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Overview

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, there is value in learning about bottles and formula if you decide or need to incorporate them to feed your baby at some point. If you pump breast milk, you will be using a bottle to feed your baby. If you stop breastfeeding before your baby’s first birthday, you will need to supplement with formula. You have many options for bottles and formula, and choosing the best fit for you and your baby can be challenging. This article is your comprehensive guide to bottle feeding your baby, from introducing a bottle to choosing the right infant formula.

Article and Resources

For all of the breastfeeding resources, episodes, and articles in one place, see this page.

Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding, and Formula

Breastfeeding is not mutually exclusive of bottle feeding or infant formula. You need a bottle to feed your baby pumped breastmilk. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, having a breast pump and knowing how to use it can be invaluable if you need to be away from your baby for a few hours or a long workday. It can be stressful to introduce a bottle to a baby, especially if you intend to continue breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and bottle feeding can work together. As well, introducing or supplementing with formula does not mean you have to stop breastfeeding.

The evidence in support of breastfeeding is overwhelming. There are decades of documentation on the positive effects of breastfeeding on immunityhealth, and the connection between mother and baby. Although there is a massive amount of evidence in support of breastfeeding, rates are still low. For 2018, the most recent data from the U.S., 83.9% of babies were breastfed at least once. At six months, 56.7% of babies were still receiving breastmilk, and by 12 months, that dropped to 35%. Even so, many parents supplemented these babies with formula. The rates of exclusive breastfeeding are even lower. At three months, 46.3% of babies were exclusively breastfed. By six months, that number dropped to 25.8%.

When you have a new baby, everything is new, not just for you but also for your baby. While it may seem that something as simple as feeding a baby a bottle or breastfeeding should be the most natural thing in the world, it doesn’t always play out that way in practice. There can be a lot of anxiety around how you feed your baby. It is crucial to have the knowledge and support you need to breastfeed. You can see all of the Pregnancy Podcast resources here. You should also have the information you need to make informed decisions about bottle feeding and infant formula. Parenting and caring for a newborn is all about finding solutions that are right for you and your baby, whatever those may be.

Combining Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

Introducing a bottle to a new baby, especially one accustomed to feeding on a breast, can be tricky. On the one hand, you want them to drink from a bottle, but you don’t want them to prefer that method over breastfeeding if you plan to continue breastfeeding. When combining bottle and breastfeeding, the general idea is to mimic breastfeeding with the bottle.

Let your baby initiate the feeding, so they draw the nipple into the mouth rather than you pushing the nipple into their mouth. This lets them control when the feeding begins. You may also stroke your baby’s lips from top to bottom with the nipple to get them to elicit a rooting response and open their mouth wide to accept the nipple rather than poking it in.

Another aspect of mimicking breastfeeding is to do paced feeding. With paced feeding, you want to encourage frequent pauses while your baby drinks from the bottle, which will mimic your letdown patterns when you breastfeed.

Let your baby decide when they are done. Generally, you wouldn’t encourage them to finish the last bit of milk in the bottle by doing things like forcing the nipple into the mouth, massaging their jaw or throat, or moving the nipple around in their mouth. If your baby is falling asleep and releasing the bottle nipple before the bottle is empty, that is okay. Think about how you would handle a similar situation if you were breastfeeding. You likely wouldn’t be waking your baby up, trying to get them to drink more milk every time they fall asleep at your breast.

When to Introduce a Bottle

Introducing a bottle to your baby varies depending on your situation, and there are many different opinions. You may not have the luxury of choosing when you introduce a bottle if you find yourself having to do it out of necessity. Or you may be able to time it for when the time is right if breastfeeding is going well.

A general timeline would be no earlier than three weeks and preferably by five or six weeks. The idea behind this is that you want to get breastfeeding well established first. Your baby has to work harder to get milk from breastfeeding than they do to get milk out of a bottle. Since bottles are easier for babies, you could end up in a situation where your baby prefers a bottle over breastfeeding because it is easier.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the fear that if you wait too long, your baby may refuse a bottle because it is not your breast. This can be particularly stressful for mothers who need to return to work after maternity leave. Don’t wait until your first day back at work for your partner or someone else to give your baby a bottle. Ideally, you wait to introduce a bottle until at least three weeks or until you establish breastfeeding well. Ultimately you will need to decide when the right time is, and depending on your circumstances, that may not be in your control.

