If you think that the most challenging phase of parenting is over after pregnancy and labor, you need to get your facts straight. You have a tiny person to care for, and the responsibility is bigger than you imagine. Feeding is the hardest part because the baby demands milk frequently, regardless of how tired and stressed you are.
While breastfeeding is the best option, moms often fail to keep it exclusive. According to CDC statistics, 83.2% start out receiving some breast milk, but the rate drops to 78.6% in one month. At six months, only 55.8% of infants receive any breast milk. Health issues and work commitments may force you to swap breast milk with formula milk.
While you shouldn’t feel guilty about supplementing or moving to formula altogether, you should know the implications and possible complications. Awareness can help you do your best while choosing, buying, preparing, and storing formula milk for your baby. These factors ensure the good health and safety of your little one.
Here are the formula-feeding facts every new parent must know.
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Be Selective About the Product
Baby formula production and distribution in the US are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While you can trust the products in the market, you should do your due diligence by reading the labels. You need to be extra cautious about avoiding cow’s-milk-based formulas for a premature baby because they link with the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis.
The deadly intestinal infection can damage or destroy the protective lining of the baby’s bowel. Unfortunately, 9000 of the 480,000 premature babies in the US every year are diagnosed with NEC. Besides watching the product, you should also know the NEC symptoms in babies to get an early diagnosis and timely treatment.
According to TorHoerman Law, parents whose babies suffered from NEC due to bovine-based formula milk must fight for justice and compensation. The treatment for the condition is painful, complicated, and expensive, so the manufacturer must pay for not warning about the potential side effects of the product.
Know How to Prepare Baby Formula
Choosing the right product gives you a head start with formula feeding. The next step is to master the skill of preparing the formula bottle. The best way to get started is by reading the labels carefully, as they will have all the key instructions.
You can also seek advice from your pediatrician as your baby’s needs may change over the weeks. Remember that you need to be on point with the measurements to ensure optimal nutrition for your newborn.
Here are a few steps to get the formula right:
- Maintain hygiene by washing your hands, sterilizing the feeder, and cleaning the can and opening.
- Always add the powder to water instead of the other way around. Also, use clean and filtered water.
- Measure precisely and portion the exact amounts of water and powder to get your baby’s ideal consistency and nutrition. Never dilute the formula to save a few dollars.
- Ensure the right temperature because you don’t want to scald your baby.
- Serve the prepared formula within an hour to prevent contamination and health issues.
- Learn the skill of bottle-feeding because it differs from breastfeeding. Remember to bond with the baby just as you do while breastfeeding.
Stay Consistent With Feeding Routines
Consistency is the key to a healthy feeding routine, regardless of your choice of milk type. Stick with the formula that works for your baby because experimentation can do more harm than good. You may alter the frequency and quantity according to changing needs of a growing baby. Timelines are equally crucial, specifically when you mix breastfeeding with formula feeding.
Schedule feeds at your convenience if you are a working mom or want to sleep through the night. Your partner can be responsible for nighttime feeding, so they will also need to know all about preparing the formula and measuring portions. Developing a routine may require effort and time, but you will be comfortable once you have it in place.
Formula feeding can make life easier for moms who find exclusive breastfeeding taxing. But you must follow some rules and precautions before switching to baby formula. After all, you want your baby to be safe and healthy, so you should opt for nothing but the best.
You can rely on this tried and tested checklist for doing it safely and experiencing freedom beyond exclusive breastfeeding. A little caution can make the swap easy and stress-free.