Today’s post will offer a safe space for parent’s to share information and discuss common infant feeding questions. Just because we’re talking about formula, doesn’t mean we aren’t supporting breastfeeding. Pediatricians say breastfeeding is best for babies, no question about it! However, the fact remains that sometimes breastfeeding isn’t an option for your baby and it’s important to know all the facts concerning formula feeding.
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Lunchbox but all opinions are my own.
5 of Your Infant Feeding Time Questions Asked and Answered
Is it better to use bottled water when I make my formula?
The short answer here is yes. While tap water is generally considered safe, the FDA recommends that parents boil tap water for at least one minute in order to sterilize it before using to make formula. It’s both safer and easier to use bottled water when mixing formula. In fact, bottled water designated especially for babies is highly regulated by the EPA. But there are a few important “don’ts.” Don’t use mineral water as it contains high levels of sodium and carbonated water is a big “don’t” as well.
What’s a good way to go about sterilizing bottles?
Lucky for parents, there are a few great ways to sterilize baby bottles but first a few basics. All bottles, even (and perhaps especially) brand new bottles, should be sterilized. Bottles should be sterilized after each washing and you should continue to sterilize bottles through the age of 1. Now that we have that covered, there are essentially two common methods used to sterilize bottles: by boiling or by steam.
If you choose to sterilize your bottles by boiling them, the process is pretty simple. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Completely submerge all nipples, rings, and bottles in the water – making sure there are no air pockets in the bottles. Cover the pot and boil the bottles for at least five minutes. The downside to boiling is that it’s especially harsh on the nipples and you will need to check them for damage regularly. On the upside, many bottle manufacturers now recommend different nipples depending on you babies age and feeding stage so chances are you’re replacing them regularly anyways.
There are a few options for steam sanitizing your bottles. First (and my personal favorite), running them through the dishwasher. Not only does it clean but it also sanitizes them. If you’re doing this, I recommend running only the bottles and other baby products on a cycle by themselves. You can also use a microwave steamer or an electric steamer to sanitize your bottles. Almost every bottle brand now produces their own variations of the two products. The upside to using a microwave or an electric steamer is that it’s the fastest method and reduces wear on your bottles.
Can I put cereal in formula and if so, how much?
Let’s start with when you should introduce cereal and then cover how it should be introduced. Doctors widely agree that between the ages of 4 and 6 months, most babies are ready for their first taste of solid food. Here are a few signs your child is ready to try solids:
- They can hold their head and neck up well AND sit up with support.
- Their birth weight has doubled.
- They show interest in your food.
- The seem hungry after 8 to 10 feedings of breast milk or 40 oz. of formula in a day
Once your child is ready for their first solid foods, the cereal should be mixed with formula according to the instructions on the package and spoon fed only. In general, the first feeding should be more of a liquid mixture. About 1 teaspoon of cereal to 4 teaspoons of formula. Once your baby has shown he or she can eat that well, you can up the ratio of cereal to formula. When in doubt, consult your pediatrician.
Is it okay to wake a sleeping baby to feed him/her?
This might seem counterintuitive (sleep is so precious at this stage!) but the answer is a resounding yes. For starters, most newborns lose weight in the first few days after birth so it’s important to feed them frequently. For instance, when my daughter was born she really liked her sleep and started sleeping seven-hour stretches right away. However, if babies are sleeping for a stretch of more than four hours they need to be woken up for feedings. Another upside to waking your sleeping baby is that you will spend less time soothing them back to sleep during those middle of the night feedings if they don’t get a chance to get upset and overly hungry in the first place. If you’re breastfeeding, these frequent feedings will help establish your milk supply!
Are store brand formulas safe for my baby?
Yes. All infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the nutrient standards set by the FDA. Although manufacturers might vary in their formula recipes, the FDA requires that all formulas contain the minimum recommended amount — and no more than the maximum amount — of nutrients that infants need. Parent’s Choice products, found exclusively at Walmart, meet all infant’s formula nutritional standards and the recommendation of the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). This store brand formula is clinically proven to support growth and development.
Not only are store brand formulas save, they’re far more cost-effective than national brands. For instance, you can purchase Value sizes of select Parent’s Choice formulas at for under $20. With these value sizes, on average you could feed your baby 60 4oz bottles for under $20. The bottom line is, higher price doesn’t necessarily equal higher quality, Parents Choice formula is as nutritious and safe as national brands (including Enfamil®, Similac® and Gerber®) at an affordable price.
You can visit the Parent’s Choice website to learn more and take advantage of the Parent’s Choice Baby Formula Finder to select the best formula for your baby.