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Formulas and Bottle Feeding your Infant

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Infant formulas were developed to imitate breast milk and all commercially available infant formulas have been shown to adequately support the growth of healthy term infants.

Standard infant formulas intended for routine feeding of healthy infants are made from modified cow’s milk (heat treated, fat removed and replaced with vegetable oils, and fortified with vitamins and minerals to make it nutritionally sound and easier for babies to digest than untreated cow’s milk).

Formula producers continue to modify formulas as more is learned about breast milk.

The FDA regulates all commercially prepared infant formulas for safety, quality, and quantity of ingredients

Formula does not contain the elements in breast milk that protect babies against some illness.

Mixing and Feeding Information

  • Formulas are available in three forms.
    • Powder: must be mixed with water
    • Liquid concentrate: mixed 1:1 with water
    • Ready-to-use: pour and feed as is
  • ​Formula can be mixed just before a feeding, or for up to 24 hours at a time
  • Formula that has been mixed with water and is greater than 24 hours old should be thrown away
  • Opened ready-to-use formula or unmixed liquid concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours
  • Powdered formula can be stored on your shelf in the can for up to 1 month
  • Follow mixing directions carefully to provide the right nutrient balance to your baby
  • Check your water for bacteria and nitrates if using your own well water, and for lead if yours is an older home
  • Soy base formulas are not meant to be the first choice for routine infant feeding, but they are a good alternative when cow’s milk based formula is not well tolerated
  • If your infant does not tolerate cow’s milk based formula or soy formula, the next step is a hypoallergenic formula. These formulas are expensive – costing 2 to 3 times the price of routine formulas and are not readily available in some places
  • Iron-fortified formulas are recommended for all infants. Iron in infant formulas does not cause your baby to have upset stomachs or to be constipated
  • Many types of bottles and nipples are available for you to choose from. You will probably want to have 6 to 10 sets. Nipples will deteriorate after a period of time and will require replacement
  • It is not necessary to regularly sterilize bottles and nipples if you have a good water supply. Thorough washing with hot water, soap and brushes, rinsing with hot water, and air-drying will keep your equipment clean and free of germs
  • Demand feeding is important for a bottle-fed infant. This means you offer milk to baby when they shows signs of hunger (2 to 5 hours)
  • Let the baby decide how much he or she will take. Babies should not be forced to “finish the bottle”. It takes a little time to learn your infant’s cues
  • Prevent tooth decay - don’t prop the bottle and put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk
  • Don’t feed sweetened beverages such as Kool-Aid®, pop, or juice in the bottle

Sharing the closeness of bottle feeding with your baby can be an emotionally rewarding and enjoyable experience for both mothers and partners. Holding and cuddling your baby while feeding a bottle is important to aid in a close emotional bond between parent and infant.