Should you feel guilty if you choose not to breastfeed? Absolutely not! Infant formulas have gotten better and better at matching the ingredients and their proportions to that of human milk. The most important point to consider is that the less stressed you are the better it will be for both you and your baby. If you feel that bottle feeding best fits your needs, then it’s the best for meeting your baby’s needs as well.
Also, bottlefeeding allows others to help feed and bond with your baby.
When choosing a formula don’t worry about picking a less expensive brand of formula if finances are a factor. Most formulas are pretty much the same. More expensive does not necessarily mean better.
Avoid low-iron formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all babies who aren’t breastfed should be given formula with iron for the first year of their lives. It keeps them from developing low iron levels in their blood (anemia). Most formulas on the market have adequate iron. Just be sure to check that its iron fortified when you buy a formula. There is a lot of evidence that iron deficiency in the first years adversely affects brain development. And side effects from iron (gas, constipation, discomfort) while much discussed, are actually very rare.
There is a misconception by parents that infants fed iron-fortified formulas will have constipation. Mothers often associate iron with constipation from their own experience of taking iron supplements or prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. However, clinical studies found no such association among babies being fed iron-fortified formulas. It is not unusual for a baby to not pass stool for 2 or 3 days. In addition, it is normal for a baby to grunt or get red in the face when having a bowel movement.
Pick whichever type of formula — powder, concentrate, or ready-to-feed — best suits your needs. There is no nutritional difference between them. You may want to keep in mind that powdered formula is the least expensive, though. While you’re stocking your nursery with diapers and wipes, think about what type of baby formula you’ll use. Buy enough to last a week or two. You don’t want to get stuck with too much in case the brand you choose doesn’t agree with your baby.
Baby formula is safe. The FDA monitors all these products, and guidelines dictate what can and can’t be added to them. Although formula doesn’t contain everything found in breast milk, it has many vitamins and other nutrients that babies need, as well as calories. Often while you are still in the hospital after delivery the staff can answer questions you may have about formula’s.
If your baby develops rashes, is colicky or is extremely fussy, make sure to see a pediatrician right away as these may be symptoms of allergy. To manage cow’s milk protein allergy, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the use of extensively hydrolyzed formulas. These types of formulas are usually referred to as “predigested” formulas. The protein content of these formulas have been broken down or “predigested”. It’s also thought these formulas may make it less likely for the baby to develop allergies. In more extreme cases, completely predigested formula may be required. Note: Your pediatrician may also prescribe extensively hydrolyzed formulas for your babies for medical reasons other than allergy. These formulas tend to be more expensive. Some formulas also contain probiotics, the “good” bacteria that live in the gut and are added to yogurt for adults. Probiotics offer formula-fed babies the same bacteria that are found in breastfed babies, to keep their intestines healthier. Ask your doctor if they’re right for your baby.
The AAP recommends using a premature formula for premature babies to 9 months of age. Using these formulas in premature babies can result in greater length and weight gain compared to the use of standard formulas. Premature formulas are more appropriate for premature babies as they provide more calories, higher levels of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Lactose-free formulas may temporarily be used for babies suffering from acute diarrhea; your pediatrician may temporarily recommend lactose-free or soy formulas (also lactose-free).
When preparing your baby’s formula here are some important steps:
Wash your hands before preparing formula. Use tap water if it’s safe, or bottled water if you’re not sure. You can also use water that you’ve boiled for at least a minute and cooled. If you’re mixing powder or liquid concentrate with water, pay attention to the measurements — they’re important. There’s no need to heat the formula for your baby. Drinking it at room temperature is fine.
Don’t warm formula in the microwave,which heats things unevenly. Instead, place the bottle in a container of warm water for a few minutes, or run it under a hot tap.
Help your baby from swallowing air by tilting the bottle upward, filling the entire nipple with formula.
Your baby should drink the bottle within an hour after you fix it. Throw away any unused formula. Bottles may be mixed ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 24 hours. You can, though, save unused formula that your baby did not sip from for the next feeding.
Talk to your pediatrician about how much your baby should eat and how often. Most infants need 2-4 ounces per feeding, depending on their weight and age. If your baby vomits or has diarrhea often, isn’t gaining weight well, or if you think the formula doesn’t agree with him/her, ask the doctor if you should switch to another type of formula.