What You Should Know About Formula Feeding

Breast Milk is easy to access at any time of the day, as long as you’re present. But formula feeding isn’t as convenient, so you may want to keep a check on its stock to restock it once the box is about to finish. Apart from this, you have to know which formula you want to feed your baby with, what amount, at what temperature and when to have it stored to avoid the baby from having a crying fit due to hunger; and not to mention, you have to carry all the necessary ingredients to make formula wherever you travel with your baby.

But that’s not everything. If you have chosen the option to formula feed your baby, whether continuously or as a supplement, it’s time for you to know the basics about formula feeding.

Facts About Formula Feeding:

Whether you have made the choice to formula feed or you’re just looking at your options, there are some differences between formula milk and breastmilk; they vary from the baby’s poop to the possibility of your baby being allergic to formula. We have highlighted the basic facts you need to have knowledge of.

Baby’s Poop:

When you start to formula feed your baby, especially after having breastfed them for weeks, you will notice a significant difference in their poop. Formula-fed babies have darker, stronger smelling poop. This occurs basically due to a change in food source; the nature of the gastrointestinal tract changes with regards to the kind of food passing through.

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Feeding Amount:

How much formula is needed in a single feeding differs from baby to baby? 

Every baby is different; some babies might drink more formula due to their nutritional requirements and faster metabolism than others. 

In some cases, the level of hunger differs. Just the way you eat a light snack during the evening and a bigger course for dinner, your baby may drink lesser formula during one feeding while more afterward. Also, there are age differences in how much a baby feeds.

  • Newborns: 1-2 oz/feed.
  • 1-2 Months: 3-4 oz/feed.
  • 2-6 Months: 4-6 oz/feed.
  • 6-12 Months: 8 oz/feed.

Even if your baby doesn’t drink a lot of formula, you don’t need to worry about it. Unless they don’t drink it at all or drink significantly low amounts than required at their age, in which case you have to contact the baby’s primary pediatrician.

Digesting Formula

It’s easier for babies to digest breastmilk due to it containing whey, while formula consists of casein which is digested slowly by the baby. So if you see your baby not take as many ounces of feed as, say, your friend is breastfeeding hers, do not be alarmed. Although in some cases, the baby’s faster metabolism allows him to digest the milk quickly and hence he gets hungry more easily. 

However, if you think formula-milk means better sleep for them, we should tell you that’s not the case. A baby that formula feeds is still as prone to waking up in the middle of the night as breastfed babies. The difference is, you have to get up and go prepare the formula; breastmilk seems easier to have excess to in this case.

Babies Allergic to Formula

A very rare amount of babies have trouble digesting cow’s milk. The indication for this becomes visible once you observe the baby’s stool, which contains mucus or blood, which means she/he has inflamed bowels. Other signs are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • The baby is fussy while feeding
  • Skin Rashes

A cow’s milk allergy is not, however, equal to lactose intolerance which occurs due to a lack of lactase enzyme; more-or-less every person is born with an ample amount of lactase and the ability to digest lactose, this condition is developed later in life.

Nutritions in Formula Milk

Every kind of formula milk consists of basically the same amount of nutrition because all formulas are more-or-less created equal. This is because of the Food & Drugs Association’s policy for formula milk to include the 29 specific and important nutrients in each of their serving. A big advantage of formula milk is that it contains Vitamin D, which is present in insufficient amounts in breastmilk. Though some brands can have some special changes, different brands, apart from their range in names, prices, and packagings, none of the brands will rob you off of the basic ingredients needed to feed the baby. The specially manufactured milk includes:

  • Those specified for low birth-weight or pre-maturely born babies, that contain more calories than the standard amount.
  • Those made for babies that have refluxes; contain thickeners like rice etc.
  • Anti-allergenic formula made through hydrolysis in order to prevent allergic reactions in babies.

The one ingredient that most of the baby formulas don’t have is the fatty acid DHA found exclusively in breastmilk, which helps strengthen the vision and cognitive abilities. If you need your baby to have it in his diet, look for brands that include this nutrient in their serving. And if you want your baby to be fed organic milk then go for those brands which provide you with organic milk formula; they’re FDA as well as organic approved.

Tips for Using Formula:

Your baby won’t find it very hard to switch from breastmilk to formula milk. And even if they do take some time, be patient with them instead of thinking that they will refuse it forever. There are a few tips you may want to follow when it comes to formula feeding. 

Caring for the Baby:

The most important part of any kind of feeding is to tend for the baby and make the little one feel loved and at ease. It’s necessary to have skin-to-skin and eye-to-eye contact with the baby as it makes the feeling of being cared for stronger, in-turn making the baby trust his/her primary care-taker and makes your bond stronger. 

Talk to the baby, sing poems and lullabies, whisper and coo in his ears; he already recognizes your voice and feels reassured by it, so it won’t be hard to get him to calm down.

Milk Temperature:

It’s not necessary to feed warm milk to the baby at all times, so try and make him drink room temperature or slightly cool milk in order to get him used to it, and decreasing the work required to be done every time it’s time to feed. Although, if your baby prefers to have warm milk, try soaking the bottle in warm water to have the formula reach the required temperature.

