The Basics of Bottle-Feeding a Newborn Baby
While breast milk is the best choice for feeding your baby, cow’s milk-based infant formula is the next best choice. When choosing a formula, use a brand recommended by your baby’s doctor.
Types of Formulas
Most babies start bottle-feeding with a formula based on cow’s milk. Formula is available in three ways:
- Powder, which is the least expensive
- Liquid concentrate (which requires dilution)
- Premixed ready-to-feed, which is the most expensive but also the most convenient
If your baby is lactose-intolerant, he or she should be fed a soy-based formula.
When purchasing and preparing your baby’s bottle, always check the expiration date on the formula. Contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding your baby’s formula.
What Nutrients Are in Infant Formulas?
Infant formula contains protein, fat, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, iron, calcium and many more ingredients.
When using a liquid or powder formula, read the directions on how much water and formula to use. Follow the directions carefully, measuring every time. Most city water supplies are safe, so you may use cold water from the tap to mix the formula. After you mix the formula with cold water, you can heat the bottle to the temperature your baby prefers (see below). Water that comes from a well should be boiled before it is used to mix with the formula, or you may use bottled water. Shake the baby bottle so the formula mixes evenly with the water. A 24-hour supply of infant formula can be mixed at one time and then stored in the refrigerator. Do not microwave formula.
How Do I Choose a Bottle and Nipple?
Bottles for feeding babies come in many varieties: plastic, glass, disposable. Glass bottles can be used for a long time, but be sure to check the bottle on a regular basis for any chips or cracks that can hurt your baby.
Bottle nipples also come in several varieties (rubber, latex and silicone), as well as different shapes. You can try out the different types of nipples to see which your baby prefers. If you have any questions, ask your baby’s doctor.
You should also monitor the nipple’s condition. You should replace the nipple if:
- The formula comes out too quickly
- The nipple has become discolored
- The nipple has deteriorated in any way. A weakened or damaged nipple is a potential choking hazard.