Formula Feeding Information

Recovering from birth & months of Hyperemesis, encompassing post-partum concerns such as nutritional and physical recovery from HG, breastfeeding support, and infant medical issues stemming from HG (infant reflux, feeding issues, prematurity, etc.).

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Formula Feeding Information

Postby HGx3 » Dec 12, 2006 12:23 am

Originally posted by mama2be(Clare)
For those who have made the choice by medical or personal necessity, and are new to babies and/or FFing...I answered a bunch of questions asked by a 1st time mommy on my fluffy PG board and thought I'd post it here for anyone who may find it useful.

I wanted to BF, but my boobies don't make milk, so I had to FF. I was so sad about it that I did a load of research on it to make myself feel better. Yes, it seems that it would/should be simple--follow the instructions on the container and that is it. However there actually are some important things that never get taught anymore becasue we are in such a climate of BF only information.

So...for what it is worth, I am pasting my post here too. NOT open for debate, none intended, take from it what you want and keep in mind I am anal as all get out, so this is MY way of mommyhood--read and research and such. If you don't or didn't do any of these things, your babies are more than likely perfectly fine, so I am also NOT opening this up for judging any mommy on HOW they FF...

Disclaimer over.

I am going to sound REALLY anal here, and maybe preachy. I don't mean to, but with Rory I had every intention of BF exclusively and when it became clear that I don't make milk and have defective boobies, I worked with a lactation consultant, our pedi and read a lot of the actual scientific research (not the fluff marketing information, though that fluff isn't faulty b/c it is also regulated by FDA).

So, what I will share is the most safety/health conscious way to do FFing, and how I did (and will do) it myself. But I want to clarify that I am not beating up mommas who do it differently...however I encourage ANY of the FFing moms to at least look into or consider some of these points.

Whew--okay long disclaimer over...on to the real stuff!!

*Will the hospital inform me of what type of formula I'll need for my baby?

Hospitals all have contracts with single formula makers. Usually it will be either Enfamil or Similac. That product line is what they will recommend to you, and what you'll get in the hospital, but within the line there are several options. I'd be willing to bet you will be started on either Enfamil Lipil or Similac Advance depending on the contract for that hospital. In the short time you are there, you won't really have a good sense of how the formula is working for the baby, so you probably wont' make any changes while at the hospital. For that, work with your pediatrician if there are issues such as colic, gas, constipation, reflux/spit ups...he/she will walk you down the path of finding the right one.

*Is that something I have to figure out myself?

See above!

*Will I need the ready-to-use liquid formula that's already in jars and you just put the nipple on?

No, you won't have to use that kind, but it is more than likely what you will get in the hospital as the unit packaging is easier on their billing and for tracking what is given out, while keeping perfect sanitation standards as each are a single "meal". The bottles/nipples aren't the greatest in the world., so once you are home I would bet you will be happier with your own kind of bottles you have selected to use...and the single servings ARE very expensive to keep buying when you are home. I liked to keep a small case of them around to toss in a diaper bag in the first couple months, but not for regular use at all.

NOW, here is one of those things that I researched and found to be true but not well known:

The ready-to-feed formula really IS best for babies in the first 6-8 weeks of life. One of the main reasons is that it is perfectly mixed so there is no user error in mixing it up while you are tired and it is dark in the kitchen. But a bigger one has to do with bacteria. The powdered cans last a good while, and even if you are very careful in working with it, every time it is opened, it is exposed to air and the normal bacteria that are hanging around. Over time, studies show that the bacteria content inside the can really no real effect on many babies, and really none on older babies, but it CAN be an issue for a newborn's system. So even if the possibility of "food poisoning" is remote for the newborn using powder, it is not unheard of.

For that reason, the research I read and the pedi/LC all recommend that you stick w/ ready-to-feed for the first 6-8 weeks of baby's life. You don't have to use the individual bottles however--the larger bottles are great and as they are refridgerated as soon as opened, and are used within 2 days or so, the bacteria issue is moot. I have several cases of the ready to feed large bottles already stocked up.

*Will the powder work better?