Types of Bottles

You have a lot of options on types of bottles. They vary in size, shape, material, and there are pros and cons to all of them. Generally, bottles and nipples come in a set, and if you try and combine one brand nipple with another brand of bottle, you may find they don’t fit together correctly. Some babies prefer one bottle over another, so you may have to try out several before finding one your baby likes.

Nipple Materials

Bottle nipples are either latex or silicone. Latex nipples are soft, flexible rubber, and you can easily identify these as they tend to be a light brown color. The draw of latex is that it may feel more like an actual nipple and are relatively inexpensive. The big issue with latex is that many babies are allergic or sensitive to latex. For that reason, many moms avoid these types of nipples altogether.

Silicone is clear, and firmer, and more durable than latex. It is extremely unlikely it could trigger an allergic reaction. Silicone nipples are the most common today.

Plastic Bottles

Bottles are made primarily from plastic. These are inexpensive, lightweight, will not break if you drop them, and don’t sweat or form condensation. Plastic does tend to wear down over time, especially with exposure to heat. Although plastic looks very smooth, it has tiny indentations and can scratch easily, making plastic a bit harder to clean, and bacteria can hide in those scratches and indentations.

BPA

BPA (bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical used in plastics and some food packaging. Exposure to BPA is a concern because it is a hormone disruptor. As of 2012, the FDA has not approved the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, and infant formula packaging. Even in some products that do not contain BPA, there are questions about whether the chemicals that have replaced BPA, which are very similar and are known as BPF or BPS, are truly better. If you are concerned at all about chemicals in plastics, there are other options available.

Glass Bottles

Glass bottles are a more eco-friendly alternative to plastic and something you may want to consider if you are concerned about any chemicals in plastics. These are more expensive than plastic.

They often come with a silicone sleeve, or this may be something that you need to purchase separately, depending on the brand. The sleeve can help cushion the bottle and keep it from breaking if you drop it, or help contain the glass if the bottle does break. A silicone sleeve may also make it easier for your baby to hold the bottle because the glass will sweat or form condensation with cold liquids. Since you typically heat milk or formula before giving it to your baby, condensation likely will not be an issue. Unlike plastic, glass has an entirely smooth surface, so it tends to be easier to clean. If you plan to use glass, be aware that some daycares will not allow glass bottles for liability reasons.

Stainless Steel Bottles

Stainless steel bottles are more expensive than glass bottles. This material is more durable than plastic or glass and is super easy to clean. Since this material is not transparent, measuring how much milk is in the bottle can be challenging. Stainless steel will sweat with cold liquids, although not quite as much as glass.

Size, Shape, and Design

In addition to the different materials, baby bottles also come in different sizes, shapes, and designs.

Bottle and Nipple Sizes and Flows

Bottles typically come in two basic sizes. For infants, they are 4 or 5 ounces (120-150 ml). For older babies, the bottles are around 8 or 9 ounces (240-270 ml). You may also find some brands in 7 ounces (200 ml) and 11 ounces (330 ml).

Bottle nipples tend to come in different sizes and flows designed to go up depending on how old your baby is. The sizes are in flows; newborn, slow, medium, or fast, or stages; 1, 2, 3, or 4. Your baby may not follow the age ranges for each stage. If your little one is getting too much milk, you would know this if they are choking or sputtering. You may need to go with a slower flow nipple. On the other hand, if they are getting frustrated and not getting milk out fast enough, you may need to graduate to a faster flow.

Nipple Shapes

Just as bottles, nipples come in many different shapes and sizes. The most common nipple is a simple round nipple. They also have orthodontic nipples, which tend to be flat on one side. Wide mouth bottles tend to have a wider nipple. When you compare different types of nipples, you will see some shorter than others, and some moms find it helpful to find a nipple similar to their own. This can be particularly helpful when you are combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

Standard bottles

Standard bottles will have straight or slightly curved sides and are likely what you picture when thinking about a classic bottle. These start at around $1.50 each and go up from there. The pros of the standard baby bottle are that they are easy to fill and hold and simple to clean. You can use standard bottles with most breast pumps and bottle warmers.

Angle-neck

Angle-neck bottles have a bend at the bottle’s neck, making them easier for you to hold in a comfortable position. The draw of this type of bottle is that the shape causes milk to collect at the nipple end of the bottle. According to angle-neck manufacturers, your baby is less likely to swallow air with this design. The angle-neck shape may work well for feeding your baby when they are lying in a semi-upright position, and this can help prevent fluid from collecting in their ear canals, which can lead to ear infections. A downside to this bottle is that they can be awkward to fill because you have to hold them sideways or use a special funnel to pour milk or formula.

