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Facts and advice about bottle feeding your newborn with formula. Written by pediatricians for parents. A newborn baby needs food. The food can be breast milk or formula. The choice is up to the parents. In this post you will learn how to start bottle feeding with formula. If you want to start breastfeeding, I recommend reading this post as well.
The biggest responsibility
I haven’t met a single parent who doesn’t understand the importance of food to a baby. The vast majority of parents I have encountered have also shown or said that knowing this, isn’t easy. Feeding a baby is perhaps the most concrete thing in all of the change that comes with having a baby – I have to give this baby the food it needs every day and every night. Or the baby dies.
The joy when your baby eats and the stress that comes when they don’t.
If you’re lucky enough to have a baby that likes to eat and is good at sucking, this responsibility may not feel particularly heavy. In fact, every meal reiterates a strong sense of joy and pride in parenthood! Congratulations to all who have had the privilege of experiencing this!
However, many babies are not born as fully-fledged suction masters. The earlier in pregnancy they are born, the greater the risk that they do not really understand how to suck. But even full-term and late babies can have this problem. Put simply, babies are different. Right from birth. If your baby needs help learning to eat: get that help. Don’t go home from the medical center without the baby being able to suck.
Think about bottle feeding or breast-feeding before the baby arrives
My experience is that expectant first-time parents have rarely thought much about how they want to feed their baby. “The mother’s supposed to breastfeed, I guess. I guess most people do. I’m sure it’ll be fine.” It’s a shame, I think. Because a baby’s food is such a big part of their life, I believe that it is well worth preparing for.
My advice to all of you who are expecting a child therefore is, think about how you would like to feed your baby. Talk to your partner if you have one. If you have different ideas, discuss your way to a solution you both can imagine living with, so that you can later support each other in feeding. Please talk to you parent friends about this to get feedback. And feel free to discuss this with your midwife. Ask some best tips regarding how you want to approach feeding your child.
The choice between breast milk and formula
Breast milk is a very good source of nutrition for infants. When breastfeeding works, it is a handy way to feed your baby. Contemporary infant formulas are also a very good food source for infants. And when bottle feeding works, it is a practical way to feed your baby.
The equivalent of lactation is conditional. Bottle feeding is conditional according to access to clean water and sufficient amount of formula. For those planning a longer stay in an area, with poor access to clean water, breastfeeding is strongly recommended. For everyone else, the choice is completely up to you.
Breast milk has an protective effect that does not exist in formula. It is well established that breastfeeding protects against bacterial stomach infections in countries with poor water hygiene and also that it protects against blood poisoning in the newborn period. Thankfully, blood poisoning is rare among Swedish children. You do not put the child at any measurable risk of blood poisoning by choosing formula.
The choice between breastfeeding and bottle feeding is that of the parents.
Just formula or both bottle feeding and breastfeeding?
If you as a mother can’t even imagine letting your baby even lick your nipple, even during pregnancy, it may be a good idea to decide to just bottle feed with formula. If you don’t want milk production to get started, don’t let your baby suck, don’t pump and don’t express at all. Use a tight sports bra without straps that squeezes your breasts firmly together. There are also medications you can get at the medical center to stop milk production. However, often you won’t need it. Tell your partner what you want so you can support each other in the bottle feeding process. Make sure it is clear in your health record that you want help with bottle feeding and do not want any requests to start breastfeeding. Buy a few different types of bottles and pacifiers and formulas for the newborn.
Facebook has a closed group where bottle-feeding parents help each other out. It is called “Till dig som flaskmatar ditt barn – tips och råd på vägen!” (Translated to “For those who bottle feed your children – tips and advice along the way!”) Send a request to join.
Both breast and bottle feeding
Read on for more information about juggling both bottle feeding and breastfeeding. In order for milk production to get started, it is important to have plenty and dense sucking in the first 24 hours. Then it often takes at least a week or two before breastfeeding becomes somewhat stable. It could be worth planning to wait at least 2-3 weeks to introduce the bottle. The risk of mixing bottles and breast feeding from day 1, is that breastfeeding may not start.
Which formula is best?
All industrially manufactured infant formulas sold in Sweden meet high quality standards and are good for your child. Currently, the standard formulas in Sweden are BabySemp, NAN and Hipp. Just make sure to mix according to the instructions on the package, so that you get the right ratio of powder and water.
More expensive special formulas provide more income to food companies. So, if the child enjoys the cheapest standard formula, keep it up!
Children with cow’s milk protein allergy need special formulas.
How often should a newborn eat?
As often as it wants but at least every three hours around the clock. If a newborn, one day stops waking up and asking for food in 5-6 hours, it may be the first sign of serious illness, such as a bacterial infection of the blood or brain.
A newborn who stops wanting breastmilk or formula or can’t be bothered sucking, should be seen at the children’s emergency room the same day or night.
How much should a baby eat?
Until it’s full and satisfied. Newborns who become satisfied, stop sucking actively. Sometimes they fall asleep and look very happy and sometimes they look at you with clear eyes. If you are going to prepare a bottle for a 3 kg newborn, you can pour in 60 ml. For a 4 kg baby, 75 ml, and for a 5 kg, 100 ml. Pour out the rest if your baby doesn’t finish it. Fill up a little more if it’s not enough.
Good luck with the bottle feed! If that doesn’t work, ask for help! Find someone that you trust and can strengthen you. I hope all the medical center nurses can provide this for you. But if you can’t find one, you can probably find one or more knowledgeable and supportive people while reading my tips here!