Top Left Logo
Healthy Living Healthy People, Healthy Communities
Skip Navigation Links
Home
Careers
Tenders
Give
For Health Professionals
Contact Us

Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer
Index      Small Text Medium Text Large Text  


 

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  
Infant formula: How to Choose, Prepare and Store Commercial Formula

Breastfeeding is the normal and healthiest way to feed your baby and is the first step in a lifetime of healthy eating. In fact, breast milk is the best food for optimal growth. Health Canada recommends that healthy full term infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. 
 

However, if you’re thinking about using infant formula, your health-care provider can help you decide if it’s right for you and your baby. You can also visit theChoosing How to Feed your Baby” page on the Eastern Health website.

NOTE: When you read the words “infant formula” on this page, it means “iron fortified commercial infant formula.”

What type of infant formula should I give my baby?
Use an iron fortified commercial infant formula. There are three types of infant formula:
  • Ready to feed
  • Liquid concentrate
  • Powdered infant formula (not recommended for babies under two months of age)
Each type of infant formula needs to be prepared differently. Always follow the directions on the label. For more information, visit Health Canada’s Milk and Infant Formula web page

Soy infant formulas are not appropriate for most babies. Only use a soy infant formula when directed by your health-care provider.

What should I look for when I buy commercial infant formula?
  • Always buy commercial infant formula with iron. It may be labelled “iron fortified” or “with iron.” Iron-fortified infant formula does not cause constipation.
  • Check the expiry date or best before date. Do not use infant formula which is out of date. 
  • Brand name and store brand “generic” infant formulas are suitable infant formulas.
How long do I need to give my baby infant formula?
Give your baby infant formula until he or she is 9 to 12 months old.

What type of baby bottles should I use?
Glass or plastic bottles are fine. However while rare, some plastic bottles can contain Bisphenol A (BPA), which at high levels, can be harmful, especially to babies. To ensure your plastic bottle does not contain BPA, look for a recycling symbol (three-sided triangular arrow) on the bottom of the bottle. Ensure that a number other than seven is in the centre of the triangle.
 
For more information, visit Health Canada’s Bisphenol A web page.

It is important to check the bottle nipples for signs of wear before each use.

Nipples that are cracked can break off while the baby is feeding and can cause choking. Nipples which are sticky or have cracks or tears should be thrown away.

Do I need to boil the water to mix with liquid concentrate or powdered
infant formula?
It is important to use sterilized equipment and water in formula preparation.
  • Water should be boiled for infants less than four months of age. If your community has a boil water advisory, you should boil the water to mix with liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula for a baby of any age
  • Use water from the cold water tap only.
    • Lead and copper may build up in the water in the pipes overnight. Let the cold water tap run for two minutes each morning to flush out any overnight build-up of lead and copper in the water.
How do I choose safe water?
  • Municipal tap water is the best choice for your baby because it is tested regularly to make sure that it’s safe. 
  • Well water should be tested regularly to ensure that it is safe.
  • Use caution when using home water treatment equipment. If you use charcoal water filters, be sure to change the filters as recommended by the manufacturer, to reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Bottled water must be boiled. Only bottled water that has no added minerals or vitamins is safe to use.
Types of water that should not be used:
  • Softened tap water
  • Mineral water
  • Distilled water
  • Carbonated water
  • Soda water
How often should I feed my baby infant formula?
While every baby is different, for the first few months of life, babies usually feed every two to three hours or at least eight times in 24 hours. It is healthy for babies to feed during the night. Older babies usually feed less often.
 
How much infant formula will my baby drink?
Every baby is different. Let your baby’s appetite guide you on how much infant formula to offer:
  • It is normal for babies to drink different amounts at each feeding. 
  • It is ok if your baby does not finish all of the infant formula in the bottle.
  • Your baby may drink more formula during hot weather or growth spurts.  Growth spurts can happen at any time but usually occur at two weeks, between four to six weeks, three months and six months.
Feed your baby when you notice these early cues for hunger:
  • Brings their hands to their mouth. 
  • Makes sucking motions or sounds.
  • Turns their head toward the person holding them, often with their mouth open (called rooting). They may reach their hands towards whoever is holding them. 
  • Makes fists over their chest or belly.
  • Crying is a late sign of hunger.
Let your baby decide how much they want to drink at every feeding. They will show you they are full by doing any of these things:
  • Closing their mouth.
  • Sucking less often.
  • Turning away from the bottle or arching their back.
  • Pushing away from the bottle or the person feeding. 
  • Relaxing their body, looking sleepy or falling asleep.

Throw away any leftover infant formula in the bottle after each feeding.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough infant formula?
Your baby is getting enough infant formula if he or she is:
  • Bright and alert.
  • Seems satisfied. 
  • Is growing and developing.
  • Has wet and dirty diapers.

What is the best way to feed my baby from a bottle?
  • Always hold your baby when feeding.  Cuddle, talk to and look at your baby while feeding. 
  • Do not prop the bottle or put the baby to bed with a bottle since this may cause the baby to choke. 
  • Do not let your baby fall asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth. It can cause the baby’s teeth to rot and may increase the risk of ear infections.

Does my baby need to take vitamins?
Babies fed infant formula do not usually need to take vitamins. Vitamins should only be given to a baby if prescribed by a physician for special needs.

Does my baby need fluoride drops?
The use of fluoride drops is not recommended for babies less than six months of age. Some babies may need fluoride drops after six months of age.

Fluoride drops should only be given to a baby upon the advice of a dental care provider.
 
Should I use a follow-up infant formula?
Follow-up infant formula is not recommended for babies under six months of age. Follow-up infant formula is made for older babies who are eating a variety of solid foods. There is no nutritional benefit in switching to a follow-up infant formula. You can keep giving your baby the infant formula you have been using until your baby is switched to whole milk.
 
Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement
Healthy eating is important for you and your baby. The Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement is a monthly benefit provided by the provincial government to eligible low income expectant women and families with children under the age of one. It will assist you with the extra costs of eating healthy during pregnancy and throughout your child’s first year.
 
Visit the Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement website to find out if you are eligible or call 1-800-508-4788


Healthy Living

Healthy Living A to Z - click here to share this page

 

spacer


Updated Nov 15, 2017