ASI and suitable infant formula are recommended as the main sources of nutrition for all infants under the age of 12 months. Breast milk is the main source of nutrition, but infant formula milk is the only suitable alternative if breast milk is not available.
Babies under 12 months cannot be fed:
- Skimmed, regular (regular), or low-fat cow's milk
- Powdered milk or sweetened condensed milk
- Cereals and drinks made from legumes (such as rice, wheat or soybeans)
- Peanuts and seeds made from seeds (such as almonds or pumpkin seeds)
- All self-made foods use home recipes.
The composition of infant formula continues to change, because a number of studies continue to provide a greater understanding of the role of unique ingredients contained in breast milk. New materials have also been added to formula milk in recent years.
First starter or formula
There are various first formula milk given based on the cow's milk protein it contains (whey or casein). Here are some things to consider about the first formula for your baby:
- Formula milk is suitable for newborns up to 12 months old.
- Formula milk can sometimes be confusing because the label includes various additives, such as LCPUFA (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids or omega-3 fatty acids), probiotics or prebiotics. These ingredients are added because they are also found naturally in breast milk. The most important thing to remember is the selection of a starter or the first formula that is suitable, if your baby is under the age of 6 months.
- Soya or goat milk based formula milk is also available. Again, choose a product that is suitable for your baby's age.
Warning for changing formula milk
If your child has a poor or anxious diet or sleep, or 'colic', you might think that you need to change the formula milk you use. There is little evidence that this method is appropriate for most babies. Seek advice from your child's health nurse or doctor, before switching to other formula milk.
Soy formula milk
Young soybean formula milk is suitable for babies with certain medical conditions, such as allergies to cow's milk. Differentiate this formula with ordinary soy milk, which does not provide suitable nutrition for babies.
Formula milk "follows on"
This formula is suitable for babies aged 6 months and above. This is your choice, whether you want to use it or not. "Follow on" formula is available with basic ingredients of cow's milk, soybeans, or goat's milk. This milk is made for babies over the age of 6 months and contains higher protein and mineral content than starter formula.
Amount of formula needed
- From the age of 5 days to 3 months, a healthy baby will need about 150 ml of formula milk per kilogram of body weight, every day. For example, babies who weigh 3 kg will need 450ml of formula milk every day.
- From the age of 3-6 months, this number falls to 120ml of formula milk per kilogram of body weight every day. From 6-12 months, fall again to the number 90-120 ml of formula milk per kilogram of body weight every day.
- Premature babies need more formula milk. At first, they usually need around 160-180 ml of formula per kilogram of body weight per day. Neonatal doctors or maternal and child health nurses will advise you.
Meet a doctor or a mother and child health nurse if you are worried about your baby's appetite or growth.
How to prepare formula milk
Before and when preparing formula milk for your child, always remember to:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and make sure you prepare clean formula.
- Check the date on the bottom of the can or sachet to make sure the formula hasn't expired.
- Use the formula in one month since opening the can.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Accuracy is very important to ensure your baby receives proper nutrition.
- Boil clean, fresh water in a kettle or pan.
- Don't let the water cool for more than 30 minutes before making formula milk. Hot water helps kill bacteria (germs) in milk powder.
- Pour boiled water into the bottle according to the recommended amount.
- Use a spoon provided by formula milk to measure the amount of powder correctly. Spoons from other brands may be larger or smaller. Don't use half a spoon because it might not be accurate. Pour the powder from the spoon in full into the glass (discard if there are any leftovers).
- Flatten the powder with a sterile knife or spatula (don't throw it away). Add powder to a bottle of boiled water.
- Place the disc and cover at the top of the bottle, and shake until well blended.
- Make only one bottle at a time. Germs can easily grow in prepared formula milk, and can make your baby sick.
- Never warm the bottle in a microwave oven. This is not safe because heating is uneven and may make 'hot spots' in bottles that can burn your baby's mouth.
