If you’re new to feeding your baby formula, you may be experiencing wakeups in the middle of the night and during odd hours of the day. A good idea is to encourage your baby into an eating routine with a formula feeding schedule.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. Please keep reading for our top five tips on developing the perfect feeding schedule for your infant.
1. Understand That Every Baby Is Different
First, it’s essential to understand that every child is different when it comes to creating a baby formula schedule. When your baby starts drinking formula from breast milk, their eating patterns will be different because they digest breast milk more rapidly. When you’re breastfeeding, your baby usually wants to feed every one and a half to three hours.
As your baby gets older, you’ll also notice that they’ll slowly start to nurse less often, and will fall into a more predictable pattern.
When your baby starts drinking formula, they’ll likely want a bottle every two to three hours in the beginning. As your infant grows, they’ll learn to go three to four hours without eating.
2. Choose the Right Formula For You and Your Baby
When you first decide to purchase formula, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the selection of boxes and packets available. After all, there are so many brands and types of baby formula on the market.
Don’t worry, though. Be sure to check the label carefully and be aware that newborns require a formula that is called ‘first infant formula.’ This formula is often marked as ‘suitable for newborns’ and can be consumed by infants until at least six months of age unless advised otherwise by your doctor or midwife.
Many experts also advise using this type of formula until your infant is at least around one year old. After one year, you can begin giving your little one pasteurised cow’s milk to drink.
Baby formula milk comes in two forms: powdered or ready-to-feed.
Powdered is often the most affordable in the long-run and requires less storage space. However, you have to make it up by mixing it with water before use. Likewise, formula milk powder isn’t sterile, so it’s essential to create a new feed just before use.
As you may imagine, the ready-to-feed formula comes in liquid form, ready to serve your baby. It’s sold in plastic bottles or sealed cartons and as its sterile, it can be stored and used straight from the packaging. However, the ready-to-feed formula can be more expensive, plus it requires more cupboard space and goes off quickly once open.
3. Make Sure Your Baby Is Eating Enough
Rather than rigidly following a chart to determine how much your baby should be consuming at a certain age or weight, it’s best to feed your baby ‘on demand’ in reaction to feeding cues.
As long as your infant is gaining weight as usual and leaving enough wet nappies, you can rest assured that they are receiving enough formula.
The following few days after birth, it’s typical to see around six nappies soaked with clear or pale urine daily. Your little one is usually weighed a couple of times in the first ten days following birth, and then once monthly after that, up until six months old.
During these health and development reviews, your doctor will assess your baby’s weight gain and growth using special charts. If you have any concerns about whether your infant is eating enough, these reviews are an ideal time to ask questions. Or, you can speak to your midwife or doctor between these arranged visits.
4. Learn How to Transport Feed
To make your newborn formula schedule easier to follow, it’s essential to learn how to transport feed. Remember that powdered formula milk isn’t sterile, so only create a meal just before using it and discard any leftovers that remain.
If you need to feed your newborn while you’re out and about, bring the amount of formula powder you require for a feed measured into an airtight container with a vacuum flask filled with just-boiled tap water. You should also take an empty and sterilized bottle that comes with a teat, retaining ring, and cap.
Ensure that the formula is nice and cool before feeding it to your little one.
5. Know When Your Baby Is Full
When breastfeeding, babies often stop nursing when they’re full. However, formula milk releases from a feeding bottle’s teat more quickly when compared to out of a breast. When the bottle reaches the back of your little one’s throat, it encourages the swallowing reflex.
This makes it possible to overfeed your infant with a bottle, so it’s essential to understand when they are full.
Try a technique called ‘pacing.’ Let your infant pause every few sucks before slowly withdrawing to see if they want to stop and are full. This pause is also an ideal time to burp your baby, especially if they seem uncomfortable, or spits up the milk formula.
Begin feeding again if your little one draws the bottle’s treat back into their mouth. However, be sure not to push the teat into your infant’s mouth or keep attempting to feed if they turn their head.
Now You’re Ready to Practice a Formula Feeding Schedule
We hope this formula feeding schedule guide helps you to create the ideal routine for your baby. Remember, the secret ingredient isn’t in the formula bottle. The love, care, and attention you give to your baby during the feeding sessions are the essential part.
Do you want to discover a suitable formula for your little one? Have a look at our baby formula comparison chart.