When it comes to feeding your newborn, most experts agree that feeding on demand – whether breast or bottle feeding – is preferable.
That means feeding your baby when he or she shows signs of hunger, and continuing to feed until they lose interest.
That being said, having a rough guide can be a helpful starting point.
The feeding instructions provided on infant formula cans are there to guide you on how much and how often to feed your baby.
Different mixing ratios and scoops may be used for different infant formula products, so it is important to specifically follow the instructions on the specific can.
There is much individuality in how much each baby will drink and variation in the amount that the same baby will drink from day to day.
It is important to always be guided by your baby and allow your baby to drink to satiation point, even if this means discarding any unused formula in the bottle.
Unlike breastmilk which changes composition as babies grow, infant formula concentration remains constant (within the Step and Step 2 product categories) so it is only the volume consumed which changes as your baby grows.
It is important to prepare the infant formula with the right amount of powder and water, as per the instructions provided on the can. This will help ensure your baby’s nutritional requirements are being met. If you add too much powder to your baby’s bottle, your baby’s feed will be too concentrated. This can lead to constipation, causing your baby abdominal pain, bloating and discomfort when trying to do a poo. If you add too much water, your baby’s feeds will be too dilute and they will not receive enough nutrition to help them grow well.
Do not prepare formula with a different concentration to that which is prescribed on the can, unless under the specific guidance and instruction of a qualified healthcare professional such as your GP, dietitian or paediatrician.
Guidelines aside, around 6 wet nappies daily, as well as a developmentally growing and thriving infant indicate that your baby is likely to be receiving enough infant formula.
feeding frequency is at its highest, with six to eight smaller feeds daily (at such a young age, infants tolerate only small volume feeds so the feeding frequency or the number of feeds they need per day is relatively high).
As babies grow the total volume of infant formula required to meet their needs increases. Babies will also demand more in times of growth spurts. Once again, feeding instructions on the can in terms of volume and number of feeds depending on infant age can be used as a guide, but when changing feeding frequency or feed volumes, do this gradually to give your little one the opportunity to adapt to the change in feeding patterns.
It is especially important to keep all appointments with your healthcare professionals at this stage, as your healthcare professional will continue to monitor your little one’s weight, length and development and this will provide your with really important feedback that your little one is getting enough nutrition.
When introduction of solids is recommended, the amount of baby formula needed will reduce gradually as solids begin to provide more and more nutrition to your baby, but infant formula still provides the bulk of nutrition for a baby until around 12 months.
Cows’ milk can replace baby formula as your baby is now ready to eat most foods in line with the whole family. Of course, toddler milk drink can be used to supplement the normal diet of an active toddler from 1 to 3 years, when their dietary intake may be inadequate.
Small serves of milk daily, at spaced intervals allows your toddler to consume other foods in between and not fill up on cows’ milk or toddler milk drink (remember to give your child a cup at this stage, as they do not need a bottle anymore), whilst topping up their nutritional intake.