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Bottle Feeding and Formula: Expert Q&A

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How should I feed my baby?

Make sure you're holding your baby and he's not lying down. Don't prop up the bottle, and be sure the nipple is filled with milk and not air. 

Mix the formula according to the directions on the can or bottle. If it's labeled "ready to feed" or "ready to use," don't dilute it. 

Check that it's not too hot or cold. You don’t want to microwave bottles because hot spots can form. The best ways to heat the bottle are by running warm water over it, or you can use a bottle warmer. Or, if you're mixing up a bottle, just use warm water.

How often should I stop to burp my baby?

You may not have to interrupt your baby's bottle to burp. If your child is full-term, she may take her entire bottle and then burp at the end. If your baby is premature, he may need to burp several times, and your pediatrician will likely have talked to you with advice on when and how to do it. 

To burp, hold your baby upright on your shoulder or support him in a sitting position while gently rubbing or patting his back.  

When should you put rice cereal in formula?

Only if your baby has been diagnosed with reflux and your pediatrician has told you to add it. Normally, you only feed rice cereal by spoon, starting when your baby is 4 months old.

Is it OK to feed a store brand of formula?

Ask your baby's doctor. She'll tell you which store brand is the same as the formula you're feeding now.

Do I have to use formula for the whole first year of life, or can I switch to milk at 9 months?

Use formula for your baby's first year. At your 1-year well-child visit, talk to your pediatrician about switching to whole milk, soy milk, or nut-based milk. Sometimes, 2% milk may be recommended in certain situations. 

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Reviewed on January 30, 2015

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