- You can warm the bottle by holding it in a hot (not boiling) container for 10 minutes.
- Test the temperature by dripping milk on the inside of your wrist. The temperature you feel should be the same as the temperature your skin feels. If it's too hot, cool the bottle with running water or in a cold water container. Retest on your wrist before giving formula to your baby.
- If you are going to travel for a long time, bring hot water in a thermos and formula milk separately, and prepare milk only when needed.
- When cans of formula milk run out, discard the spoon provided with a can of formula milk.
- Read the instructions well if you change the brand of formula to make sure you use the right amount of water and milk powder.
Don't use the remaining milk formula
Use a fresh bottle every time you give milk. Dispose of leftover milk or breast milk that is squeezed after giving milk. Never give the rest of milk to your baby because it can grow bacteria (germs) that can make your baby sick.
Don't add other foods, such as baby rice cereal, to formula milk. If you think your baby needs more food than recommended, see your mother and child health nurse.
Enjoy breastfeeding time with your baby
When breastfeeding is the time to interact together and communicate. Just like adults and children who enjoy talking to each other at meal times, so do babies. Hold your baby close to your body, facing you when feeding from the bottle. This can be a fun social experience for both of you.
Immediately take your baby bottle when it's finished
Don't put your baby to sleep while still drinking from a bottle. This is a danger because it can make your baby choke. In addition, children who regularly drink milk this way are more likely to get middle ear infections and tooth decay.
Equipment for drinking bottles
Whether using a bottle for breast milk or infant formula milk, the equipment you will need includes:
- Infant formula or ASI
- Clean water
- Sterilization equipment (or sterilizing chemicals)
Bottles for breast milk or infant formula milk
When buying a bottle, remember that:
- You will need at least three large bottles with leakproof caps, discs, and dot
- Plastic bottles are better, because glass bottles break more easily
- The bottle must be smooth on the inner surface (no lumps or grooves), so it is easier to clean
- Bottles must be marked with a clear size scale that will not disappear with time
Dot to drink with a bottle
When choosing a dot, consider:
- Flow rate - check the label to make sure the pacifier has the right flow rate for your baby's age. For example, pacifiers designed for older babies can flood the mouths of newborns with too much milk and can cause babies to choke
- Flow test - hold the bottle upside down and milk should drip out at a constant and stable rate. If it drips too slowly, your baby will be exhausted before spending their drinks. If the flow is strong, your baby can drool and spray the milk and will not enjoy the drink. Babies should need 15-30 minutes to drink one bottle.
- Pacifiers - many manufacturers claim that their dot shape is exactly the same as the mother's nipple in her baby's mouth, but there is no evidence that every dot design is the best. Putting ‘Orthodontic‘ is no better than a normal nipple and may, in fact, not be good for advanced dental development. Over time, you will find the best pacifier for your baby.
- Air - air bubbles have to rise through milk while the baby is drinking. If the pacifier is evenly distributed when drinking, loosen the lid slightly.
Sterilize all equipment to drink with a bottle
You have to sterilize (really clean and kill all germs) all your equipment until your baby is 12 months old. This is very important.
Remember these important things:
- Steam can cause severe burns to the skin, so be careful when boiling or steaming equipment.
- Place all equipment out of reach of children.
- Handle sterile equipment carefully and do not touch the surface in a bottle or dot.
- First, wash all equipment in warm soapy water. Use a clean bottle brush to completely remove all remaining milk, then rinse, then sterilize. You can use different sterilization methods, such as boiling, chemicals, steam or microwave.
Some important things to remember
- Breast milk is the main food choice for babies.
- If milk is not available, then infant formula milk is a suitable alternative.
- ASI or formula milk should be the main milk used until the baby is 12 months old.
- Choose formula milk that suits your baby's age and needs.
- If your baby has problems eating or drinking, talk to your mother and child health nurse or doctor before changing brands.
- The pros and cons of baby pacifiers
- Why can't babies drink cow's milk
- When can babies start drinking water?