Wide

Wide bottles have a wide neck, and they are a little shorter and broader than a standard bottle. The claim from manufacturers is that wide-neck bottles and wide nipples feel more breast-like to babies. Theoretically, these types of bottles are a good choice for parents who switch back and forth between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. These bottles may be a little more expensive than a standard bottle.

Natural-flow

Natural-flow bottles have a two-piece straw-like vent system in the center of the bottle. This eliminates the vacuum that can form when a baby sucks, so there are no air bubbles. In theory, this design reduces the possibility of colic and gas. These types of bottles may work at reducing the air baby is taking in. Other than they may cost a little more, the only con is that there is an extra piece or two to wash, and the straws can be difficult to clean. Most of these bottles should come with a small thin brush to use when you clean the straws.

Disposable Liners

Bottles with disposable liners feature a bottle and nipple, but the milk or formula goes in a disposable plastic bag that fits inside the bottle. These can be convenient if you pump breast milk because you can pump directly into the bag, then move it into the bottle. The bag will collapse as your baby drinks milk, which may minimize your baby’s air intake during feeding. Of course, when your little one finishes the bottle, you throw away the empty liner, and it is one less thing to wash. A downside to these bottles is that you are constantly buying new liners, increasing the cost. Also, disposable plastic bags may not be the most environmentally friendly option.

Finding the Right Bottle and Nipple

Some studies compare different types of bottles, especially those marketed for anti-colic or other issues. The bottle manufacturers sponsored all the evidence I could find, so these can be biased.

All babies are different and may prefer different types of bottles. You may need to try out several bottles before you find one that your baby likes. Resist the urge to stock up on bottles before your baby arrives. If you are planning on registering for bottles for your baby shower, pick out a few starter kits from different brands so you can try out a few of them.

Once your little one finds one they like, then you can stock up and buy more of that particular brand. If your friend uses a bottle you want to try out, ask them if you can borrow one and try it out before having to shell out cash to buy one that may not work out. You can easily sterilize bottles and nipples by boiling them for ten minutes before and after you borrow one if you want to go this route.

Making and Warming a Bottle

If you use infant formula, follow the instructions of the water to formula ratio. Never water down the formula more than the instructed amount on the label. Too much water for a baby can cause water intoxication. With powdered formula, you want to use the scoop that came with that particular container, don’t use another scoop or measurement from another brand.

While there is bottled water marketing specifically for infant formula, it is not necessary. As long as the water is safe to drink, it is safe to mix it with formula. The AAP has criticized the mixed messaging on formula packaging about boiling water then letting it cool. If you have any concerns about the safety of tap water, you can always use filtered water. If your baby is born prematurely or has other health concerns, please ask your pediatrician about the water you mix with formula.

Some babies will drink milk or formula cold or at room temperature. You can always test this out and see if your baby minds cooler temperatures. If they don’t drink it, then you can warm it up. Breastmilk comes out at your body temperature. You only need to warm the milk or formula. You do not want it hot. To warm a bottle, the first thing you should know is that you should not microwave it. Heating liquid in a microwave can create hotspots that could burn your baby’s mouth. Microwaves can also break down some of the nutrients and changes the composition of the breastmilk.

There are baby bottle warmers that plug in, and you just pop the bottle in, and it warms it for you in a few minutes. You could also fill a cup, bowl, or any other container with hot water and set the bottle in it to heat it. Over time you will have this process down and ballpark the amount of hot water to use and the time needed to heat a certain amount of milk or formula. Your baby will be more sensitive to temperatures than you, so make sure it isn’t too hot. A common way to test temperature is to put a few drops on the inside of your wrist.

Cleaning

The best method to clean bottles is to wash in hot water with gentle dish soap. There are quite a few options on bottle brushes, and these are helpful. You want to make sure any traces of milk are washed away, especially from the nipple, which can be a little trickier to clean. Once you wash bottles and accessories, let them air dry. Drying racks for baby bottles are helpful because they make it easy to store small parts while they are drying. You could also run everything through your dishwasher and use a small basket to house the nipples and any other small parts.

Sterilizing

It is a general practice to sterilize bottles before you use them for the first time. Some parents make it a habit of sterilizing them periodically. It is not necessary to sterilize them before each use. You can always ask your care provider or pediatrician what their recommendation is for sterilizing bottles. Sterilizing bottles is more of an issue with premature babies.

