Bottle Feeding

Most babies will be able to tolerate 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 or fussiness occurs 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) and hypoallergenic formulas (Alimentum).

Sterilization is no longer necessary 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 formula because they are generally the least expensive and convenient. The convenience results from your ability to store the dry powdered formula in a dry bottle, adding water when ready to feed your baby as follows: using a clean bottle and making sure it is thoroughly dry, add the desired amount of powdered formula to each bottle. Cap the bottle and store for later use. When ready to use 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 once believed and is essential for brain development.

The temperature of the formula is of no consequence. It may be given at room temperature or body temperature. In the hospital formula fed babies are given the formula at room temperature. Since breast milk is 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 in approximately two to three hour intervals day and night. This is however, variable from baby to baby and from feeding to feeding. Do not try to set a rigid feeding schedule for your infant. All that your baby knows is that they are hungry and it is time to eat.

A healthy baby will always let you know when they are hungry. Therefore, unless it is for your own convenience, it is best not to awaken an infant over one month of age for feeding during the night. Most babies will take all the milk they want within 15 to 30 minutes and the amount may vary as well. If they are taking longer than 30 minutes to feed, it may be because the nipple holes are not large enough or because they need a different type of feeding system (such as rigid bottle vs. plastic collapsible bottles).

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 they are on solid food.

Whether breast-feeding or bottle feeding hold your baby comfortably close to you, as babies derive pleasure and security when cuddled and fed properly. Allowing an infant to take formula by propping or by allowing them to feed themselves will result in an increased risk for middle ear infections and will significantly retard their emotional and social development. We recommend you never prop a bottle for feeding.

Today, evidence suggests babies do better when fed formula through twelve months of age. We recommend you continue formula through the first birthday and as this approaches, we can discuss the option of staying on formula, switching to another formulation or to whole milk. Be aware your friends and relatives may suggest you change the baby to cow’s milk during the first year. This is not appropriate. Cow’s milk is low in iron, vitamins C and E, and essential fatty acids. It also has more salt than the baby needs resulting in the need for additional water for the kidneys to excrete the salt. Finally, it contains more protein than necessary at this point placing additional burden on the kidneys. It can even cause intestinal bleeding and anemia. Please do not use regular cow’s milk during the first 12 months.

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