There’s no disputing that breastfeeding is best and requires a lot less gear than bottle feeding – one breast, one baby and you’re good to go! When you add formula to the mix, there’s a few things you’ll need to buy, do and know. Whether you choose to formula feed for one-off occasions, medical reasons (women suffering mastitis and taking antibiotics sometimes choose not to breastfeed during the course), as a top up or for any other reason, the most important first step is to speak to your midwife, GP or health care professional. They can give your baby an individual assessment and recommend a formula based on their needs. They’ll take into account issues like baby’s weight, age, health, frequency (if you are complementary feeding – alternating between breast and formula feeds – they will take this into consideration so as to establish baby on breast first), food allergies or conditions including lactose intolerance, reflux, colic, and family medical history.
Baby Formula: What’s the difference?
Learning the goo goo and ga ga of all things ‘baby’ can make a new mum giddy. Here’s a few tips to give you the heads up before you stand blank and sheepish at the overwhelming formula selection on pharmacy shelves…
Cow’s milk-based: This is the most common formula option but there’s loads of subtle differences in make-up between the brands, so speak to your healthcare professional for advice. Some have added iron, Vitamin D, multivitamins, minerals and other nutrients to help growth and development.
Soy-based: Generally this is used for wee tots who suffer milk-protein allergies.
Goat’s milk formula: Generally recommended for babies who suffer both soy allergies and milk protein allergies. An alternative to goat’s milk formula if your baby suffers both soy and milk-based allergies.
Amino acid-based: For bubs who can’t tolerate elemental formula.
Extensively hydrolysed formula: Usually recommended for babies to prevent allergies when their parents suffer from allergies, eczema or asthma.
Lactose-free: For lactose intolerant tots.
Added rice starch: For little ones who suffer from acid reflux.
Premature or low-birth weight formulas: Special formulas which contain more kilojoules and nutrients.
The Equipment: Clear some bench space!
Medela 150ml BPA Free bottles in packs of 3. To find your nearest supplier, click here.
Avent milk powder dispenser, $8.95
Tommee Tippee Bottle Brush, available at Big W and David Jones.
Avent Neoprene ThermaBag, $29.95
Tips Every New Mum Should Know
- Always follow the formula instructions on the can.
- When baby’s hungry, parents don’t want to be waiting for a baby warmer to heat milk. Try adding one-part boiling water to two-parts cooled or refrigerated boiled water. Adjust your measurements depending on season, whether cooled boiled water is at room temperature or kept in fridge and baby’s taste.
- Have formula pre-measured and ready to dispense in a formula dispenser. At 3am, counting three scoops of powder to 180ml of water can be a challenge!
There’s a few different options for sterilising bottles.
- You can boil bottles in a pot on the stove.
- You can immerse bottles in a sterilising bucket with a sterilising tablet or fluid. The sterilised water (each tablet) usually lasts around 24 hours but be warned, you can taste the fluid/sterilising tablet.
- Use a microwave steriliser or electric steam steriliser. These are the easiest options. Choose one that allows you to keep bottles contained within it sterile for 24 hours. The more bottles you can fit in it the better.
Avent Microwave Steriliser. Visit here to find your closest stockist.
Tommee Tippee Electric Steamer, available at selected pharmacies.
Milton Antibacterial Tablets, $7.99
- BPA Free plastic or glass are the safest choice and widely available now. Bottles containing BPA leach hazardous chemicals when heated in the microwave or at high temperatures, or the surface is scratched and have been linked to be hormone disruption.
- Little bottles (under 150ml) are easier to hold for newborns, while the bigger bottles (240ml) are great for older babies requiring more milk.
- Bottle choice is guided by your baby. Ask friends, midwives and healthcare professionals for recommendations but remember, your baby may have a unique preference. Buy one bottle to test it before investing in a full set.
Avent Natural Glass Bottle, 240ml, $19.95
NUK First Choice Winnie the Pooh Training Bottle 150ml, suitable from 6 months.
Closer to Nature Easi-Vent BPA-free bottles 4 pack. See here for stockists and product info.