Top Things You Should Know Before Feeding Your Baby with Formula
The best way to feed infants is by breastfeeding. However, there are situations when mothers decide to feed with baby formula, for example, a high-quality European formula. Even though bottle feeding may seem easy, there are actually a lot of rules that need to be followed.
What is a Baby Formula?
It is a product for infant nutrition based on modified milk. It is most often cow’s milk with a selected composition, which has undergone many complicated procedures at the production stage. Modified milk resembles human milk to the maximum extent, and differs from regular cow’s milk. It has a reduced amount and a modified composition of protein, reduced amount of sodium, potassium, and chlorine, and increased value of unsaturated fats and lactose.
Scientists have been studying human milk for years to better understand its composition and properties, and to be able to improve baby formulas. This is why the mixtures for babies offered today are very different not only from regular cow’s milk but also from products given to babies several years ago.
Top Things about Formula Feeding
1. When choosing a baby formula, consult your baby’s pediatrician. The doctor will assess your baby’s development and specific nutritional needs if there are any.
2. Choose the right bottle nipple according to your baby’s age. Reduced-flow teats are recommended for infants up to 6 months of age.
3. Always prepare the formula, whether it is a plant based formula or one based on cow’s or goat’s milk, according to the instructions on the product packaging. Use boiled water.
4. Prepare the mixture right before serving.
5. Feed the baby in a similar way as in the case of breastfeeding. It is important that it is close to you (e.g. placed on the forearm with the head at the bend of your elbow), in a semi-lying position. The head should be slightly higher than the body, which will help prevent regurgitation. You can use pillows designed for breastfeeding.
6. Keep the teat full while feeding to prevent the baby from swallowing air.
7. If your baby falls asleep while eating, remove the bottle from its mouth. Instead, you can give a pacifier.
8. After feeding, keep your baby upright.
9. Discard the prepared mixture that the baby has not eaten. Then, sterilize the bottle.
How Often Should You Feed Your Baby?
Doctors agree that the baby should be fed on demand. Not only in the case of breastfeeding but also with bottle feeding. Every baby is different and needs a different amount of food. Some babies eat bigger portions but less often, while others eat smaller portions but more often. However, in the case of baby formula, it is suggested not to feed the baby more often than every 3 hours, because the infant takes longer to digest the baby formula than breast milk. In the first weeks of life, an infant eats around 30-100 ml at a time, increasing the demand from week to week.
The most important thing is that the baby gains weight properly. How to check it? You can buy or borrow a professional scale to weigh your baby or ask a midwife to weigh your baby during patronage visits. The infant is also weighed during each medical visit, which is very common in the first months of a child’s life due to the vaccination calendar.
How do you know if your baby is hungry? It starts to get restless, fidgets, and puts its fists in its mouth. Better feed the baby before it cries. An irritable and upset infant may swallow air while eating, which can cause colic.
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