I had every intention of breastfeeding my first child, so I was completely unprepared when I realized I would have to formula feed. Whether you plan on formula feeding or suddenly find it necessary, here is a crash course in do’s and don’ts.
Do: Stock up. Newborns can eat up to 32 ounces (131.2 grams) of formula a day. A standard container of formula contains 964 grams, meaning you’ll need a new package every week. Baby formula has a shelf life of a couple of years, so if you find a good deal, take advantage of it. Buy a one-, two-, or three-month supply, if you can.
Don’t: Stress about buying name brand. Baby formula is a highly regulated industry, so the difference between name-brand and store-brand varieties is negligible. There is no need to spend $30 on a fancy label when Costco has the same size product for $15. Don’t worry; you won’t be short-changing your baby in nutrition or safety.
Do: Try different varieties. Most babies do great with a standard milk-based formula, but for some babies, these formulas can lead to gassiness, indigestion, and an increase in spit-up. For milk-sensitive babies, there are alternatives, such as soy and protein hydrolysate. There are also formulas with nutrients previously only found in breastmilk, such as MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Don’t: Leave formula out or prepare too much ahead of time. Once mixed with water, baby formula is only good for 24 hours, if refrigerated, and it’s only good for one hour at room temperature. So if you like making bottles ahead of time, instead of on demand, make slightly less than the typical amount your baby drinks in a day. And if he or she doesn’t finish an entire bottle at once, make sure to refrigerate it immediately.
Do: Invest in good bottles. A messy bottle is a completely unnecessary hassle. Look for bottles with internal vents to prevent ingestion of gas bubbles. Try out different brands to find the ones your baby latches onto best to prevent leakage.
Don’t: Stress about getting formula to the perfect temperature. Some babies enjoy their formula heated to room temperature, but this isn’t always a requirement. Many babies will happily drink their formula straight out of the refrigerator. Some say lukewarm formula is easier to digest, but this is true for adults as well, and you don’t see anybody drinking lukewarm tap water.
Do: Invest in time-saving gadgets. Gone are the days of having to boil your glass bottles after every use. Most plastic bottles are dishwasher safe, and if they aren’t, you can always invest in a microwaveable sterilizer. And if you find you’re struggling just to keep up with making all of the bottles your baby requires, the Baby Brezza (basically a Keurig for formula) will whip up a perfectly measured out, evenly heated bottle in a matter of seconds.
Finally, remember: Regardless of whether you formula feed, breastfeed, or both, what is right for you and your baby is your decision, nobody else’s. Mom knows best, especially for something as important as keeping her baby’s belly full!
By Dalana Quintana