5 Things Formula Feeding Moms Need
There are many reasons a parent might consider feeding their baby formula. From poor weight gain to low milk supply to food allergies and special needs, formula is used by many families all across the world. Despite the fact that formula use is incredibly common, there’s a lot of myths and conflicting information out there for parents to sort through. Here are five facts that formula feeding moms should know.
Formula is Not Sterile
Many mothers are unaware that powdered formula has not been sterilised before being packaged. In fact, the World Health Organisation warns that unsterilised formula may contain harmful bacteria that could potentially make your baby sick. There’s a common belief that preparing formula is as simple as adding the powder to some water and shaking it up. But in order to sterilise the formula and ensure that all that harmful bacteria is killed off, mothers should be boiling the water they use during a formula feed.
To prepare the formula properly, WHO recommends that the mother begin to boil water. The easiest and most convenient method would be to use an electric kettle is a kettle with its own heating element, meaning the water will be boiled without a stove.
It’s very important that the formula is added to the water while it’s still boiling in order to kill off any bacteria that may be present. It’s also a good idea for the mother to wash her hands thoroughly before handling any formula. Mix the formula and the water by shaking the bottle, then run cold water over it to cool it. Always test the temperature of the milk before feeding it to the baby.
Formula Fed Babies Have Different Poop
There’s a difference in composition between breast milk and formula causing differences in digestion. One of the biggest ways digestion differs between breastfed and formula fed babies is in their diapers. Formula poop is different than breastmilk poop.
Breastfed babies will produce yellow or green stool with a mushy consistency and a slightly sweet smell. On the other hand, formula fed babies have a thicker stool that resembles peanut butter in texture. It is usually some variation of brown. Formula fed poop tends to be quite a bit more odorous than breastmilk poop. Breastfed babies also tend to poop more frequently than formula fed babies. It can be as much as ten times a day and often right after a feeding.
Formula Digests Slower than Breastmilk
Because of the difference in composition between formula and breastmilk, infant formula is digested at a much slower rate than breastmilk is. The fact that formula takes longer to digest is part of the reason why there’s a prevalent myth that formula fed babies sleep longer than breastfed babies. The truth is that both breastfed and formula fed babies sleep about the same amount of time. Formula fed babies simply tend to go longer between feeds. The slower digestion rate could be a contributing factor to the difference in stools between breastfed and formula fed babies.
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There Are Different Formulas for Many Ailments
Every baby is different and many infants are born with needs that affect what they are fed. Walking down the formula aisle at any grocery store, a mother will be confronted with dozens of different types of formula. While most of those formula canisters will be roughly the same, some were created for a specific purpose.
For babies born with allergies to cow’s milk, there are a few brands that offer non-dairy formula, usually in soy form. For babies with a variety of allergies, there are a few types of hypoallergenic formulas that can be used instead. These formulas are hypoallergenic because the proteins in the formula have already been broken down, making them easy to digest.
Another common ailment facing babies is infant reflux. Infant reflux is a condition where food backs up through the oesophagus instead of being digested. Luckily, there’s a simple solution that can help babies with this issue. There are a few formulas on the market that have a thickener added to them, making it harder for the formula to back up out of the stomach.
You Can Mimic Breastfeeding While Formula Feeding
Many women who formula feed due to an inability to breastfeed worry that they may be missing out on a quality bonding experience with their baby. However, it’s pretty easy to recreate the experience of breastfeeding while still using formula.
With a bottle, this can be done using a method known as pace feeding. Pace feeding is a method of feeding that is specifically paced in order to recreate the way a baby would feed at the breast. During pace feeding, the parent holds the bottle horizontally to slow the flow of the milk and force the baby to actively suckle, the same way they would at the breast.
Mothers who don’t produce enough milk to breastfeed can still feed their baby at their breast as well. This is done using a supplemental nursing system. A supplemental nursing system uses a tube placed on the nipple of the mother to feed the baby formula while the baby nurses.
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