The Ins and Outs of Formula and Bottle-Feeding

Some mothers are physically unable (or choose not) to breastfeed. If you use formula and bottle-feed your baby, she will still be well nourished and you will still have an opportunity to make a strong connection with her. Bottle-feeding also provides other caregivers a chance to feed the new baby, as well as to cuddle, talk to, and bond with her. When feeding your baby a bottle, be sure not to prop the bottle on her and allow her to feed herself. It's also a good idea not to leave her in the crib with a bottle---the milk can pool around her teeth and cause decay even before the teeth appear.

Similac FormulaThree Types of Formula

  • "Ready to Use" comes pre-packaged in a bottle. Warm it, add a nipple and it's ready for the baby. This method is easy, but expensive.
  • "Ready to Pour" allows you to pour formula from a can into a sterilized bottle, warm it, and then feed your baby.
  • "Ready to Mix" is the least expensive. Mix the powder or liquid with water, warm, and serve. Be sure to follow the directions because if the formula is too weak, your baby will be underfed. If it is too strong, it can place a strain on the baby's kidneys. Catholic Social Service provides a couple of different types of Similac Formula for those who are having a tough time making ends meet. Just call the one of the Catholic Social Service offices at the bottom of this page.

Formula should be room temperature, never hot. When warming formula, simply run the bottle under warm tap water, then shake a few drops of the formula on your wrist---it should feel neither hot nor cold on your skin. Avoid heating formula in the microwave---it could heat unevenly and burn your baby.

Bottles and nipples come in many different shapes, sizes, and flow rates. The breast milk or formula should drip steadily out of the nipple---if it pours out in a stream, the hole is too big and the nipple should be thrown out. Check nipples for signs of wear, such as discoloration or thinning, and replace torn ones that can break and become a choking hazard.

From Your Healthy Baby published by I am Your Child.

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