A Pediatrician Answers All Your Questions About Formula Feeding

This post was in partnership with Perrigo but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

When it comes to feeding a baby, it’s common to have a lot of questions. Whether you’re breastfeeding, pumpingformula feeding, or doing a combination of all three, there are always some unknowns. You might not even realize how many questions you have until you’re in it, working hard to ensure your baby is getting proper nutrition.

The truth is, feeding a baby can be downright confusing. While some women may be educated on breastfeeding, those who choose to formula feed are likely to have just as many questions. How do you choose the right formula for your baby? How much formula does your baby need? These are just the first of many possible questions that may arise during the early weeks of baby life.

And if your baby is experiencing colic and is potentially dealing with a Cow’s Milk Allergy (CMA), you probably have even more questions. Thankfully, there are affordable options like Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula that can help alleviate colic due to CMA.

Whether or not you’re a parent dealing with CMA, it’s perfectly OK to ask your pediatrician all of your questions. They are there to guide you in keeping your baby healthy and nourished. But to avoid a never-ending text chain with your pediatrician, we went ahead and rounded up 12 common questions and spoke with Dr. Neela Sethi, a pediatrician and mom, to guide us through the basics of formula feeding. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the formula options and how to make it work best for your baby, here’s a great place to start.

Read on for Dr. Sethi’s expert answers when it comes to formula feeding.

Meet the expert
Dr. Neela Sethi
PEDIATRICIAN, ENTREPRENEUR & MOM

1. Is formula healthy for my baby?

Dr. Neela Sethi and the staff of The Everymom firmly agree that yes, fed is best. “Having a new baby can be incredibly stressful, and having to make the decision on feeding with formula can be a tough one. I love that I can help parents compare the science and arm them with nutrition facts to make the confident choice when it comes to feeding,” Dr. Sethi said.

 

 

2. What should parents look for in a formula?

There is a wide variety of formulas available, and it can be overwhelming when you start shopping around. Dr. Sethi suggested taking a look at whether you want to use powder, liquid concentrates, or ready-to-feed formulas, and then recommended working with a health care professional when it comes to choosing between milk-based, soy-based, or speciality baby formulas (like hypoallergenic)

 

3. How does formula compare nutritionally to breastmilk?

While formula and breastmilk aren’t exactly the same, Dr. Sethi explained that formula is made to mimic key components of mother’s milk nutritionally, with a combination of proteins, sugars, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Formula does not contain antibodies like breastmilk does. 

 

4. How is hypoallergenic formula different from other routine formula?

There are a lot of formulas to choose from, including hypoallergenic, which isn’t necessary for all babies. “Hypoallergenic formulas, like Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula, help mitigate the symptoms of one of the most common allergies in babies, which is an allergy to milk protein. The proteins in these types of formulas are broken down or hydrolyzed into easier-to-digest forms. This leaves the formula with fewer allergenic components and is therefore easier to tolerate,” Dr. Sethi said.

 

Hypoallergenic formulas, like Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula, help mitigate the symptoms of one of the most common allergies in babies, which is an allergy to milk protein.

 

“For the first time in nearly 80 years, generic extensively hydrolyzed infant formula, like Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula, is available. This formula meets AAP Committee on Nutrition guidelines for hypoallergenic formulas and FDA nutritional requirements,” she said.

5. How do you know if your baby needs hypoallergenic formula?

If your baby seems to be struggling and is fussy, irritable, vomits, has loose stool, and possibly has eczema, they may need hypoallergenic formula. It is important to speak with your pediatrician if you are experiencing these issues. Know that you are not alone in this struggle.

“Cow’s milk allergy (CMA) can affect up to 3 percent of babies during their first year of life and is considered to be one of the most common food allergies in infants,” Dr. Sethi said. “In these cases, parents will want to select a hypoallergenic formula that provides key nutrients, all while being affordable. I love Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula from Walmart as an option for parents with a baby with colic due to cow’s milk allergy, as it provides those key nutrients while having a more affordable price point.”

It can be stressful to manage a milk-free diet while aiming to provide key nutritional elements to babies. And buying name brand hypoallergenic formula often exceeds $200 a month (on average), a price point that simply isn’t sustainable for some parents. Thankfully, there are affordable options, including Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula at Walmart, to alleviate some of that stress.

Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula is the first-of-its-kind infant formula featuring a blend of nutrients that supports baby’s growth and development by providing complete nutrition for the first year, with probiotics to help support digestive health and help manage colic related to cow’s milk allergy.

 

 

6. Is hypoallergenic formula just for babies who are allergic to cow’s milk?

Hypoallergenic formula like Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula specifically aims to relieve colic due to CMA. 

7. Can babies switch from one type of formula to another? Any tips for making the transition?

It is OK for babies to switch between formulas, especially if they are not tolerating a specific formula. You will want to give your baby one type of formula for three to five days to see how your baby does before switching. If you switch too soon, it can be hard to know which formula is causing the issue.

 

8. If you are breastfeeding and want to supplement with formula, what’s the best way to do this?

It’s not uncommon for mothers to supplement breastfeeding with formula. “Babies can switch between breast and formula with no issues at all,” Dr. Sethi said. She just recommended moms consistently latch baby on the breast to avoid nipple confusion.

 

9. Do parents need to use filtered water to mix with formula?

“Yes, filtered water is recommended,” Dr. Sethi said.

 

10. How long does formula stay good after you make a bottle?

Formula in a bottle is good for two hours at room temperature, Dr. Sethi said. After those two hours, you’ll want to throw it away. However, you can keep formula in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours as long as the baby hasn’t had any yet. It can be helpful to make a few bottles in advance of a day of feeding, but make sure your baby consumes it within that 24-hour time span.

 

11. If a baby drinks half a bottle, can you save the rest for a future feeding or do you need to throw it out?

Formula that is left over after a feed should be tossed. According to the CDC, the combination of infant formula and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow.

 

Dr. Neela

Source: @doctorneela

 

12. Can you overfeed a baby with formula? How do you know how much is the right  amount?

One of the most confusing parts of feeding a baby is knowing how much is the right amount. “Yes, babies can be overfed. The ways to know is if your baby is gassy, fussy, spitting up after feeds, or gagging and choking. If you find your baby is fussy or more irritable than normal, you should also consider if your baby should switch to a hypoallergenic formula, as they could have CMA rather than being overfed,” Dr. Sethi said.

 

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This post was in partnership with Perrigo but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.