Formula Feeding Guide

There are many mothers and couples who decide that they want to use infant formula instead of breastfeeding, or wish to express the milk and give it with a bottle. 

Despite WHO guidelines on breastfeeding, it’s important to know that any way that works for you to feed your baby is the right way. 

In this article we will refer to useful information on how to bottle feed either formula or pumped breast milk, ways of sterilisation and stools of the formula fed baby. 

The creation of a bond during feeding

The bond between infant and parent is a cornerstone for the future development of the child. Especially the first days and weeks it is of enormous importance to create this secure bond. 

This can be done with both parents even if you have decided to use formula. 

What do we recommend?

  • Talk to your baby and keep them close to you when feeding
  • Skin to skin contact
  • Feed them in a calm environment without much light, noise and disturbance
  • It is advisable, especially in the first few weeks, for very few people to feed you baby. Ideally just the parents

Let’s talk about this a little;

If they are fed by different people each time this can cause upset and confusion to the baby as everyone has a different way of handling it. So we recommend that only parents feed the baby initially to create this bond of safety and love.

It is important to spend time feeding to get to know each other. Use this time to bond and communicate with your baby.

What milk should I use in the beginning?

Initially it is important that your baby only has “first infant milk” or formula. It is specific for this age group.

You can continue with this milk for the first 6 months. No need to change milk, everything is practically the same. The only reason why you should change, after discussion with your paediatrician of course, would be in case of an intolerance that we will discuss below. 

We should mention here that the baby does not need to drink water until at least 6 months. In fact we avoid it.

What do I need for bottle feeding?

  • Bottles and teets
  • Cleaning brushes
  • Steriliser of your choice
  • Formula or pre-prepared infant milk

How do I sterilise the bottles and materials I need?

  • First we prepare our space and materials
  • We wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap
  • Clean the surfaces we will use
  • We check that the bottles and teets do not have any damage
  • We wash them with warm water and soap using the special brushes
  • Rinse with cold water

There are several available sterilisers. These range from steam sterilisers, cold water sterilisers that require a special sterilisation fluid, microwave sterilisers, and traditional boiling.

You can use any method you wish as long as you follow the instructions correctly. 

  1. For the steam steriliser, after you have cleaned the bottles and teets, strictly follow the instructions of the machine
  2. For the cold water steriliser follow the instructions and amount of the sterilisation fluid. Change the water every 24 hours and leave the bottles out of the liquid for at least 30 minutes. Make sure that there is no air left in the bottles or teets before sterilisation and that all materials for sterilisation are fully submerged under the liquid.
  3. Microwave sterilisers are an easy solution as they are special plastic bags with 12 uses in which you put water based on the manufacturer’s instructions, place the materials for sterilisation inside the bag and put them in the microwave for the time they suggest on the package based on the wattage of your microwave. Be careful when emptying the water because it is very hot!
  4. Sterilisation by boiling is a traditional method that works well, but requires caution. First make sure that everything you want to sterilise is safe to boil. Boil your equipment for at least 10 minutes and make sure everything is covered with water. You may need to put a plate on top of the bottles to make sure they are all under water. Never leave things boiling unattended. 

How do I make the formula?

Each formula has instructions for amounts and use. It is very important to follow these instructions so that the milk is not too thick or too diluted.
These are general instructions on how to avoid discomfort and germs in our baby’s stomach as much as possible.

  1. Boil at least 1 litre of water in the kettle. Put water from the tap, do not re-boil water that was already in the kettle
  2. Boil the water and let it cool. Do not leave it for more than 30 minutes. We still want it to be at 70 degrees Celsius when we make it
  3. Clean the surfaces you will use
  4. Leave the bottles upright in the steriliser if done or even on a clean surface. Do not leave the teet on a non-sterile surface.
  5. Put the amount of water suggested by the manufacturer of the formula you are using and then mix in the powder as suggested by the manufacturer. Add the teet and lid and shake until the milk is formed and there are no pieces or granules that have not been mixed.
  6. The milk must be cooled before giving it to the baby so you need to put it under cold running tap water. Continue swirling to cool evenly.
  7. WARNING! We don’t make multiple bottles to be “ready”. We make the bottle whenever we need it. This is the safest way to avoid gastrointestinal infections.
  8. Also, when the baby is finished with the bottle we do NOT keep the rest for after. We throw it away. Bottles of formula milk that have been opened can be left for 1 hour at room temperature. No longer.

Pour some of the milk inside your wrist to check the temperature. If the temperature is tolerated on the skin of the inside of the wrist then it is ready for use. 

What stools do we expect to see from our baby?

Come to Hera Family Care’s Baby Care classes to learn more about these things! We will also discuss things to be worried about and signs you may have to see a doctor!

Explore topics