Common Guidelines for Feeding Formula

It is important to follow common guidelines when you feed your baby formula to help ensure safe and healthy eating habits. Here are some examples of what to do and what not to do in order to help achieve success and diminish risk to your baby’s health:

  • Make sure powdered formula is right for your baby. Because powdered formula is not sterile, babies under two months of age, or who were born prematurely and are not yet two weeks past their expected due date, or have compromised immune systems should not be given ready-to-serve formula.
  • Check the expiration date on the container and make sure the package has not been damaged. Write down the lot number in case of a product recall.
  • Emphasize cleanliness. Wash your hands and the counter on which you prepare the formula. Thoroughly wash the bottle. Check the formula container for any foreign objects that may have fallen into it.
  • Mix and measure carefully and precisely. Use a measuring spoon.
  • Do not warm the bottle in a microwave oven. This can create hot spots in the formula and burn your baby’s tongue.
  • Store formula in the back of your refrigerator where it is coldest. Discard and replace after 24 hours in the refrigerator. Never freeze formula. Use a cooler with ice packs to transport bottles.
  • Do not use formula that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Hold your baby for feedings with the baby in the semi-sitting position where the baby can see your face. It is easier to watch for signs that your baby needs a break from feeding.
  • If the formula flows too quickly, you may need to use a different nipple. The baby should have to actively suck in order to extract the formula.
  • Do not try to get the baby to finish the bottle if he or she is showing signs of wanting to stop. This can lead to excess weight gain.
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