If you do sterilize bottles, you can do this in your dishwasher. There are electric steamers that will sterilize bottles, steam sterilizers that you put in your microwave, and sterilizers that use UV light. You have a lot of options to find a solution you like that works within your budget. Don’t forget you can always boil a pot of water and sterilize everything that way. Ultimately whether you decide to sterilize bottles and how often you do that is a personal choice, and your pediatrician is an excellent resource.

Bottle Feeding

Feeding your baby a bottle may seem a little awkward at first, but with time both of you will get the hang of it, and it will be a natural thing for both of you. A bonus of bottle feeding is that other people can also feed your baby. For partners, giving your baby a bottle is a great bonding opportunity.

Positioning Your Baby

To get your baby in a comfortable position, you will most likely be supporting your baby’s head in the crook of your arm, and you want to hold them at about a 45-degree angle. Holding a baby for a while can be tiring, so feel free to use a pillow to prop up your arm and make sure you are comfortable. The nursing and feeding pillows from Boppy are lifesavers for new parents. Your baby should be sitting or lying so that their head is higher than their stomach while eating. Avoid having your newborn drink from a bottle when lying down because this position is associated with an increased frequency of ear infections.

Bottle Position and Latch

Make sure to tilt the bottle at an angle so that milk fills the entire nipple and not sucking in the air. Their latch on the bottle to be similar to their latch when they are breastfeeding. A lot of the nipple should be in their mouth, and their lips should flare outward. Some people call these duck lips because their lips look like a duck when they are latched on the bottle properly.

Your baby will tell you when they have had enough because they will turn their head away from the nipple when they are full. It can be helpful to keep your baby upright for a little while after they eat, rather than laying them down right away, and this may minimize spitting up.

Burping

A good thing to get in the habit of doing is burping your baby. You will want to burp your baby about halfway or more often if your baby swallows a lot of air. This will help your baby be more comfortable and minimize spitting up. By burping your baby and getting any air out before it has to travel through their intestinal tract, you will help prevent gas. This is also a great way to switch sides, so your arm isn’t super tired, plus your baby gets a new view. Switching sides is helpful if your baby is still breastfeeding, so they do not prefer one side.

Combining Infant Formula and Breastfeeding

You already know that breastfeeding is amazing and that no laboratory can recreate the breastmilk you can produce for your baby. Breastfeeding is a relationship, and if it isn’t working for you or isn’t working for your baby, you do have the option to use formula. For some parents introducing formula is a choice. For others, it is out of necessity. If you give your baby formula, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop breastfeeding altogether. Any amount of breastmilk that your baby gets is fantastic, even if it isn’t at every meal. It is essential to understand that your milk supply depends on the demand from your baby (or breast pump) and milk removal. When you replace a meal of breastmilk with a formula, you will decrease your supply if you do not pump.

History of Infant Formula

The world’s first commercial infant formula was developed in 1867. Before this time, if mothers could not breastfeed their baby, they employed a wet nurse. This was someone who was producing breastmilk and breastfed another mother’s baby. Breast pumps were not a thing back then. While this may seem socially unacceptable now, it certainly wasn’t back then. In the 1920s and 1930s, evaporated milk formula was popular. It wasn’t until the 1950s that commercial formulas started replacing evaporated milk formulas. By the early 1970s, over 75% of parents fed their babies formula. Today, the vast majority of parents use infant formula. At six months old, 3 out of 4 babies drink formula, and that number continues to increase as babies get older.

Since the inception of infant formula, manufacturers have spent a pile of money and resources trying to mimic breastmilk as closely as possible. All the ingredients that go into formula are in one way or another mimicking what is actually in breastmilk, but they are not identical. Formula today is the best we have ever had available, and it is continuing to improve over time. If you are not breastfeeding, formula is the next best thing.

Formula Types

When it comes to choosing an infant formula, you have a lot of options. Every company has brilliant marketing telling you that their formula is the best. The majority of baby formulas come in powdered form that you mix with water. There are also ready-to-use formulas that you simply pour into a bottle. Some formulas are liquid concentrate. It is important never to add additional water and always follow the instructions on the formula package.

Home Made Formulas

Making your formula at home is recommended. It would be impossible to include all of the ingredients in the right amounts for your baby. Companies carefully develop formulas with precise quantities of dozens of nutrients. Adding anything to the formula could jeopardize your baby’s health. The bottom line, doctors, don’t recommend it. On the same note, it is not recommended to add ingredients to your baby’s formula. This includes vitamins, cereal, fatty acids, olive oil, any kind of animal milk, or anything else unless your doctor recommends it.

