Formula And Bottle Feeding
Formula And Bottle Feeding
Rebecca Charlton (Lactation Educator & Registered Dietitian, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles) gives expert video advice on: Should I feed my baby formula instead of breast milk?; When should I consider bottle feeding?; What type of baby formula should I use? and more...
Should I feed my baby formula instead of breast milk?
Some mothers hear advertising that makes them think that formula might be better for their baby than breast milk. But, the answer is that breast milk is always the best choice for your baby. Formula is improving, and it has some wonderful qualities. It has been able to help babies for whom breast milk is not available, but breast milk is what babies need. Breast milk is what the body is looking for. If breast milk is available, a baby should receive it, rather than formula.
What is the difference between breast milk and formula?
Despite great improvements in formula, there are still vast differences between breast milk and formula. Formula is able to match breast milk in the big nutrient composition: carbohydrate, protein, fat. It has all of the things that breast milk has that go into normal food and what adults think of as nutrition. What formula can't match and will never match are the actual living components of breast milk: the antibacterial agents, the growth factors that get pushed, the hormones that pass from you to your baby. Those things will never be scientifically reproduced in a formula. The research shows that despite the fact that formula has made really good improvements, babies who are breastfed have better eyesight and higher IQ's; they're less likely to suffer from obesity and heart disease; their organs function better; and their stomachs have less risk of allergy. In general, they develop faster and grow better. There's just no way to scientifically match what nature has done for us.
When should I consider bottle feeding?
There are very few occasions when bottle feeding would be indicated over breast feeding. Most of those have to do with medical concerns of the mother, and you would need to discuss those with your doctor. However, there is one other issue that needs to be addressed in every breast-feeding situation. Unllike bottle feeding, breast feeding is natural, it's synergistic, so it's important for you and your baby to work together. If there are reasons that breast feeding is not that way for you, if for you it is creating more harm than help in your relationship with your baby, then at that point you may want to consider bottle feeding.
When can I give my baby regular milk?
Regular milk should not be introduced until after one year of age. Up until this time the baby's digestive track is to immature to handle regular milk.
What type of baby formula should I use?
If you choose to use baby formula, you want to use the most standard variety available. Baby formula has become a very complex issue, there are different formulas for every kind of illness or every kind of disease or every kind of gas your baby might possibly have. It's much too complicated to just go to the store and make a decision. You want to choose the standard every baby formula that's out there on the market right now unless you talk to your doctor or your dietician and they advise you otherwise.
Do I need to boil the baby formula water first?
It's not necessary to boil the water. Most of the drinking water we have available in the United States or Great Britain, or any developed country, will be prepared for babies so boiling is not necessary. However, if you are in a foreign country, or a place where you are unaware of the safety of the water supply, you may want to consider boiling the water or purchasing it from an approved vendor.
Can I make my own baby formula?
You should never attempt to make your own baby formula. While it is possible, as I've described with the complexity of breastmilk and how difficult it is for formula that's prepared scientifically to match breastmilk, trying to make your own baby formula would be highly risky and even dangerous to your baby. There are recipes on the internet for making your own formula, and I worry and am concerned about any mother who's using them as her main source of information. It is a process that could damage your baby, so make certain that you are talking to a doctor and a dietician before attempting creating your own formula.
What temperature does the baby formula need to be?
Baby formula should always be served at room temperature, or a temperature wherein if you place a small drop on your wrist, you won't be able to feel it. If it is too cold and you feel it drop, or if it's too warm, then you need to allow the baby formula to change temperature. You should warm your baby's bottle either under warm running water, or you can add warm water before you mix it. However, you should never microwave a baby's bottle.
How long should a bottle feeding session last?
One of the problems with bottle feeding is that it's very easy to overfeed a baby when using a bottle, but it's impossible to overfeed a baby when using the breast. You might want to limit your bottle feeding sessions to no more than 20 minutes in order to ensure that the baby is not overfeeding and will not gain weight too rapidly.
How long can I store baby formula?
In general, once baby formula has gone into a bottle that touched the baby's mouth, you need to throw it out. However, you can store baby bottle formula in the fridge if it has not come into contact with the baby's mouth for up to 24 hours.