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Pharmamum’s Ultimate Guide: Breastfeeding/Formula Feeding (Part 2 of 2)
Breast feeding didn’t come easy and what ended up working best for me, was combine feeding. At each feed I would breastfeed first and then top up with formula. This worked well, as I wasn’t blessed with a large milk supply no matter how often I breastfed or expressed, to try build up my supply, the production of breast milk just wasn’t keeping up with the demands. I had no problem with formula feeding, as long as my baby was not going hungry, I felt I would give what I had, and top up with formula to satisfy their needs.
When It came to formula feeding, I needed to make it as practical and convenient as possible to prepare formula when on the go, doing routine daily activities.
I will explain the best way to prepare formula when you are at home and what is recommended by the world health organisation. I will then describe what worked for me, because as a parent, and dealing with everyday busy life, being organised makes life easier and if preparing bottles for the day ahead, we need to ensure it is prepared in a hygienic and safe way for your baby.
Best way to prepare formula:
1) Before you do anything, wash your hands
2) Ensure all the bottles, teats, caps, lids etc are sterilised
3) Use fresh clean water to fill the kettle and boil. Do not re-boil previously boiled water left in the kettle.
4) Allow the water to cool for no more than half an hour as the temperature of the water you pour into the sterilised bottle should not be less than 70 degrees celcius. At this temperature you are killing off any bacteria that may be present.
5) Pour the amount of water required into the bottle first, and then using the measuring scoop provided with the formula, scoop the correct amount of powder and level if off with the leveler provided. Use the chart on the back of the tin to tell you how many scoops of powder is needed. ie one scoop of formula may be required per 30ml of water. If baby is drinking 120ml, 4 scoops of powder will be required. Every formula is different and one scoop of powder may be needed for 50ml of water. It is important to read the directions carefully. As giving too much or too little formula can be dangerous for your baby’s health.
6) Put the teat onto the bottle together with the lid and give it a gentle shake to ensure it is evenly mixed.
7) The bottle will need to be cooled down to a lukewarm temperature to give to your baby. To do this, sit the bottle in some cold water.
8) Test the temperature on the inside of your wrist and then begin feeding your baby.
9) Throw away any left over milk that your baby did not drink, never save it for the next feed.
Preparing the formula at 70 degrees C, will kill off any bacteria that may be present in the powdered formula. Once powdered formula is open, the tin can be used for up to one month. Write the date on the tin to know when to discard. When repeatedly opening the tin and using the scoop to prepare formula, there is a chance for bacteria to enter. By preparing the formula at 70 degrees you are reducing the chance of any bacteria surviving. Preparing the bottles as you need is what’s recommended. However, with the busy lives that we lead, preparing bottles ahead of time can make life easier. The following method worked perfectly for me, it was great when travelling or when I was out and about and didn’t feel restricted to feeding at home:
- Sterilise the number of bottles required for the day.
- Use fresh clean water to fill the kettle and boil.
- Allow the water to cool for no more than half an hour as the temperature of the water you pour into the sterilised bottle should not be less than 70 degrees.
- Pour in each bottle the required amount of water and place them in the fridge.
- Fill in a separate container the amount of powdered formula required per bottle. I always carried in my nappy bag the Avent 3-in-1 formula dispenser, which allows you to carry 3 pre-measured portions of formula powder in separate compartments.
- When the formula is required, scoop the required amount of formula ( or pour the pre-measured portion) into the bottle and place the teat and cap on the bottle and swirl the bottle first, to avoid the formula getting stuck in the teat and then shake the formula gently to mix it evenly.
- Heat up the formula by placing the bottle in warm/hot water. Some babies are more than happy to drink room temperature formula.
A handy tip:
As I got confident with preparing bottles, I worked out that I could refrigerate two thirds of the required water needed and when it came to preparing a bottle, I boiled the kettle and added the remaining third of water to the refrigerated water in the bottle and found that it was at the perfect temperature for feeding. The formula powder was then added and we were ready to go.
- You are required to sterilise your baby’s bottles and feeding equipment, until your baby is 12 months old
- If you are going out with pre-made bottles,store them in the coldest part of the fridge before leaving the house. They need to be placed in a cooler bag with ice packs and consumed within 4 hours. If you don’t have an ice pack and you are taking a pre-made formula out of the fridge and into room temperature, then it must be consumed within 2 hours.
- When heating up formula, never use a microwave, always sit it in warm/hot water and allow it to warm up, as microwaves can heat unevenly, it can put your baby at risk of burns.
- Using a bottle warmer is fine, but do not sit formula in the warmer for longer than 10 minutes, as it can increase the risk of bacteria build up.
- Do not keep the scoop and leveler provided in the formula tin. Keep them clean, dry and in a separate container. This avoids contamination from hands to the powdered formula.
- Do not use bottled water to make up formula (there are situations that you may need to, and will be mentioned later)
When travelling to areas that do not have safe drinking water, you need to use bottled water to make up formula.
- You need to boil the bottled water first.
- Ensure you have sterilised your baby’s bottles. Whilst travelling there are smaller, compact microwave sterilisers that can be purchased. Otherwise you can use cold water sterilising tablets ie Milton’s sterilising tablets, which can be placed together with water into a large container with a lid and will sterilise in 15 minutes. The milton’s solution can stay in the container for 24 hours so you can keep placing bottles, dummies or other items in the solution for 24 hours before needing to re-make the solution.
- Look at the label of bottle waters before purchasing, as some bottled water contain too much salt and sulphate. You need to check the label on the water and ensure that there is no more than 200mg of salt (Na) per Litre of water and no more than 250mg of Sulphate (SO or SO4) per litre of water. Brands of bottled water that are safe are Evian and Volvic. Ensure there is a seal on the bottled water to make sure the water has come directly from the company.
- When travelling by plane, depending how long the flight is, you will need to work out how many bottles to bring. Always take 1 or 2 extra bottles in case of delays and trust me they happen. We travelled with our daughter when she was 8 months and on our return flight, what should have taken 4 hours to get home took 9. Thankfully I did pack an extra 2 bottles and plenty of snacks that came in handy. When flying, to help equalise the pressure in babies ears, it helps to feed your baby when taking off and when landing. -The rules for only being allowed to take on board 100mls of liquid does not apply to baby bottles. Prepare how ever many bottles you need with the usual amount of water required. When on board the aeroplane, the staff can bring you warm water to sit your bottle in to heat up when needed. You can purchase the formula dispensers that will fit 3 individual doses of formula in one container or depending on what formula you use you can purchase individual packaged sticks of formula that are great for travelling.
- Depending where you are travelling to, you may need to bring a tin or two of formula, I would not recommend changing formula brands on a trip as you don’t want to deal with a baby who’s tummy is not tolerating a new formula whilst trying to enjoy your holiday. Do your research before you go to find out if your baby’s formula is readily available in your chosen destination.
Please feel free to leave comments on this blog and if there are any questions I am more than happy to answer them. Also if you tried a remedy that worked well for your children that was or wasn’t mentioned above, let me know. I hope this information does help.