Brand Name vs. Generic Formula

Infant formula is a big business. You see advertising everywhere, and these companies stand to make a big profit from sales. The global infant formula market was valued at $50.46 billion in 2019 and is projected to more than double by 2027.

When you are purchasing formula, you have the option to buy brand name or generic. The FDA regulates formula in the U.S., and it must contain the minimum recommended amount of nutrients that infants need. Other countries have similar standards from their regulatory organizations. In many instances, the only difference between a generic and a brand name is the price. Although, whether you’re buying generic or name brand, read the label and ingredients. Specific ingredients do vary from brand to brand, and this can make a difference to your baby.

Formula Ingredients

Although different types and brands of formula vary in their ingredients, all formulas have six main components: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. What makes one brand of formula different from the next are the specific carbohydrate and protein it uses and any additional ingredients it includes.

Carbohydrate

The main carbohydrate in breastmilk is lactose, and this is also the main carbohydrate in cow’s-milk-based formulas. Corn maltodextrin can be a secondary source of carbohydrate in formula. Lactose-free formulas, soy, and special formulas can contain sucrose, corn maltodextrin, modified cornstarch, or corn syrup solids. Often in organic formulas, you will see brown rice syrup. Breastmilk is naturally sweet, and these ingredients are working to mimic that.

Protein

Theproteinin breastmilk contains about 60 percent whey and 40 percent casein. Most formulas have similar protein content or 100 percent whey, but the ratio may differ from one brand to the next.

Cow’s milk-based formulas have whey and casein as a protein source. Most babies do well on cow’s milk formula, but some babies who are allergic to the proteins need other types of infant formula.

Soy-based formulas can be useful if you want to exclude animal proteins from your child’s diet. This is also an option for babies who are intolerant or allergic to cow’s milk formula or lactose, a carbohydrate naturally found in cow’s milk. Soy formulas contain soy protein isolate. Some brands use partially hydrolyzed soy protein to allow easier digestion.

Protein hydrolysate formulas contain broken down protein or hydrolyzed either partially or extensively. Extensively hydrolyzed formulas contain proteins broken down into their building blocks, which are amino acids. Extensively hydrolyzed formulas are considered hypoallergenic for babies who have a protein allergy. These types of formulas are for babies who don’t tolerate cow’s milk or soy-based formulas well.

Goat’s milk-based formulas are gaining traction but still aren’t widely popular with big U.S. manufacturers.

Protein in goat’s milk is more easily and rapidly digestible than cow’s milk. It contains only trace amounts of an allergenic casein protein, which is in cow’s milk. Plus, the casein in goat’s milk is more similar to human milk. Goat’s milk contains slightly lower levels of lactose than cow’s milk, has 13 percent more calcium, 25 percent more vitamin B-6, 47 percent more vitamin A, 134 percent more potassium, three times more niacin, and also contains 27 percent more of the antioxidant selenium than cow’s milk. On the other hand, cow’s milk contains five times as much vitamin B-12 as goat’s milk and ten times as much folic acid. Scientific studies have not found a decreased incidence of allergy with goat’s milk, but many moms swear by it.

Fat

Breastmilk is high in fat and contains a blend of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fat. Formulas use various oils to try and match the fat makeup of breast milk, including soy oil, coconut oil, palm or palm olein oil, and high oleic sunflower oil. Although formula companies widely use palm and palm olein oil, some research shows that these fats can reduce fat and calcium absorption.

Specialized Formulas

Some special formulas for premature babies or infants who have trouble digesting or absorbing nutrients. These special formulas have medium-chain triglycerides, which require less effort to digest and are more easily absorbed.

Vitamins and Nutrients

It would be nice if vitamins and nutrients were easy to understand on the ingredient label. Unless you know the chemical compounds of these vitamins, it may be tough to figure it out. Ferrous sulfate is iron; sodium ascorbate is vitamin C. Remember that all formulas are required to have a specific amount of all the essential nutrients your baby needs. If you are concerned that your baby isn’t getting enough of a particular vitamin or mineral, bring it up with your pediatrician.

Iron

Iron is a buzzword when talking about ingredients in formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all healthy babies who aren’t breastfed exclusively be given iron-fortified formula until they reach their first birthday. Iron is vital to the blood’s ability to circulate oxygen, which all of the body’s cells need to function properly. Getting enough iron in the first year of life is vital for brain development.