Never warm up the milk in an oven, it might not get warm enough or the bottle may seem cool but the milk would be hot enough to burn the baby’s tongue. Also a tip: Always try to check the temperature of the milk by spilling a few drops on your hand and tasting them yourself before feeding, in order to avoid harming the baby.

Get the Family Involved:

Breastmilk is something only a mother can provide to her child, so to have someone else feed it, you would have to use breast pumps and spend hours pumping milk for the baby to have a sufficient amount. With formula, that’s one less worry. 

Make sure your family knows how to make the formula for your baby so that even if you’re not available for a while, they can feed the baby without him/her throwing a fuss. This also means you can actually sleep at night with your partner taking care of the baby’s feeding needs; the little one is as much their child as yours so the responsibility of feeding lies on them too.

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What are the Dos and Don’ts of Formula Milk?

Do Consult with the Pediatrician:

The first and foremost thing to do is consult with the baby’s primary physician to figure out which will be the best formula for your baby. Most children are fine with any kind of formula, but if your child resists it, the doctor may suggest using a soy-based formula. Also, powdered products are good for most babies but they’re not manufactured sterile. So if your baby has a weaker immune system or other health and digestive problems, he may benefit more from ready-to-use and sterile formulas, but please note that they are more expensive. 

Don’t Use Expired Products:

Just the way you won’t put any expired ingredients in your food, the same way you can’t feed expired formula to your baby, even if the bottle is almost full. To avoid any such wastage from happening, make sure you buy products that have the latest dates of manufacture. If there is no date visible on the jar, you should note its condition. Expired products are damaged with rusted, leaky or dented jars. 

Do Check if the Baby has Allergies:

If you’ve observed your baby is allergic to cow’s milk formula, then make sure you don’t use products that have that in the ingredients. Use a non-allergenic formula specially manufactured for your baby’s needs. 

Don’t Force Feed the Baby:

If your baby is refusing to drink the formula left-over in the bottle, don’t force him to be fed in an attempt for the milk to not go to waste. The tiny one has a tiny stomach and forcing him to drink formula is going to have some not-so-favorable side-effects. 

Do Use Iron-Fortified Formula:

All the experts suggest not to use low-iron formula rather use those that are iron-fortified. This is necessary because it prevents the baby from developing anemia.

Don’t Switch Between Formulas Too Quickly:

You might see your baby is spitting his formula frequently, and that may tempt you to choose a different brand than the one he’s being fed. But if you keep switching between formulas too frequently it’s going to end up causing digestive problems for the little one. The doctors suggest sticking with a single brand of formula for at least a week.

Do Ensure the Family Knows the Procedure:

One of the most convenient parts about formula feeding is that everyone around you, your partner, parents, siblings, etc can be taught to prepare the formula and feed it to the baby without needing assistance from you. So when you’re not available, you don’t need to worry about whether the baby is getting fed. Just ensure that they know the proper procedure of how much formula to make, what temperature it should be, the cues for the baby to be hungry, and when to stop feeding once the baby looks full.

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Which Formula Is Best for The Baby?

Iron-Fortified

As discussed, milk-based iron-fortified formulas are the most preferred option to feed the baby. Although it’s hard for a newborn to digest cow’s milk, most formulas are altered and manufactured such that they become easier to digest and lactose is added in order to resemble breastmilk. 

Hydrolyzed

In this type of formula, the protein is broken down to be digested more easily by the baby. The products are comparatively expensive and there are also other considerations in the head, so discuss the options to feed an allergic baby with the doctor before choosing anything on your own.

Organic

These formulas are considered to be better as they don’t contain pesticides, antibiotics, herbicides, etc. Although some may contain sucrose which is sweeter than sugar and puts the baby at risk for developing decay in the teeth and cause unnecessary weight gain. Not all of them do however so it’s better you read the label or talk to the primary physician for suggestions.

Special

Babies born prematurely, have cow’s allergy or need special supplements are suggested to drink a special formula, which is lactose-free with easy digestion and hypoallergenic properties. These are quite expensive and should only be bought if the baby’s primary pediatrician prescribes them.

Soy-Based

Usually, the lactose-free, soy-based formula comes with sugar alternatives and gives energy from its processed soybean ingredient, which is supplemented with minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. They’re not usually recommended unless in special circumstances. Babies who are allergic to cow’s milk are usually also allergic to soy-based formula.

Which Signs Indicate That The Baby is Hungry?

  • Sucking hard on her fist, thumb or finger.
  • Sucking on her lips or tongue making noises or sticking the tongue out
  • Nuzzling against you
  • Making little noises or sounds that seem like cooing
  • Certain high-to-low pitched sounds of crying.
  • Turning the head from side to side looking for a food source.
  • Moving hands and legs all over.

It’s not exactly hard for the baby to switch from breastmilk to formula milk. The important part is to take care of your own needs as well when you’re taking care of the baby. So if breastfeeding is hard for you, formula milk is the best option. Don’t let anyone guilt you into not choosing what’s good for your baby; in the end, what’s good for him is that you’re there for him and love him. And if you feel confused, talk to your doctor about what you should do. For more information related to this and other topics on maternity, visit Little Angel Baby Clothes.

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