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All the main health organizations such as American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Diabetic Association (ADA), American Medical Association (AMA) and World Health Organization (WHO) concur that breast milk is the best infants, especially those under the age of 6month. However, for one or the other reason, you might be forced to turn to formula feeding to either supplement breast milk or use it as alternative source of food for babies. Infant formula (formula foods) are premade specially formulated foods will provide all the infants nutritional needs until they are at least 6 months when weaning can begin.
Supplies needed for Formula Feeding
If you intend to turn to formula feeding, there are some supplies you need other than the infant formula themselves. First, you need to ensure you have feeding bottles. There are various kinds of feeding bottles to go for whose price will range from $1 to $8 and they come in different capacities with those about 4 ounces ideal for a start and when a child goes beyond 4months, the 9-ounce bottles will be ideal. Ensure you go for the FDA approved bottles only. In addition, you will also be required to have nipples, which will be replaced when they begin develop larger wholes (pour too much). You can go for latex, silicone rubber nipples. Try various types and see what your baby will be comfortable using. Finally, you also need sterilizers to ensure all your formula feeding supplies are sterilized.
How to Choose Formula Feeding
Choosing the right formula feeding can be very intimidating to many people. This is because among the many other reasons the existence of many infant formulas and brands. In deciding the specific formula feeding to use, your doctor, child and budget will play an important role. Generally, there are three main kind of infant formula i.e.
- Formulas based of cow’s milk – they are the widely available. Some of them are iron fortified and you should heed to what your doctor recommends.
- Soya Based – These infant formulas are very important for children who are intolerant to cow’s milk. Most manufacturers fortify them with iron too.
- Hypoallergenic formulas – Go for this formula feeding if your child is allergic or intolerant to the normal infant formulas (i.e. the two above). They contain protein that has been broken down to basic forms to make digestion easy.
When buying any the above infant formulas, ensure they meet nutritional requirements as set by FDA for those in America or the relevant regulatory body in your country. Furthermore, avoid any infant formulas with any other additives except fortified iron, unless advised to do so by your physician. Some formulas might contain ARA (arachidonic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) whose inclusion and benefits is still being debated.
How to Safely Use Formula Feeding
Using feeding formula is not rocket science. Anyone who can read, understand and follow preparation instruction should be able use them. Furthermore, these formulas come in various forms that include powders, concentrates and/or ‘ready to use’ forms. The first two forms will require you to follow preparation procedures. You will also have storage directions once you have prepared the specific infant formula you are using. Ensure you check on the expiry day before using any feeding formula. Nevertheless, store them in cool environments and avoid too much heating or freezing, as these two will degrade the nutrients contained.
How Much Formula Feeding to Use
Most parents find it tricky while deciding on how much infant formula to give their babies. They do not know if they have given them too much or too little. Unfortunately, there is no standard amount of formula feeding to give your child since children have different appetites and will eat different amounts. Generally, babies eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied or full. However, you ought to know that formula feeding is much heavier than mother’s milk. Your doctor should help you in deciding amount of infant formula to give. Some of the important rules to help you in determining the amount of formula to feed your baby are:
- Never give your child more than 32 ounces of infant formula in a day.
- Feed them according to their weights while giving them about 2.5ounces per pound of their weight in 24 hours.
Why Not Use Cows’ Milk Instead of Formula Feeding?
To conclude, it is common to get people who are wondering why they cannot just use cow’s milk directly instead of the costly formula feeding. The main reason is that cow’s milk in its original state might not contain the right proportion of ingredients, which the newborn baby might require. Furthermore, cow’s milk unless pasteurized is prone to bacteria which could infect your child. Although some parents feed their children on cow’s milk, you might be putting your baby’s health in jeopardy unaware. Instead, simply use breast milk and/or formula feeding where possible.
However, if you do not want to use formula feeding, see my article on homemade baby food for insight these types of foods, their pros, cons, preparation and a lot more.