Feeding Your Baby • 0-4 Months
Bottle Feeding Basics
Breast milk or iron-fortified formula is your baby’s most important food for the whole first year of life. It is all your baby needs until she is 4 - 6 months old, then you can start adding cereal to her diet.
Helpful Hints on Bottle Feeding
- Keep everything clean, clean, clean! Wash the top of the formula can before you open it. Wash the can opener after you use it.
- Wash bottles and nipples in hot, sudsy water. Buy a bottlebrush and use it. Rinse everything well with hot water. Bottles shaped like clowns or teddy bears are hard to keep clean, so use regular ones.
- Run cold tap water for two minutes before using it for formula. (Lead can get in the tap water when water sits in metal water pipes overnight.) Bring the water to a rolling boil. Allow water to cool before mixing with formula concentrate.
- Mix formula carefully, following the directions on the label.
- If formula has been left out of the refrigerator for more than one hour, throw it away.
- Use all the formula out of one can before opening another. Formula may be used the day it is made and the next day. Never keep old formula: throw it out.
If your refrigerator does not keep things cold, use powdered formula. Mix each bottle as needed.
- Warm a bottle by running hot tap water on it or let it sit in a pan of hot water. DO NOT use the microwave! The milk can get very hot even if the outside of the bottle only feels warm. Some babies have been badly burned.
- Sprinkle a little formula on your wrist to see how hot it is. If it is too hot, run the bottle under cold tap water and then check it again.
- Normally babies get enough water in their formula or breast milk. Water can be important if baby is constipated, is sick or is sweating a lot. Then you can offer plain water between feedings. (Do not add sugar to this water). Baby will take the water if it is needed. If baby does not take it, don’t worry.
- Do not give any honey, Kool-Aid or soft drinks!
How much should I feed the baby?
You can expect your newborn to take formula every 2 to 3 hours. The breastfed baby will be hungry more often. The formula-fed newborn will probably take about 2 to 3 ounces at each feeding. This comes to about 16 to 20 ounces of formula in 24 hours.
As baby gets older and bigger, he or she will go longer between feeding and take more at each feeding. Most babies take 4 to 6 ounces of formula and feed 4 to 5 times a day by the time they are about 4 months old.
This page last updated on 2/16/07.