can also find baby milk for special tasks, such as extensively hydrolyzed formulas , formulas for premature babies, or formulas that help those who suffer from acid reflux. You should only use special formulas if your pediatrician has recommended them to you. If you think the formula you are currently using is not suitable, talk to your doctor or midwife, and only after that should you try changing the formula.
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Signs Of Healthy Formula Intake
There are numerous ways to judge whether your baby is getting the right amount of formula. Perhaps the most important is to note your babys mood after a feed they should be feeling relaxed, content, and happy.
Keeping track of diaper changes is also a very effective way to monitor your babys formula intake. As a general rule, formula-fed babies will need five or six diaper changes per day .
How Can You Make Sure Your Babys Formula Is Safe
Heres how to safely get your babys formula ready:
- Only use formula thats been approved for infants by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These formulas are safe for your baby. Dont make or use homemade formula. Dont use formula that comes from other countries. Dont use formula thats made for toddlers until your baby is 1 year old.
- Wash your hands before you get the formula ready.
- Follow the directions on the formula package. Check the “use by” date on the package to make sure its not too old to use.
- If you use a powdered formula, use only the scoop that comes with the formula. Ask your baby’s provider what kind of water to use . Use the right amount of formula and water. Too much water may keep your baby from getting the right amount of nutrients she needs. Too little water may cause diarrhea or dehydration . Dont add extra water to the formula.
- Wash the top of the formula can before you open it. Make sure any equipment you use with the formula is clean.
Heres how to store prepared formula:
- If your baby doesnt drink all the formula in his bottle within 1 hour, throw it away. Give him a new bottle of fresh formula at his next feeding.
- You can store prepared formula in the refrigerator for 24 hours .
- You can store ready-made or mixed concentrated formula covered in the refrigerator for 48 hours .
Heres how to make sure bottles and nipples are clean and safe for your baby:
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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.
Getting Formula Or Milk To Flow When Bottle
To test the flow of the formula or breastmilk, hold the bottle upside down when its filled with liquid at room temperature. The liquid should drip steadily but not pour out.
If you have to shake the bottle vigorously to see the drip, the flow is too slow. Your baby might go to sleep before drinking what they need.
A little leakage at the corners of your babys mouth while feeding is nothing to worry about. This will stop as your baby gets older.
If you have trouble finding the perfect teat, go for a faster teat rather than a slow one. Its normal to try a few different teats before you find one that suits you and your baby.
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Bottles For Expressed Breastmilk Or Infant Formula
When buying bottles, remember that:
- You will need at least three large bottles with leak-proof caps, discs and teats.
- Plastic bottles are better, because glass breaks more easily.
- Bottles should be smooth on the inside surface , so they are easy to clean properly.
- Bottles should have clearly marked measurement guides that will not wear off over time.