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All about Formula Feeding

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Whether formula is or is not apart of your lactation goals, it's important to have access to safe, accurate information on formula! Here is a little run down:

General intake info:

A general rule of thumb for total intake in a day is 2.5 ounces (75ml) per pound of body weight, with a maximum of 32 oz. (If you feel your baby is needing more, talk about this with your Pediatrician.) Infants will generally start with about 3oz a feeding in the first month, increasing about an ounce per month to a maximum of 7-8 ounces a feeding every 3-4 hours.


CDC handout on formula feeding:

Pediatrician backed formula information: https://www.healthychildren.or...

Choosing from all the options!

Choosing a formula can be very overwhelming! Generally I recommend discussing this with your pediatrician, but here is some general information about the different types of FDA approved formulas on the market: https://www.healthychildren.or... It is always important to utilize FDA approved commercial formulas as you can ensure the required sanitation and nutrition standards are followed. Home-made and imported formulas are not regulated and the safety and nutritional standards cannot be guaranteed. Claims such as "organic" or "all-natural" infant formulas are not necessarily better and these claims generally are not monitored or backed by the FDA. (Though they are not necessarily bad either! Just good to know as you make your decision.)

In addition to choosing the type of formula such as soy-based, cows-milk based, etc., you also need to choose whether you prefer powder, liquid concentrate or Ready-to-Feed. Powder is generally more economical and can be a little messy, liquid concentrate is generally less messy and a little more costly and ready to feed is just as it's name describes, but the most costly of the three. More about this: https://www.healthychildren.or... Whatever method you choose, always follow the directions on the label. Watering down formula can be very dangerous to your child's health as infant's under 1 year of age do not require water in addition to formula or human milk.

How to:

Formula and bottles should always be handled with clean hands. Bottles do not have to be boiled, they can also be cleaned in a dishwasher that has heated water and a heated dry cycle. Hot, soapy water with thorough drying is also sufficient. https://www.healthychildren.or...

Prepared formula must be used within an hour at room temperature or discarded. If your child drinks some (or puts their mouth on the bottle in any way) the remainder of the prepared formula must be discarded due to the risk of bacterial growth over time. If you prepare formula in large servings that you pour smaller servings from in another bottle, that prepared formula is good in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours depending on the brand's recommendation. Formula does not need to be warmed, it can be served cold or room temperature depending on your infant's preference. https://www.healthychildren.or...

Signs your baby is getting enough:

Just like with providing human milk, monitor:

  • Child's output per their age group (diapers- void and stool)

  • Child's weight gain/growth pattern per their age group with pediatrician

  • For signs of hunger (rooting, licking lips, sucking on hands/hand to mouth, squirming, fussing, crying is a late stage of hunger)

  • For signs of fullness such as sleeping, relaxed body language (if older than one month, less than one month may sleep through hunger)

  • For signs of dehydration (sunken fontanelle or soft spot on top of your infant's head, decreased skin turgor, dry lips, "brick dust" or uric acid crystals in diaper, jittery body language that is more persistent than normal infant reflexes)

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