No matter how many kids you have or this is the first one, you need to learn how to make baby formula to make sure that your baby is getting all the right nutrients that he needs. Every parent, caregiver and family member that is tasked to care for your baby should undergo a quick course on how to make baby formula as soon as the baby arrives. This will help you learn how to prepare formula feeding as well as caring for baby’s feeding bottles and other equipment that he needs in his feeding.
Your baby’s milk formula
There are a variety of milk formula made for babies and these could be according to baby’s age, his ability to tolerate cow’s milk, any allergies to cow’s milk and any special medical needs that he has. In a nutshell, no two babies are alike and therefore the milk that you may have used for your first born may be completely different from the one used for your new baby. The key is you need to consult your baby’s doctor beforehand.
Things to remember in using milk formula
- Milk formula is specially designed to meet baby’s nutritional needs and to pattern breastmilk which is still the best food for baby. Therefore you must follow closely what your doctor recommends and the instructions on how to prepare baby formula. There are different considerations such as the baby’s weight, age and any medical conditions.
- Follow how much water to use per ounce of baby formula. Remember that too much water will make the baby formula mixture too watery and this could affect the amount of nutrients and calories that your baby is taking while too much formula or too little water could make baby constipated and put a strain on his sensitive digestive system. So follow your doctor’s orders and never make any changes unless instructed by your doctor.
- Formulas could cause allergies and intolerances to babies with sensitive digestive systems. It is therefore very important to monitor your baby’s response to the formula for a few days. This means purchasing small cartons or cans of formula first before buying a large can.
Signs of allergies and intolerance include diarrhea, vomiting, colic, gas accumulation, rashes, redness and irritability. For these symptoms, visit your doctor at once.
Things to remember in using water for your milk formula
- Never use well water, tap water with fluorine or other types of water that could be too hard for baby to take in. Use bottled water instead so your baby could tolerate it easier and will also be free from contaminants and harmful microorganisms as well.
- Water should be at optimum temperature especially for babies that prefer warm milk instead of cold or lukewarm formulas.
- Water should also be at the right amount too. To make sure that you are placing the right amount of water in baby’s milk formula, place the water inside the bottle first before putting the milk powder formula.
A step by step guide on how to make baby formula
- Wash your hands completely. Scrub all the surfaces of your hands including your fingernails and the areas in between the fingers to make sure that you are clean and ready to prepare baby formula for your baby. Wash your hands with warm water and soap. You will be touching the bottle, nipple, cap and cover as well as the scoop for the milk formula so therefore you need to be clean.
- Make sure that all the accessories including feeding bottles, nipples, caps, milk containers and scoops are all clean and sterilized before using them. These should also be air –dried before use.
- Clean baby feeding bottles with a brush intended for this purpose, use warm water and dishwashing soap or you may simply place it in a dishwasher. Just make sure that you completely dry them before use.
- Nipples should also be cleaned completely especially on the tip. Open the hole on the tip of the nipple by filling this with water and then allowing the water to drip from the hole. You may also use a brush dedicated for this purpose.
- Caps and covers should also be cleaned with a special brush. Make sure that these are clean and dry before using them.
- You do not generally need to sterilize bottles and accessories again and again; you only do this when you are using these for the first time. Sterilizing is done by immersing all the clean bottles and accessories in a pot full of water. Allow water to actively boil for at least a minute and then allow this to cool. Cover the pot as it boils. You may also use a sterilizer to clean your bottles.
- Allow your bottles and accessories to dry. You may keep them inside the refrigerator once they are dry or in a covered container so these could be free from dust and dirt.
- Once you have all the equipment ready and your formula and water are also ready too, you may now prepare baby formula mixture.
- Open the packaging and get the scooper for the milk formula. Almost all milk formula comes with their own scoop. There are also instructions on how to use the scooper at the container packaging. Read these before preparing the milk formula.
- Fill the bottle with desired amount of water. Use the graduation at the side of the bottle. Most feeding bottles are graduated with ounces and the usual amount of milk would typically be 2 ounces for newborns, 8 ounces for babies a few weeks old and 10 ounces for older babies. Follow your doctor’s recommendations.
- As a general rule, use the scooper to scoop the right amount of powdered milk formula you need. Shave off the excess with a clean spoon or your clean fingertips.
