I exclusively BF both our two boys, but SIL is now in hospital having her baby as I type. She's not intending to BF but is asking me questions around how often, how much and how FF works. I know nothing so am having a look on here.
My thinking is that in the first weeks, you just feed the baby formula as and when it seems hungry? I know it's hard to tell that, but as I just shoved them on the boob if they seemed upset - or should I say, did baby led feeding, ahem - I don't know what to tell her.
Can you really over feed a FF baby? You should never thicken up or water it down, should you? Depending on if seems extra hungry or constipated / hot weather. Can you make it and put it in the fridge? How long after a bottle has been made, do you get to use it? You can't re heat formula once it's been used for a feed can you?
I know this will be v basic to some people, but really appreciate guidance as I want to be useful and helpful, and don't want to give the wrong support to her.
Tbh it makes me very anxious hearing of people not following the guidelines and making up feeds as needed especially in the early weeks. The consequences can be devastating.
The powder contains potentially harmful bacteria that needs to hit very hot water to ensure the majority is killed and then disposed of before the bacteria develops again. An older baby with a strengthened immune system may not suffer so badly so I'm not too bothered how things develop, but please do things safely to start with.
Starlight the guidelines offer advice about doing it safely - ie. flash cooling and storing at back of fridge for no longer than 24 hours.
I am very aware of the concequences, and made an educated decision with what to do when it came to my baby.
The bottles must be made completely correctly though, with thoroughly clean and sterilised bottles, freshly boiled tap water, and the most important bit of killing bacteria (which is where most people fall down) powder hitting the water above 70 degrees. Flash cooled and in to back of fridge.
Pretty sure I read on a thread here recently that the bacteria in milk thing is nonsense, someone was told so by a paed or a consultant or a baby milk manufacturer. Vague I know, wish I could remember better.
Either way, I am sick of the way people talk about mothers who use formula as though we are somehow harming our babies. I havent once heard, in RL or on here, of a baby becoming sick from bottles being prepared in that way.
Thedetective is absolutely right. I am afraid unless you want to manage your baby gina ford style on a strict feeding schedule, it is not practical to make a bottle each time your baby goes from coos of delight to pangs of hunger. At that point when you're breastfeeding, you can wap a boob out and solve the request for milk instantly. When ff, you also need a quick, safe method. The nhs website itself tells you the safest method of making bottles in advance. Its the silly people who add powder to cold water, leave prepared milk on the worktop all day, or keep offering the same bottle of milk to their child for longer than an hour, who are negligent.
The careful ff mums who have researched the safest method for in advance preparation are doing the best bf alternative for quick response to feeding their hungry baby.
Ps like stowsettler, we make up feeds in the 'in advance' method as found on the nhs website, twice a day so no bottle is kept in the coldest part of the fridge, for longer than 12 hours. We use cartons when out and not in instant access to a fridge. If we do take a bottle of prepared formula out, we do so when it is completely chilled, transported in a bottle cool bag and then put in a friends fridge when we arrive. So no, we're not complete numpties...
If you really can't do it immediately beforehand in the very early weeks then the safest way of giving formula is to do so with the readymade cartons.
The NHS guidelines publish the safest way of making up milk in advance, but do not state that it is the safest way of feeding your baby. I think it is essential that people know this and safety is not dismissed or diminished by people who state that it can be reduced to a matter of opinion. It cannot.
The quickest way to make up formula is to pour a little bit of boiling water into the bottle to kill any bacteria in the formula, then add the rest of the water, it takes seconds and the bottle will be fresh and ready to drink. You don't want to be waiting for the bottle to be cooling while your hungry baby is screaming!
You can also store bottles in the fridge for up to 24 hours, it's quickest to heat it up in the microwave, just make sure to shake really well to avoid any hot spots.
That sounds sensible zebra although how do you make sure the volume of water is right? Once the powder is added to the water, the volume of fluid increases e.g. 4 scoops of powder dissolved in 4oz of water will have a volume closer to 5oz rather than 4oz.
So if you dissolve 4 scoops of powder, say, in a bit of boiling water then add cooled boiled water to increase the volume to 4oz, the amount of water added will be lower than the required 4oz. Or do you pre-measure the boiling and cooled water in separate containers before pouring in?
Starlight You can only get the first formulas in cartons (for formula suitable for newborns). You can't get all the different specialist formulas in ready made cartons, frustratingly.
I know my baby, and many others on my PN thread are on different milks, eg: CMP free formula, lactose free formula, anti reflux formula, stay down formula etc. A lot of mums have no choice sometimes.
When we go out there isn't anywhere safe to make up feeds, depending on where we are obviously, but generally, there isn't. So I take a cool bag with ice packs in, with a cold bottle in.
The staydown formula has to be made with cooled boiled water that is chilled from the fridge. These bottles definitely do need making up in advance! Or at least the water does. You have to add the powder cold goes against all my instincts arghhhh!. It took the water about 2.5 hours from kettle to cold enough for the bloody formula to be added.