Formula feeding is the right choice for many parents. Formula is marketed as an easy and convenient option for infant feeding. It is convenient, but formula feeding is not always easy from the beginning. Parents are taught that they should prepare for breastfeeding (and that is true!) but parents who choose formula aren’t usually as prepared to feed their infant they could be. Below are some tips to make things easier for parents who are planning on formula feeding their little ones. The links to the products listed in this post can be found at the bottom of the page.
1. Consider Your Formula Choice in Advance
There are seemingly infinite formula brands on the market these days. The choices can seem overwhelming. For this reason, some parents just choose to use the formula their pediatrician recommends or whatever is passed out in the hospital. Those choices work for a lot of people! However, you may want to sit down and consider what is important to you. There are formulas based on cow’s milk or soy. There are also hydrolyzed and specialized options for infants who may not digest the other options well. Of course, you can’t predict what your baby will digest well. You can, however, decide on which protein you’d like your formula to consist of, and decide whether you’d like to work with powder or a premixed option. It is worth your time to ask your friends and family members about what formula they used and why they liked it, to read through reviews of brands that you are considering, and to create a backup plan in the case that your first choice doesn’t work out. You will need to consider factors like cost and accessibility as well. There’s a lot to think about, so, as always, it’s best to plan ahead!
2. Try Different Bottles Until You Find the Right Fit
Some babies can eat from any bottle from day one, and that’s great. Other babies need a little more help finding a bottle that works for them! A baby’s ability to latch on to a bottle depends on many factors, including the shape and size of their mouth, whether or not they have a tongue tie, and the flow of the bottle’s nipple. Finding the right bottle can be tricky but your efforts will pay off immensely in the long run. You can borrow different bottles from friends until you find the right fit for your baby, or you can purchase a bottle sampler in advance.
Pro tip: My favorite bottles are Dr. Brown’s bottles. Most babies I have worked with do well with the Dr. Brown’s bottles. They are designed to reduce colic, and they do the job well. However, a fantastic option for babies with a tongue tie who aren’t able to latch on to the Dr. Browns bottles as well are the Mams bottles. I strongly recommend these two brands above other options.
3. Invest in a Formula Mixer and a Bottle Warmer
A formula mixer is an inexpensive product that will make your formula feeding journey a lot easier. Formula needs to be vigorously mixed before consumption. When formula isn’t mixed properly, small lumps of formula float around in the rest of the mixture. Your baby isn’t receiving all the nutrients they need unless all of these lumps are dispersed. Additionally, these lumps can clog up the nipple and make your baby irritable. A formula mixer is a great option because it functions as both a mixer and a storage unit. Many parents mix a pitcher of formula at the beginning of the day and don’t need to worry about it again for the next 24 hours. That sure beats mixing 2 ounces at a time.
Secondly, a bottle warmer can be a lifesaver. Most babies usually aren’t huge fans of cold formula (and they will let their displeasure be known!) Formula can be poured right from the mixer into a bottle and then be placed in the bottle warmer. I prefer the bottle warmers that don’t need to be refilled for every use.
4. Don’t Listen to Anyone’s Negative Opinions
People are going to have opinions about how you choose to feed your baby. It is easier said than done to ignore negative feedback. However, at the end of the day, how you choose to feed your baby is your decision and entirely your business. Other people’s opinions should not be entertained. I give the same advice to moms who choose to breastfeed as well, because people have irrelevant negative thoughts about that too. At the end of the day, you are the only one who knows what the right way to feed your baby is!
5. Find Your Community
There are plenty of formula moms out there. Finding and connecting with them can be a great help! Tapping into educational resources can be incredibly helpful as well. One of my favorite resources for formula feeding parents is an Instagram account called @theformulamom.
Dr. Brown's Bottles