Infant Formula feeding: What mothers should know

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What can your baby drink?

Babies can drink breast milk or formula or a combination of both breast milk and formula.

  • Babies who are formula fed can also have cooled boiled water at any age.
  • Babies who are breastfed can have cooled boiled water from around 6 months.

Cow’s milk

Babies under 12 months should not drink cow’s milk as the main drink because:

  • they can’t process the protein and salt well
  • It can cause their blood to be low in iron.

Small amounts of cow’s milk can be mixed with baby’s food.

Never give your baby sweet drinks

  • Never give your baby sweet drinks such as soft drinks, flavored milk, juice or cordial.
  • Sweet drinks can reduce the intake of breast milk or formula and can cause tooth decay and weight problems

Things you should know when preparing your baby’s  formula

  • Wash your hands.
  • Use a clean work space.
  • Boil clean water for 30 seconds and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Pour the right amount of cooled boiled water into a sterilized bottle.
  • Use the scoop provided to add the right amount of formula.
  • Follow the instructions on the formula tin
  • Don’t add anything else.
  • Heat the bottle in a container of warm water.
  • Shake the bottle well to make sure the heat is spread evenly.
  • Always check the temperature of the formula before giving it to baby. Pour a few drops on unbroken skin on the inside of your wrist. The milk should feel warm, not hot.
  • Do not use a microwave to heat up formula as this can make the milk too hot and can burn your baby’s mouth.
  • Formula should be made up just before baby’s feed.
  • Extra bottles can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • Throw out any unused formula after 24 hours.

Feeding Baby

  • Bottle feeding is a chance to cuddle up with your baby.
  • Baby can have formula cold or warm.
  • Propping up and giving baby a bottle can lead to choking and ear infections.
  • Throw away any formula left in the bottle.
  • Re-using formula can make baby sick.

Cleaning bottles and teats

  • Sterilizing bottles and teats kills germs.
  • Wash bottles and teats in warm soapy water and rinse off detergent and bubbles.
  • Sterilize bottles and teats. Choose a method for sterilization such as boiling.


Author: Bibian Okoye

A Retired Chief Nursing Officer, PGDip IHM

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