Although breast milk is considered the gold standard for infant nutrition, not every mom has the desire or the ability to breastfeed her newborn. For these moms, formula provides a suitable alternative.
It is important to remember that formula does not digest as well as breast milk; therefore, bottle fed babies generally tend to eat less frequently than breastfed infants, about every 3-4 hours. The amount of formula varies from feeding to feeding.
In the newborn period, babies typically tend to eat about 2 to 4 ounces every feeding. This amount will fluctuate depending on several factors: how much time has elapsed between feedings, how much baby ate the previous feeding, if baby spit up, and how much was spit up.
So, how much formula should you feed your baby? Generally, babies eat approximately 2 to 2 ½ ounces of formula for every pound of body weight in a 24 hour period. For example, if your baby weighs 7 pounds, expect your baby to eat 14-17.5 ounces of formula per day.
Don’t fret if your baby doesn’t take her usual amount at a feeding, she will make it up at another feeding. Remember, every baby is unique. Let your baby guide the feedings by watching her cues and feed her accordingly.
The type of formula you choose is up to you and your pediatrician. Milk-based formulas are the standard formula of choice unless your baby requires a specialty formula. If this is the case, your pediatrician will guide you on the type of formula to give your infant. Be sure to talk with your baby’s doctor before changing the formula that your baby is currently on. Click here to learn more about formula types.
Although the Ready-to-Feed preparations are the most convenient, they usually carry a heavy price tag and have been shown to contain more BPA than powdered formula. Powder formula is the most cost effective way to go, but does require prep work from you. Be sure to follow the directions exactly when preparing powder formula. If you add too much water, the formula will be diluted and your baby can become malnourished. If you make the formula too concentrated by not adding enough water, this can cause strain on your baby’s little kidneys.
What type of water should you use to prepare your baby's formula? Boiled water is best to use, but distilled or filtered water may also be used if necessary. When using boiled water, boil water for 1 to 2 minutes and allow the water to come back to room temperature before mixing with formula. Do not allow the water to boil down to the bottom of the pan as this can lead to higher mineral concentration.
A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that bottled water may contain hazardous chemicals and is not cleaner than tap water. To ensure the best water quality when preparing formula, find out what contaminates are lurking in your water supply. Bottled water manufacturers are not required to submit this information whereas city water must provide this information to the public. Read more: What Type of Water is Safe to Give Babies.
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST
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