A quick guide to formula feeding basics and making up a bottle – you might be using formula for all of your baby’s feeds or just one or two throughout the day.
Formula Feeding Basics: Making-up bottles
- Fill your kettle with fresh cold water, boil and then leave to cool for 30 minutes (so it lowers to 70c)
- With clean hands, fill the bottle with the correct amount of water. *With the scoop, measure the powder, level it off with the leveller or a clean knife and add to the bottle. (Follow the instructions for the formula you are using and only use the scoop that comes with that formula.)
- Add the teat and lit and shake so the powder dissolves.
- Cool the formula down by running the bottle under a cold water tap or a standing the bottle in a jug of cold water. You can test the temperature of the milk on your wrist before offering it to your baby.
Formula Feeding Basics: How much milk?
Your baby’s stomach will hold small amounts of milk and this will gradually increase as your baby gets bigger.
Day 1: 5-7mls
Day 3: about 22 ml
One Week: 45-60ml
One Month: 80-150ml
Each feed can vary – some babies will take a bit more during some feeds or they might need feeding more often than you think.
Formula Feeding Basics: How often to feed?
Try to be responsive, look for your baby’s cues for food rather than watching the clock. Babies have small stomachs and their needs vary daily. Some babies will go longer between feeds, while others will need to feed little and often.
Formula Feeding Basics: Feeding your baby
- Before settling down with your baby, make sure you are sitting comfortably. Using a feeding pillow can also be useful so you can relax your arms.
- Have a drink to hand, as well as a muslin square.
- Hold your baby close to you – you will find what works best for your baby – brush the teat against your baby’s lips so they can suck on the bottle when they open their mouth.
- Your baby should be slightly upright rather than flat, this will help him to swallow.
- Keep the bottle tilted so the teat is full of milk – this prevents your baby taking in too much wind.
- If your baby is finishing off the bottle, you can try putting extra milk in the bottle so your baby isn’t sucking in air.
- Your baby may need a break, to be winded – hold him upright and gently pat or rub his back.
- Allow your baby to finish the feed when he is ready, don’t force him to finish a bottle.
Formula Feeding Basics: How do you know you baby is getting enough?
Poo – By day 4, when your milk has probably come in, babies will have 3-4 poos a day, although some will poo with each feed. After day 4 poos should be mustard-yellow in colour, with no signs of meconium, which is black and tar like.
Wee – 1 a day is normal until around day 4 when babies can have about 6 wet nappies a day After day 4, wee should be pale/clear.
Weight-gain – your baby will be weighed within his first couple of weeks and this is an indication of getting enough milk.
Formula Feeding Basics: Using formula when you are out & about
*You can use ready made formula and sterilised bottles
*Sterilised bottles, with measured formula powder for each feed in a sterile container and a flask of just-boiled water. Make up a bottle, shake it to mix the powder and then cool it down by running the bottle under cold water or standing in a jug of cold water.
Signs of hunger
It can be useful to respond to your baby’s cues rather than waiting for them to cry – it’s not always possible but it is helpful to be guided by your baby as much as possible.
Early indications of needing a feed:
*an open mouth, especially if also sticking tongue out
*smacking or licking lips
Ready for a feed:
*fidgeting and squirming
*trying to get into position for a feed
I really need a feed NOW:
*frantic head movements
Bottle-feeding tips from mums
- Carrying a small bottle of pre-made formula for when you’re out and about. For us it’s made life easier, just ask any cafe for some hot water for baby’s bottle and you’re set.
- I didn’t bother with a Perfect Prep machine. You can achieve the same instant bottle results buy working out the ratio of boiling water to pre boiled fridge cool water. Eg for a 5oz bottle you need 2oz boiling water and 3oz of pre boiled water from the fridge or for a 7oz bottle the ratio is 3:4.
- It’s actually safer because you are putting the formula in to freshly boiled water rather than water that has been heated to 70 degrees.
- Prepping! Having multiple bottles ready with the water in already. Electric bottle steamer! One of those plastic divided tubs for multiple pre measured out formula.
- Perfect Prep
- Tommee Tippee portable flask bottle warmer thing is the best
Janine Smith | A specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting