An exclusive menu: bottle feeding

Bottle-feeding

From birth and up to the first six months, the World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding. If this is not possible, infant formula that adapts to the degree of maturation of each baby's digestive system is available. This alternative provides the necessary nutrients for the child's development. 

How to choose the best infant formula

The first step is to analyze its composition and choose the one that is closest to breast milk and also includes the essential nutritional elements for growth.

In newborns, most organs and tissues are still developing. This includes the brain, the central nervous system, the immune system and defenses, visual function, the mineralization of bones and teeth, etc. Therefore, if breastfeeding is not possible, it is essential to find an infant formula that provides the essential nutrients for the growth and development of these structures and tissues. Consult your pediatrician!

Types

Milk for healthy infants:

  • Infant formula for feeding from birth and up to the introduction of complementary feeding (at about the sixth month). This type of milk is the most similar to breast milk.
  • Follow-up formula. It is indicated for infants older than six months up to 3 years that have already begun complementary feeding.
  •  Growing-up formula. Indicated for preschool children from 3 years in advance. Its intermediate composition makes this a transitional milk between follow-up milk and cow's milk.

Milks designed for solving specific problems:

  • Special milks with modifications in their composition that make them suitable for feeding babies and young children with problems or limitations in the absorption, digestion or metabolism process of certain nutrients, as is the case in allergies or intolerances. Some of them have two stages, first-stage milks and follow-on formula, the latter for babies over 6 months of age who have begun complementary feeding.

 

Selection

Selecting a good infant formula is definitely a matter of choosing what is best for the baby. It is advisable to select formulas with a composition that is based on the research and investigation of breast milk and the most nutrients possible since these help boost the baby's maturation. Some of these nutrients are:

  • Bioactive serum proteins rich in immunoglobulins and lactoferrin, related to the maturation and maintenance of natural defenses.
  • Prebiotics, such as the fructooligosaccharides (FOS) that promote the appearance of healthy intestinal flora and that act as soluble fiber that helps normalize intestinal transit by reducing stool consistency and increasing its frequency.
  • Probiotics (Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus) that promote balanced intestinal flora by boosting the presence of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. They are linked to the maturation of the digestive system and of the natural defenses.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in high concentrations in the brain structures, the nervous system and retina. They are essential for the growth and development of these organs.
  • ß-palmitate, which helps make the most of fats and facilitates magnesium and calcium absorption while promoting the appearance of softer and more frequent stools.
  • Nucleotides, which help with the maturation of the digestive system and of the defenses. Their presence in infant formulas is linked to a lower incidence of diarrhea and digestive disorders.
  • Carnitine, which is essential for obtaining energy from fats as well as for the proper metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, cholesterol and triglycerides. 

Quantities

As in the case of breastfeeding, infant formula feedings must also be on demand. Although the quantities tend to be indicated on the label of each milk container, questions may be resolved using the following table as a general guide. Keep in mind that each baby has his own pace and certain infants may need more or less food. You can verify that a baby is being fed properly by monitoring the changes in his weight over time as well as his growth.

Age

Water (ml)

Number of measures

Daily servings

1st and 2nd week

90

3

6

3rd and 4th week

120

4

6

2nd month

150

5

6

3rd month

180

6

5

4th and 5th month

210

7

5

6th and subsequent months

240

8

4

 

Remember! To avoid over/underfeeding, always follow a ratio of one level scoop of milk for every 30 ml of water and use the scoop that comes with the package since all scoops are not alike and they tend to have different sizes.

Bottles

How to prepare a bottle

Although it may seem simple, a specific technique must be followed. First, select the type of water, preferably bottled (natural mineral water from a natural spring or prepared) and with low mineralization (this will be indicated on the label). If tap water is used, boil it during one minute. Ask your pediatrician about the type of water he or she recommends as this will depend on where you live.

To prepare a bottle, it is suggested to heat the water, pour the required quantity in the bottle and then add the milk with a ratio of one scoop for every 30 ml of water. The bottle, nipple and remaining elements must be sterilized. This should be done before each feeding during the first months of the infant's life, although sterilization can be spaced out further at a later point.

The milk should not be too hot or too cold. Babies tend to prefer mild temperatures! Test the temperature on your wrist before feeding the baby in order to prevent burns.

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