Formula Feeding Basics: What All New Families Should Know
Posted by Tori, MS, RDN, LD on Jan 17th 2023
Infant Formula Feeding Guide For Feeding Your Baby
Families with newborn babies know that there is a lot to learn, like diapering, bathing, dressing, swaddling, and feeding.
If you’re new to formula feeding, here is an infant formula guide that answers top questions about giving formula to your baby.
What is formula feeding?
Formula feeding happens when a baby is fed infant formula. When it comes to formula feeding, a baby may be exclusively formula fed or they may be supplemented with formula while breastmilk is also fed.
For families who choose or cannot breastfeed, infant formula provides a healthy and safe alternative because, like breastmilk, formula gives babies the necessary nutrients in the right quantities to help a baby grow and develop. Transitioning from breastmilk to formula may be desirable by parents when it is time to go back to work or when adjusting feeding schedules.
What formula is best for my baby?
For children from 0-12 months of age, Baby’s Only® Organic Premium Infant Formula is an organic cow’s milk-based formula designed for full-term infants and has been clinically demonstrated to support normal growth and development starting at birth.
Ask your child’s healthcare provider about which formula may be most suitable for your child. Because what is best for one child might be different than what is best for another, Nature’s One® offers a variety of infant and toddler formulas.
When you and your child’s healthcare provider share the desire for high quality infant and toddler formulas that include natural and organic ingredients and are tested for heavy metals, you can rest assured that formulas from Nature’s One meet those needs.
Visit the Nature’s One Formula Finder to learn more about Baby’s Only® Formulas.
What do I need to start formula feeding?
To get started formula feeding, you’ll need baby formula, water, a bottle, and a nipple.
There may be some decisions you’ll need to make regarding a bottle and a nipple as there are many types to choose from. Regarding bottles, you’ll have options regarding the bottle material – glass, silicone, stainless steel, or plastic – and the bottle shape and size. Some families prefer vented bottles (often called anti-colic bottles). These types of bottles may help reduce the amount of air a baby swallows during a feeding, thereby reducing gas and reflux.
Like bottles, there are many options for the nipples to use with bottles as well. Nipples come in different materials (like silicon or latex), in different shapes, and to support different flow rates. A newborn baby, for example, will often do better with a slower flow nipple while older babies may prefer a faster flow nipple.
For both bottles and nipples, you may have to try a few before you find what works best for your baby.
Though it is not required, you may also find it helpful to have a bottle/nipple brush, bottle drying rack, and a special dishwasher basket on hand to help easily clean and dry the formula feeding supplies.
Which type of water should be used to prepare powdered formula?
Ask your baby’s doctor which type of water is most appropriate. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends using water from a safe source to mix your formula.
If you are unsure if your tap water is safe, contact your local health department. 1 If there are concerns over the tap water’s safety, the Pediatric Nutrition Policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using bottled water or cold tap water brought to a rolling boil for (no longer than) one minute, then cooled for no more than 30 minutes. If you plan to use the prepared formula right away, ensure that the formula is not too hot prior to feeding it to your child.2
In some cases, your doctor may recommend using sterile purified, demineralized, deionized, distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water. 3
How much formula does my baby need each day?
How much infant formula your baby needs each day depends on a number of circumstances like your baby’s age, size, and whether or not breastmilk is provided.
Many people ask about how much formula a newborn should eat. In general, many newborns will feed 8 to 12 times over the course of 24 hours. While your baby may begin with just 1 to 2 ounces of formula at a time, as your baby grows, the amount they’ll drink at a time will likely grow too. 4 In general, after the baby’s first month of life, they’ll drink about 3 to 4 ounces per feeding about every 3 to 4 hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.5
The most important thing to remember is to be alert and responsive to your baby’s hunger and to talk with your child’s healthcare provider if you are concerned about how much formula your baby is drinking or their growth.
How do I prepare powdered infant formula?
Each label of infant formula in the United States is required to include preparation instructions. Generally, you will start with clean hands, surfaces, and materials and pour the desired amount of both water and formula powder into a bottle, using the manufacturer’s provided scoop. Then, shake well until the powder is dissolved. Follow the preparation instructions on your can of powdered infant formula for the specific instructions for preparation.
How do I store infant formula?
After powdered infant formula is prepared, it should be fed within 2 hours of preparation and within one hour after the feeding begins. If the prepared formula is not used within 2 hours, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 24 hours. 1
Store opened baby formula containers with the lid on in a cool, dry place and use within the time frame indicated on the label, usually within 1 month. 1
Learning the infant formula feeding basics can help you become an expert in no time! What questions do you have about feeding your baby formula? Send them to the Nature’s One dietitian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infant Formula Preparation and Storage. July 13, 2022. Accessed August 8, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/formula-feeding/infant-formula-preparation-and-storage.html.
- American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Formula Feeding of Term Infants: Formula Preparation. In: Kleinman RE, Greer FR, eds. Pediatric Nutrition, 8th ed. Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2019: 89.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Community Water Fluoridation: Infant Formula. November 3, 2015. Accessed August 8, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/infant-formula.html
- Centers for Disease Control and prevention. How Much and How Often to Feed Infant Formula. May 16, 2022. Accessed November 9, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/formula-feeding/how-much-how-often.html
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Amount and Schedule of Baby Formula Feedings. May 16, 2022. Accessed November 9, 2022, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/formula-feeding/Pages/Amount-and-Schedule-of-Formula-Feedings.aspx