Bottlefeeding Your Baby (part 2) - Formulas to Consider, Feeding Equipment to Use, Bottlefeeding Pointers

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Formulas to Consider

Commercial formula first became available in the 1930s. Today, we have many types and brands of formula available to feed baby. Ask your pediatrician about the type of formula you should feed your baby.

When choosing formula, there isn’t much difference among the brands of regular formula available. Most babies do well on milk-based formula. Basic infant formula comes from cow’s milk and is modified to make it more similar to breast milk. It’s also easier to digest than regular cow’s milk. Most formulas are iron fortified. A baby needs iron for normal growth; a recent study showed that too little iron can lead to problems.

Formulas are packaged in powder form, concentrated liquid and ready-to-feed. Powdered formula is the least expensive. The end product is the same. When choosing formula, go for the powdered type in cans. Cans containing liquid formula often are lined with plastic containing BPA. To avoid BPA exposure, many companies sell products in glass or BPA-free containers.

All formulas sold in the United States must meet the same minimum standards set by the FDA, so they are all nutritionally complete. You don’t need to worry about contaminated formula. Formula production is strictly controlled, so the risk of contamination is very low. It’s illegal to import formula from other countries. If you know of a grocery store selling foreign formula, don’t buy it!

Many formulas on the market include two nutrients found in breast milk—DHA and ARA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) contributes to baby’s eye development. ARA (arachidonic acid) is important in baby’s brain development. Studies show babies fed with formula supplemented with DHA and ARA do better on cognitive tests than babies fed formula without them. They also have better visual sharpness.

If you make formula from tap water, use cold water. Many pipes can contain lead; heated tap water releases lead from pipes. If you want to warm up the formula, use hot water on the outside of the bottle.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a baby be fed iron-fortified formula for the first year of her life. Feeding for this length of time helps maintain adequate iron intake.

Feeding Equipment to Use

Don’t buy plastic bottles or containers with the number 7 on the label or bottom. This helps avoid exposing baby to BPA. When you feed her a bottle, you may want to use a slanted one. Research shows this design keeps the nipple full of milk, which means baby takes in less air. A slanted bottle also helps ensure baby is sitting up to drink. When a baby drinks lying down, milk can pool in the eustachian tube, which may lead to ear infections.

You’ll also have to choose a nipple for baby’s bottle. A wide, round, soft flexible nipple helps baby latch on with her mouth opened wide, similar to nursing. Another type of nipple allows formula or pumped breast milk to be released at the same rate as breast milk flows during nursing. A twist adjusts the nipple to a flow that is slow, medium or fast. In this way, you can find the flow that works best for your baby. The nipple fits on most bottles. Check your local stores if you’re interested.

Bottlefeeding Pointers

Bottlefed babies take from 2 to 5 ounces of formula at a feeding. They feed about every 3 to 4 hours for the first month (6 to 8 times a day). If baby fusses when her bottle is empty, it’s OK to give her a little more. When baby is older, the number of feedings decreases, but the amount of formula you feed at each feeding increases.

If baby pulls away from the bottle, it’s usually a sign she’s finished feeding. However, you may want to try burping her before ending the feeding.

You know baby’s getting enough formula if she has 6 to 8 wet diapers a day. She may also have 1 or 2 bowel movements. Stools of a bottlefed baby are more solid and greener in color than a breastfed baby’s.

If your baby poops after a feeding, it’s caused by the gastrocolic reflex. This reflex causes squeezing of the intestines when the stomach is stretched, as with feeding. It’s very pronounced in newborns and usually decreases after 2 or 3 months of age.

After baby drinks 2 ounces, burp her. Burp baby after every feeding to help her get rid of excess air. If baby doesn’t want a feeding, don’t force it. Try again in a couple of hours. But if she refuses two feedings in a row, contact your pediatrician. Baby may be sick.

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