I didn’t receive much help from the midwives or health visitors with regards to formula feeding. They gave me a leaflet and told me to make up feeds when required rather than prepare all the milk for the day/night and store them in the fridge.
I wasn’t given a reason as to why.
I know people that have stored milk in the fridge. I’m pretty sure that was the done thing not that long ago, but I suppose it went wrong for someone somewhere.
I won’t lie… I have used the fridge to store milk on occasion. Everything was fine. The babe was fine. I’m not recommending this method, I’m just letting you know that I’ve done it, just in case it makes you feel better about having done it too.
It’s a bit of a confusing formula world out there, so… ignoring everyone else, I’m just going to write down what I’ve found useful with my boys. My second is nearly a year old, so our formula feeding journey is coming to a wonderful end very soon! So, if it’s a route you are going down, please have a read, and if there are any other useful tips you’d like to add, please pop them in the comments below.
P.S I’m from the UK – I’m aware that there are different brands, products and ways of doing things in other parts of the world, but please do share your experiences.
These were an absolute life saver during the first 3 days. It’s a pack of 6 ready-made formula bottles, including the teats. Each bottle is 70ml (just over 2oz), so they’re only small. No need to make up feeds or wash and sterilise bottles. You can just focus on life with your new baby, and worry about those things in a day or two.
We took a starter pack to the hospital, but luckily our hospital provided them, so we got to keep ours and use them at home.
These bottles are single use, and you must get rid of any left-over milk within one hour of opening. It’s not great for the environment, but if you only use them for the first few days, it’ll help you get settled into life with your new baby, so that you can prepare to feed more sustainably. It’s also expensive, but it’s worth it.
When it comes to sustainable and affordable formula feeding, buying a formula powder, and using a prep machine to make it, seems to be a good option. It’s quicker than using boiled water from the kettle (although this is the health professional’s recommended method), and it’s cheaper and better for the environment than solely buying instant formula.
With the prep machine, you mix the formula with the initial hot shot of water, and once that’s mixed the machine releases cool filtered water. You then shake the bottle and it’s ready to go.
The powder needs to be mixed with the hot shot as the temperature of the water will kill any unwanted bacteria in the formula. Adding the filtered water afterwards cools it down to room temperature and gives the right ratio of powder scoops to water.
Any unused formula needs to be chucked at the 2-hour mark.
This stuff is gold. It’s perfect for days out. You literally open the instant formula, pour it into your baby’s bottled and hazaa… you’re away. You can get instant milk suitable from birth, or instant follow-on milk suitable from 6 months.
4. Trial and Error
Now, I’ve said the above tip knowing full well that I couldn’t utilise it myself. I wanted to. I did for a short while in the beginning with both boys, but it became apparent that they both had an issue with the standard formula. Not just the instant formula, but the stuff in the tin as well.
With my first born, we didn’t know what was going on. He would throw up at least half of his feed almost every time. We trialled several formulas (make sure you give each formula time to settle) and nothing was working.
After some research I decided to try an anti-reflux formula. Initially it made him constipated, which was hard to get through. But after a few days his poos returned to normal, he was no longer sick after feeding and was a much happier little chap.
The same happened with our second, but we recognised the signs much earlier on and went straight to the good stuff. It’s far more expensive, and has different rules to follow, including having to wait for 7 minutes once the bottle is made, so we really had to know our son’s feeding times well, or those 7 minutes were excruciating.
If the standard formula isn’t working, trial different ones until you find the right fit for your baby.
Sometimes the teat flow may not work in their favour. If they are drowning in milk, get a slower flowing teat, and if they keep sucking the teat out of shape, go for a faster flowing teat. If it’s different every time and baby is left feeling frustrated and upset, try out a vari-flow teat. If you’re baby suffers from colic, then there are colic bottles and colic teats with varying flows that will support your baby and your chosen formula.
Try to hold off on bulk buying formula, and be ready to fork out on different teats. Once you’ve found what works, then you can invest in the long term.
Start off by burping your little one halfway through the bottle, and at the end. As you get to know how they feed, you can increase the amount you burp them (e.g after each ounce), or reduce the amount to just burping at the end.
They may take in a lot of air when feeding from a bottle, so if they don’t have a little help releasing it from their system, then they can feel super uncomfortable. Burping can be as simple as sitting them upright and waiting for the burp to come out, or you can try out a few different techniques to discover what works for your babe.
However you burp them, I would say it is a pretty important part of the bottle feeding process. You wouldn’t want their little bodies to feel uncomfortable with trapped wind. They really don’t like it!
There are a few methods for sterilising, but we used a two-tier machine for both boys. You must wash all the parts of the bottles with soap and hot water before assembling them into the machine, and I would recommend getting a bottle brush to make sure you get into the teat and hard to reach places of the bottle. This will make sure there is no residue. Once assembled into the machine, you add a certain amount of water to the bottom of the steriliser (this may differ depending on the brand). The steriliser does get damaged if you forget to put the water in, and the bottles won’t get sterilised, so it’s super important.
I’m just a mum. I’m not a health professional or an expert on anything. I have my experience of bringing up two healthy, happy, bright boys and the information is here if you want it. There are different ways of formula feeding, and my tips may not be your preference, but I hope they are of some help to someone. And obviously these links are not sponsored… I wish! They are just examples of the products I used. No one is giving me any money. Not a penny. Miserable.
Good luck on your formula feeding journey and let me know if you’ve found anything that’s valuable or helpful.