Powder is most economical, and is easiest as you can carry pre-measured amounts in the containers like Candes showed, and carry a bottle w/ the water also premeasured and then at feed time, you dump the powder into the bottle, shake and are all set. No refridgerator needed!!

However, keep in mind the sterility concerns I mentioned above for the really new babies. It is recommended that you don't move to powder formula until about 8 weeks.

*If I use the powder kind, should I go ahead and purchase a certain kind of water to go with it, or wait until he gets here and see what he prefers?

There should be no "preference" by the baby for the water source. However there are, again, health concerns and recommendations for the water used in powder formula mixing.

You can use your own tap water right away (flouride concerns didn't come up in any of my reading, so ???). However, if you are talking about a baby less than a couple months old, it is HIGHLY recommended that you boil the water at a rolling boil for 4-5 minutes and then allow to cool to room temperature. Used straight from the tap, many water sources have trace bacteria...again no biggie for 99% of us, but may be for a tiny baby. Also, water differs from city to city, and your baby's tummy can get used to your own local water, but then you go visit someone the next state over and the water is a teeny bit different, but enough to cause some good tummy ache action for baby. Boiling properly can reduce that potential problem.

Another option is distilled water (as mentioned above). Distilled water is truly pure water, where as spring water or other bottled water often has MORE bacteria/sediment in it than even your local tap water (hard to believe but proven true, I swear!). So, if you prefer to use "bottled", ONLY get the distilled. In the baby aisle, and at BRU you can find water called "nursery water" is simply distilled water with a lovely label and a bigger price tag. However, the little bottles of it are VERY handy for travelling to other cities (reasons as state above) and/or stashing in the diaper bag if you don't have any pre-boiled and in the baby bottles. Otherwise, I really like the really big containers of distilled water with the little "spout" on the bottom of it for at home.

So--basics on water per the scientific literature is to boil tap water for the first couple months or use distilled. Avoid bottled water or spring water unless it specifically says "distilled". Boil water or bring your own if you are travelling to new cities/states with baby.

*Is tap water ok or should it be a certain kind of water?

See above. Only thing to add is if you are on well water, dont' use the water from the water is treated so it applies to the above answers, but well water is just not recommended.

*How much water will I need? How much formula?

The best calculation for FF babies is this (which believe it or not, I learned from our lactation consultant and militant BF supporter of a pediatrician):

baby's weight (in lbs) times 3, then divided by # feeds in a day = #oz in one feeding


When Rory was born he was 6lbs. When we gave up on BFing after 10 days or so, he was the same weight. He ate every 2-3 hrs...about 9 times a day.

6 x 3 = 18 oz in a 24 hr period
18/9=2 oz per feeding

And of course baby's eating habits change rapidly, as does his weight, in the beginning so this is a ballpark only and you can learn your baby's own cues--sometimes he will need more per feeding, or more often feedings...or as he gets older and sleeps longer stretches at night, less feedings (so more oz in each one). Just keep recalculating as he grows and changes schedules and you will always have a great ballpark to work from.

Hard to say how much you will need until you know how much baby will need. I'd start w/ a large container of distilled water (unless you want to do the bioling thing daily--I did it w/ Rory and kept it at room temperature, in a well sealed container and it was really no big deal.

Hope that helped instead of made things harder or worse--I know it is a lot of information, but as I said, I researched the HECK out of this whole FF thing to feel better about my crapped out boobs. Take from it what you like, ask your own pedi if you want (and some pedis may think I am a crazy woman...) and you will come up with the system and products that are right for you and your family.

Oh--and because he had no issues, we used Similac Advanced from the get-go and never had to that is what I've stocked up on for this one, but I have all receipts and only bought from BRU where they allow exchanges for non-opened.

Also, I'd recommend signing up for all the formula "clubs"...but do it as a BFer. You will get tons of coupons and "bucks" for formula and sometimes even small sample packages of it! Since you don't knwo what brand you will end up on, may as well get all of them to send coupons and such. And when you declare you are BFing, the coupons tend to be for more money off. Sad marketing thing for them, I know, but it is true.

Are you ready to scream at me yet? Want to kill me for that information (and opinion) dump?
Huge Hugs,
HG Mom to:
Matthew, 2001
Lauryn, 2002

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