March 2012

Most babies will be able to take one of the “common” baby formulas, such as Similac. Similac Advance is the formula we recommend for most infants, as it is closest to breast milk in composition. If excessive gassiness and fussiness occur, Similac Sensitive formula may be used. It is lactose free, and may be useful to reduce gas. Occasionally, a child will not be able to tolerate the formulas made from cow’s milk, and for those children there are milk substitutes such as soy formulas (Isomil, or Similac Sensitive Soy, would be recommended), and hypoallergenic formulas (Alimentum would be recommended).

Sterilization is no longer a necessity with today’s improved sanitation standards, refrigeration, and purification of city water supplies. However, it is essential that you wash and rinse both bottles and nipples well. Washing in a dishwasher is preferred. It is fine to use one of the common home sterilizers as an alternative. Always keep prepared formula refrigerated.

Many families use powdered formulas because they are generally the least expensive. Powdered formula can also be more convenient than even ready to feed formula. This convenience results from your ability to store the dry powdered milk in a dry bottle, adding water only when ready to feed your infant as follows: clean the bottle carefully and allow it to dry thoroughly. Add the desired amount of powdered milk to each bottle, then cap the bottle and place it on a shelf. When it is time to feed your infant, simply add the proper amount of bottled water, shake, and you are “ready to go”.

We recommend the use of an iron fortified formula only. Iron does not cause constipation, as was once believed, and is essential for brain development. The temperature of the formula is of no real consequence. It may be given at refrigerator temperature, room temperature, or body temperature. In the hospital formula fed babies are given the formula at room temperature. Since breast milk is given at body temperature, most mothers are most comfortable warming the formula to approximately 95 degrees to 98 degrees.

At first most infants want to be fed at approximately two to four hour intervals, day and night. This is, however, quite variable from baby to baby, and will also vary from one feeding to the next. Do not try to set up a rigid feeding schedule for your child. All that your baby knows is that he is hungry and that it is time to eat. He does not know how to tell time.

A healthy baby will always let you know when he is hungry. Therefore, unless it is for your own convenience, it is best not to awaken a child for feeding. Most babies will take all the milk that they want within 15 to 30 minutes, whether this is one and a half ounces when he first comes home, or six ounces when he is three months old. If he is taking longer than 30 minutes to feed, it may be because the nipple holes are not large enough, or because he needs a different type of feeding system (such as rigid bottle vs. plastic collapsible bags).

The average age at which a baby will sleep through the night is approximately three months. It is not related to the amount of feeding or whether or not he is on solid foods.

Whether breast feeding or bottle feeding, hold your baby comfortably close to you. He derives a great deal of pleasure and security when fed and cuddled properly. Allowing an infant to take formula by propping or by allowing him/her to “feed himself” will result in an increased risk for middle ear infections and will significantly retard his/her emotional and social development. We strongly recommend that you never “prop a bottle” for feedings.

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