Formula Feeding The Facts

These days, however, mothers have a variety of prepackaged formulas and brands to choose from. There are three basic types of infant formula. Cows milk based formula is the most commonly sold today. Soy formulas are recommended for babies that are unable to digest the main carbohydrate found in cows milk (lactose) or who have a milk allergy. The third type of formula is specialized for infants with particular diseases or disorders.

It is commonly given to premature infants and will have special preparation and feeding instructions. Many parents ask why they cant simply give their baby regular cows milk. This is because inants are not able to digest it as easily as they would breast milk or formula.

Cows milk contains high levels of protein and minerals which can overload an infants immature kidneys and can potentially cause fever, diarrhea, and iron-deficiency anemia. Once a baby has reached his or her first birthday, whole cows milk can be given as part of a balanced diet. The majority of formulas sold are packaged in ready-to-feed liquid form, concentrates, and powders. Ready-to-feed formulas are very convenient but are the most expensive.

Formula made from concentrate is prepared by combining measured amounts of concentrate and sterile water. Cans of formula concentrate should never be left open in the refrigerator for more than 48 hours. The least expensive form of formula is the powdered variety. It comes in a can with a measuring scoop.

Powdered formula is convenient as it is light weight and portable. The powder will not spoil, but it is essential to follow the manufacturers directions exactly when mixing. If you add too much water, your baby will not receive enough calories and nutrients for proper growth.

Too little water can lead to diarrhea, dehydration, or over consumption of calories. When mixing formula, it is vital to always use clean bottles, nipples, and other utensils. If the water in your home is chlorinated, you may simply use your dishwasher to wash feeding items. If you have well water, you will need to place items in boiling water for five to ten minutes or use a process called terminal heating.

The water used for mixing formula must also be clean and free from any bacteria. Any formula that you prepare in advance must be stored in the refrigerator to discourage spoiling. If you dont use refrigerated formula within 24 hours, throw it out. While most infants prefer warm formula, it doesnt necessarily need to be heated prior to feeding. You can leave a bottle out for an hour so that it can reach room temperature. Do not use a microwave to heat a bottle of formula as it can create hot spots that can burn your baby.

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