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4 Essentials of Formula Feeding


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Although nothing can actually take the place of breast milk, modern formulas are a good choice for your baby. If you choose to supplement breastfeeding, try to wait until your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old so that your milk supply is well established. It can be tricky to figure out how much formula to give your baby. You might wonder: Is he getting too much or too little? How much is enough? The answers depend mostly on how much your baby weighs and how he's growing. In general, babies eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full. However, appetites vary among babies, and each baby's nutritional needs change from day to day and month to month.


1.Types of formulas available:


Infant formulas are made to meet your baby's nutritional needs, very much like the breast milk on which they are modeled. Most formulas are modified cow’s milk, and all standard brands are very similar. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, pick the one that is fortified with iron. Formulas come in three types of preparations: ready-to-feed, liquid concentrate, and powder.


2.How much formula is enough?


Most new babies want to eat every few hours. In the first week, formula-feed your newborn on demand. It is important not to overfeed your baby so he'll stay at a healthy weight. Newborns start out with a stomach that can hold only a small amount at first. One to 2 ounces per feeding is usually enough early on. As your baby gets older and his tummy gets bigger, he will drink fewer bottles a day with more formula in each. By about 1 month, he may be down to five or six bottles of 4 ounces every 24 hours. By the time your baby is 2 months old, he will need 24 to 32 ounces a day and about six to seven feedings in a 24 hour period. And by 6 months, he will typically be down to four or five bottles of 6 to 8 ounces per day. He's likely to maintain that four to five bottle pace until his first birthday, when he can transition to whole cow's milk in a bottle or sippy cup, along with three solid meals and two snacks between meals per day.


3.Signs which indicate that your baby is getting all the formula he needs:


A.If your baby continues to gain weight after his first two weeks and maintains the same pattern of growth during the first year. This means that your baby is gaining weight at a steady pace.


B.If he is wetting five to six diapers a day in case of disposable diapers, or six to eight if you're using cloth diapers.


C.And finally, if your baby seems relaxed and satisfied after a feeding, it can only translate into a ‘happy baby’.


4.A few things to remember:


Positioning: During feedings, the head of the baby needs to be kept at a slightly elevated angle and the bottle has to be held up so that he doesn't suck in a lot of air.


Check his diapers: If your baby appears to be wetting fewer diapers than usual, call your healthcare provider. Your baby may be dehydrated or undernourished.


Make sure the bottle's nipple hole is the right size: If it's too large, your baby will gag and look alarmed at the fast milk flow. If he’s struggling, the hole may be too small or the bottle's nipple, too hard for him.


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