A baby’s iron stores are established in the third trimester, so premature babies may need extra help getting plenty of iron. Often breastmilk is cited as low in iron, but it is more bioavailable than iron in formulas. Your baby will absorb 50-70% of the iron in breastmilk and only between 1-12% from formula, depending on the type. All formulas contain iron, and whether you are using 100% formula or some combination of formula and breastmilk, or even exclusively breastfeeding, you shouldn’t need to worry about your baby getting enough iron.

Nucleotides

Nucleotides are naturally present in breastmilk and are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. They have several functions and may aid in immune system development. Different brands of formula have different amounts of nucleotides added. More research studies are needed to understand the biology and role of human milk nucleotides and to assess the potential benefits and appropriate level of nucleotide supplementation of infant formula. The science of infant formula is constantly evolving, and manufacturers are consistently working to make formula as close to breastmilk as possible.

Rice Starch

Manufacturers include rice starch is in “anti-regurgitation” formulas. Your doctor may recommend this type of formula to alleviate your baby’s acid reflux. Formulas that contain rice starch are thicker and thought to be easier for some babies to keep down and a better alternative than adding rice cereal to milk for young babies. Talk to your pediatrician before adding anything at all to your baby’s formula.

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber occurs naturally in all plant-based foods. Formulas containing fiber may help babies avoid diarrhea.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. These are sometimes added to formulas to try and match the amino acids in breast milk.

DHA & ARA

Two additional ingredients you may see added to formula are two long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA and ARA. These are omega-3 fatty acids found in breast milk and certain foods, such as fish and eggs, which are essential for brain and vision development. Although the FDA approved the addition of DHA and ARA to infant formulas, they caution that the scientific evidence is mixed. Almost all brands of formula sold in the U.S. have DHA and ARA.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that promote the growth of probiotics, which are good bacteria in the intestines and gut. We are still trying to fully understand the science of the gut. Early studies of adding prebiotics and probiotics to formula are encouraging, but the long-term benefits of these additions aren’t fully understood. It is becoming more common to see prebiotics and probiotics added to formula.

Organic Formula

The organic food movement has been gaining traction, and this has really been true in infant formula. The argument for buying organic formula is the same as buying any food organic. For infant formula to be labeled organic, 95% of its ingredients must come from sustainable agriculture practices. That means they don’t use conventional pesticides, no fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, no bioengineering (non-GMO), and no ionizing radiation. Organic also applies to any animals used to produce organic foods. For something to be labeled as organic, animals must not have received antibiotics or growth hormones.

As soy formula has become increasingly popular, it is worth noting that as of 2015, 94% of soy grown in the U.S. was genetically modified. If that is something you are concerned about, you may want to consider an organic formula. Also, most formulas contain some type of corn-derived product; this could be something as apparent as “corn syrup” or be a little more obscure like “glucose syrup solids,” which is often from corn. In the United States, 89% of corn is GMO. There is a lot of controversy over genetically modified foods. If you want to avoid GMOs, the easiest way is to buy organic and understand ingredient lists.

Buying organic is almost always more expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. If an organic formula is important to you, have multiple options to find an organic formula within your budget.

Shopping for Formula

When you are shopping for formula, there are some things you can do to save some money. First of all, don’t stock up before your baby is born. You may need to try out a few different types or brands. Filling your pantry with a formula your baby may not end up liking would be a waste of money. You can find some great deals by shopping at major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Costco, and their prices may tend to be lower than a conventional grocery store. Buying in bulk is a good way to save money once you find a formula your baby likes. This could be buying larger quantities at a warehouse store like Costco or stocking up when you find it on sale.

A final tip is to visit the website for the brand of formula you use, and often you can sign up for their email list for coupons and deals. Formula can be expensive. The good news is that after your baby’s first birthday, you can phase out formula, so you will not be buying this stuff forever.

Allergies and Sensitivities

As you introduce formula to your baby, you want to keep an eye out for any signs of allergies or sensitivities to ensure the formula you use agrees with your baby. Some gastrointestinal symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, spitting up, or mucus or blood in your baby’s stool. Other signs present on the skin and can show up as a rash, eczema, or hives. Allergies or sensitivities may also show up as a stuffy or runny nose or cough. If you notice any changes in your baby after introducing or switching formula, please bring it up with your pediatrician and consider switching to another formula or brand. Even after switching to a formula that agrees with your baby, it may take several days for allergy symptoms to disappear.

Talk to Your Pediatrician

Feeding your baby is a big part of being a parent, and all of the options and nuances can be confusing. If you have any questions about breastfeeding, a support group or a lactation consultant can be invaluable. For questions on formula, please talk to your pediatrician.

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