[blockquote style=”1″]No Science Can Equal The Benefits Of A Mother’s Milk for Her Child.[/blockquote]

Breastfeed is anyday better than formula feeds, yet out of certain unavoidable physical conditions like pain or even out of choice, some mothers opt for formula feeds. Sometimes one needs to either supplement a baby’s feeds with formula, and though formula feeds lack critical nutrients that a mother’s milk would provide a baby, yet it is safe to use and rest assured, your baby will grow normally on a formula as well. Lactation experts suggest waiting for atleast 4 weeks before a bottle feed is given to a baby.

The market generally sells three types of formula :

Liquid formula : which is directly fed to the baby.

Concentrate : which need to mixed with water to be fed

Powder Formula  : Easiest, and most common way to feed the baby.

Whichever formula you use, make sure it is advised by the doctor, and has essential nutrients and supplements your baby needs. Generally, the base of formula is either cows’ milk or soy milk, but for some premature babies or babies that require extra care, specialized milk is also recommended. Some babies might be allergic to both cow’s and soy milk, in which case again, they are suggested to be fed with specialized milk.

If you have decided to use formula, first you need to consult your doctor/pediatrician for proper check of the baby. Secondly, keep in mind that the less you feed the baby with your milk, the lesser milk will your body prepare. Also, some women like to supplement formula in addition to breast milk, like when they resume work or want some rest, which seems like a win-win solution.  Check for signs whether your little one likes the formula, is allergic, or is till craving for your milk even after being fed a bottle.

Feeding a formula requires absolute adherence to the instructions, never try to deviate unless instructed by your pediatrician. For example, using too much powder and little water may result in dehydration and using too much water may leave your baby hungry. Formula powders come with a measuring scoop and clear instructions, adhere to the same.

Choosing Nipples and Bottles: The first and foremost thing after deciding on which formula to go with, is to choose the best nipples and bottles for the little one. Rubber, silicone and latex nipples come in variety of shapes and sizes. Generally, flat topped nipples are preferred as they give the baby a feel of the mothers’ breast nipple. They also come with varied flow speeds, you might have to play on with some in a cautious way to figure out which suits the baby the best. Bottles also come in many shapes and sizes, and though the plastic variety is more preferred, one needs to replace them quite often , and they need to essentially be BPA free, a harmful chemical in plastics. Glass bottles do a decent job of retaining the nutrients and need not be replaced till they are chipped or cracked.

Cleaning the Nipples and Bottles: Before feeding your baby, ensure that the bottles and the nipples have been thoroughly cleaned in boiling water for ten minutes, atleast. Never heat formula milk in bottles. Any leftover formula needs to be refrigerated, and if not used in 24 hours, do away with it.

Quantity and Frequency of Feeds: Though there are many rules related to feeding a baby, the best way is to feed the baby when he is hungry and before he starts crying out of hunger. Look for simple signs and see if the little one is still smacking even after finishing a bottle. That means he is probably looking for more. Loss of attention from the bottle indicates the baby’s had his fill. After any physical activity he needs to be fed, and in general, 70 ml of feed for every 450 gm of body weight by the time he is six months. This may be revised in each of the subsequent months. With time, a baby develops a time schedule on his own, and will easily indicate when he is hungry. Know how much formula your baby needs.

Though formula feed can never substantiate breast feed, yet if it is not the right choice for you, opt for the right formula and see your baby grow happy and healthy. Medical science has nowadays advanced the formula feeds to a great extent.