- Place the contents of the scoop inside the bottle. Take care not to spill the powder formula as you transfer the contents of the scooper into the bottle.
- When you are done placing the desired number of scoops in the bottle, cover the bottle with the cap and nipple and cover. Shake the bottle up and down until all the milk formula has been dissolved. Milk formula varies in their consistency and their ability to be dissolved. Usually, soy formulas take time to dissolve in lukewarm or room temperature water but will quickly dissolve in warm water.
- Test the milk formula temperature before giving the bottle to your baby. You do this by allowing a small amount of the formula to drop on your inner arm. The formula must be just right for baby to drink, not too cold and not too hot. If the formula is too hot, allow it to cool before giving to baby. Test the formula again before you give it to your baby.
There are ways to warm cold milk formula:
- Use a hot water bath. Place hot water in a bowl and place the cold milk bottle with formula and let it stand for at least 10 minutes. Shake the formula time and again to warm up all the milk and not just milk at the bottom of the bottle.
- Use warm running water. If you have hot water running from your faucet, you can let water run over the baby bottle. Save water and collect it to be used for other purposes. This method is perfect if you want to warm up cold milk in an instant.
- Use your body. If you are still minding your baby and you have prepared his milk earlier than expected, you may place it in your pocket or inside your jacket. Proceed with changing his diapers, feeding him, bathing him, etc. The milk will be warm as soon as you are through!
- Never place milk in a microwave to warm it up or in an oven. This will only warm the milk in a hurry causing uneven temperatures on the bottle. This could also burn your baby’s mouth if you are not careful
- What to do with unused milk formula? Sometimes baby may stop feeding and may not want to feed anymore leaving a few amounts of milk formula. You must discard this after it has been an hour after it was left by your baby. Do not reheat milk formula even breastmilk.
- Clean all milk bottles and accessories after they are used. Do not let milk turn sour inside the bottle since it is very hard to remove. If this happens, clean the bottle along with all the accessories with warm water and dishwashing soap. You must also use a brush to clean the bottle very well and a small brush to completely clean the nipple and cap.
Now that you have a clear idea of how to make baby formula for your baby, the next things you need to learn are some of the basic things about feeding bottles. Some small details such as when to replace nipples and how to choose the right nipple for your infant.
- Even if your baby has not yet developed his first set of teeth, the nipple is easiest to wear out in a feeding bottle. Signs that you should change the nipple are
- When milk formula or breastmilk pours out of the nipple this means that the hole at the tip has become too big and the nipple must be changed.
- The nipple has already changed color, this means that it is already deteriorating
- The nipple is thinning. Try to pull the nipple from the tip; if it returns in its original shape then it is still good. Otherwise, change the nipple.
- The nipple begins to stick or swell.
- There are noticeable cracks and tears. You should not give this kind of nipple to your baby since he may swallow these small parts and become a choking hazard.
- Choose a nipple that is not too thin and not too hard for your baby. Usually there are indicators on the packaging of the nipple so you can pick the right one for your baby.
- Babies that came from pure breastfeeding should use a soft nipple that feels like a natural nipple. This kind of nipple may be brought from a pharmacy. It feels like a natural nipple because it is designed to curve and express milk even the baby is just slowly sucking on it.
- Aside from nipples, you should also be wary of using feeding bottles that have the following:
- If the bottle has cracks, chips or breaks. Small pieces of the bottle may be swallowed by your baby and could choke him.
- Breaks and cracks could also injure him as he holds it while feeding.
- If you use bottles with disposable milk liners, do not reuse these liners anymore. Discard them and clean the bottles very well too.
- Discoloration and build-up of impurities inside the bottle could place your baby’s health at risk. Discard these bottles immediately.
- Using bottles with handles is perfect for older babies to prepare them for holding a cup to drink. There are a variety of designs to choose from but choose one that has an easy to grip handle and one that has two handles instead of only one.
- Bottles come in different shapes, colors, designs and sizes but the best one is still a simple plastic bottle. You may use glass but be careful not to leave baby unattended. A clear, simple, plastic bottle will allow you to inspect the inside of the bottle as your baby drinks from it and will also allow you to check for any cracks and damage as the bottle grows old.
- If you must use a container to hold powder formula, you should take time to clean this container at least once a week. Since you use this container when you travel or when you go out, it should always be clean and free from dirt.