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How to Formula Feed a Baby

by Melissa Willets

If you have decided to formula feed your baby, it may seem like a simple task. You prepare the formula in a bottle and pop it in your little one's mouth. But as with breastfeeding, you may encounter some bumps on the road to feeding bliss. That's because babies are not all created equal. By following some simple steps, you can establish a safe and reliable feeding routine that both you and your bundle of joy can find comfort in.

Pick a Formula

Your friend may use a brand of formula that worked great for her baby. Your neighbor may suggest another kind. The prospect of picking a formula may feel overwhelming, but one way to narrow your options is to ask your pediatrician for a recommendation. Be sure to ask your child's doctor if a powder formula or a ready-to-feed variety is best for your baby's age and digestive needs. If your suckling sweetie has any sort of digestive issues such as acid reflux, this will factor into your decision because certain formulas are created to ease tiny tender tummies. All formulas sold in the United States must meet certain FDA standards.

Select a Bottle

Go into any baby store and the sheer variety of bottles available is nothing short of anxiety producing. Don't panic. Before selecting a bottle for your baby, ask friends or your pediatrician for recommendations. Also be aware that the nipples have different sized holes for babies at different ages. For instance, because a newborn is learning to feed and drinks less formula than a six-month-old, the nipple needed for optimum success varies accordingly. No matter which brand you buy, HealthyChildren.org cautions parents against BPA exposure. Bisphenol A is a common chemical found in plastics and has been shown to have damaging effects on the endocrine system. Look for BPA-free bottles.

Determine Amount and Frequency

The amount of and frequency with which your baby will consume formula changes as your baby ages. She may start out drinking a few ounces of formula every two to three hours and gradually increase that amount to a full 8-ounce bottle four to six times per day. As a general rule, HealthyChildren.org notes that a baby should ingest approximately 2.5 ounces of formula per day per pound of body weight. But consult your pediatrician to determine how much nutrition your baby needs as she grows.

Establish a Feeding Routine

Beyond figuring how much formula your baby needs for nutrition, you need to establish a routine around feeding. Feeding times should be predictable so that both you and your baby know what to expect throughout the day. Consider feeding time bonding time with baby. Stroke his hair, cuddle with, sing to him, be in awe of him. This is an opportunity to be close to your little one while he receives nutrition. It is also imperative that you feed him safely. KidsHealth.org urges parents to hold a baby for feedings rather than propping him up, which it can be a choking hazard. For optimal digestion, feed a baby on an incline rather than have him lying down flat. Also, be sure to burp the baby at regular intervals during a feeding and afterward. Failing to burp a baby can cause him to suffer from painful gas; you may suffer too because of baby's resulting crabbiness!

About the Author

Melissa Willets has been writing about parenting, pregnancy and "all things mom" since 2009. She has contributed to many websites, including Pampers.com and WhatToExpect.com.

Photo Credits

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