Prenatal & Postpartum Articles

Formula Q&A

 

You can rest assured that infant formulas are safe for your baby. Infant formulas must meet strict U.S. Food and Drug Administration nutrition and safety guidelines, so when it comes to formula safety you're in good hands. But as you begin to think about formula, you'll probably have a few questions:

 

How do I decide which formula to choose?
  • Which type of protein: milk, soy, or elemental. If your baby is not allergic to cow's milk protein, a milk-based formula is typically the best choice.
  • Which type of sugar: most babies digest milk sugar with ease.  But if your baby has special digestive needs try soy-based lactose free formula, formulas that contain no milk sugar.
  • Do you want iron-fortified formula: your baby should have an iron-fortified formula, unless specific medical reasons prevent this.
  • Do you want DHA and ARA enriched formula: natural breast milk contains these fatty, but the FDA does not require they be in formula.
  • Organic or non-organic: organic formula is blended without the use of growth hormones, steroids, antibiotics, potentially dangerous pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

 

When do you start a formula feeding schedule?

It's best not to put a newborn baby on a feeding schedule. Normal, healthy, infants actually self regulate their own eating behavior. If you can respond to his hunger (crying or fussiness) and satiety cues (stops sucking or turns away from the bottle) then you will be helping him to learn to eat according to internal needs and not external pressures. If you have a newborn, let them decide how much and how often to eat.  They'll let you know.

 

How often should your baby need to be fed?

Smaller, younger babies, on average, should want to eat about every two to three hours. As they grow, they can hold more formula in their tummies and go longer between feedings. Pay attention to signs that your baby is ready to eat. Some babies will aggressively let you know they're ready to eat while others will give more subtle cues and require a little bit more attention. Your ability to read and respond to your baby's hunger cues may later impact his or her weight and nutrition.

 

How much should my baby need to eat?

Your baby will let you know when he's full. Younger babies eat smaller amounts throughout the day. Our feeding schedule helps you to determine if your baby is feeding enough for his age and stage.

 

What should I monitor to make sure my baby is getting adequate nutrition?

Measure your baby's growth and development. Keep in close contact with your baby's pediatrician to chart growth and development.

 

What about whole milk?

Never substitute whole cow's milk for infant formula. It is nutritionally inferior and can negatively affect your child's growth and development. However, by the age of one, if your baby is well on his way to a diet of solid foods, then whole cow's milk can be used to wean from formula.