Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Formula vs. breast
Although breast milk is the best source of
nutrition for your baby, you shouldn't feel bad if you are unable or choose not
to breast feed. Baby formulas are specially made to meet babies' nutritional
needs. Even some women who breast feed may at one time or another use formula to
supplement their breast milk. If you plan to use formula, here are some
Your family doctor will usually recommend a
formula made from cow's milk. Some formulas are iron-fortified (they have extra
iron in them). Some formulas have very little iron or none at all. Talk to your
family doctor about whether to use an iron-fortified formula. Some formulas are
made of soy milk instead of cow's milk. If your baby seems to be allergic to
formula made from cow's milk, your doctor may suggest using a soy-milk formula.
Use infant formula for the first year. Babies aren't ready for regular cow's
milk until about the time of their first birthday.
Baby formula is sold in several
This is the most expensive kind of formula, but
no mixing is necessary.
This is a less expensive formula. You mix the
formula liquid with an equal part of water.
This is the least expensive formula. You mix one
level scoop of powdered formula with 2 ounces of water and stir well.
Switching to a different
Sometimes it may be necessary to change the kind
of formula that your baby drinks. Extreme fussiness, certain food allergies, or
a need for more iron are some of the reasons why your baby's formula may need to
be changed. If you're concerned about your baby's stool habits or about the
color or consistency of the stool, changing his or her formula isn't necessarily
the answer. How often babies soil their diapers and the color and consistency of
their stool is different from baby to baby. Talk with your doctor before
changing your baby's formula--you may not need to after all.
You may want to sterilize bottles and nipples
before you use them for the first time. You can do this by putting them in
boiling water for 5 minutes. After that first time, you probably don't need to
sterilize them again. Instead, wash bottle, nipples and caps in hot, soapy
water. Rinse them carefully. You can also run them through the dishwasher, which
kills more germs than washing by hand.
The most important thing to know is that you
must follow the directions on the formula container exactly. Always measure
carefully and never add extra water to the formula. If you are using
concentrated liquid or powder, use cold (not warm) tap water to make formula.
Run the cold water at least 2 minutes to clear stale water out of the pipes. If
you use well water or there are problems with the water in your town, you may
want to boil the water first or use bottled water. If you boil the water, let it
cool off before mixing it with the formula. Always use a clean cup to measure
You can probably feed your baby a bottle without
warming it first. If your baby seems to prefer warm formula, you can put the
filled bottle in a container of warm water and let it stand for a few minutes.
Check the temperature of the formula on your skin before feeding it to your
baby, to be sure it isn't too hot. The formula should only be lukewarm--not very
warm at all. Don't heat bottles in the microwave. Microwaves heat foods and
liquids unevenly, and this can cause hot spots in the formula that can burn your