Home after the NICU
Feeding your baby formula after the NICU
Before your baby comes home from the NICU, be sure you have enough formula for about two weeks and enough bottles and nipples for one to two days. That way, you can fix enough formula and bottles for a day or two.
You might also want to get an inexpensive bottle warmer. It will heat the formula to just the right temperature. Do not put a baby's bottle in a microwave. Microwaves often heat unevenly. A "hot spot" of formula could burn your baby's mouth or throat.
Babies are usually fed "on demand." This means you feed your baby whenever she is awake and hungry.
If your baby sleeps for long periods of time, her health care provider may tell you to wake her up every few hours to eat. Ask the provider if you are unsure about whether to wake your baby or not.
You may have to try different bottle and nipple combinations to see which your baby likes. There are many options. Clean and store the bottles and nipples as recommended by the manufacturer. You don't have to sterilize them unless your baby's health care provider says to do so.
Prepare the formula exactly as recommended by either the manufacturer or your baby's health care provider.
- Some liquid formulas are ready to use. This means that you just put the formula in the baby's bottle, warm it if necessary, and feed it to your baby.
- Other liquid formulas are concentrated. You need to add water to the formula before giving it to your baby.
- Powdered formula must be mixed with a specific amount of water. It's usually one scoop of formula to 2 ounces of water. Each can of powdered formula contains the proper-sized scoop. Put the water in the formula first, then add the formula, and shake well to mix. Powdered formula is the least expensive option.
- If your baby is using a special formula or high-calorie formula, the nutritionist will tell you how to mix it correctly.
If your baby doesn't finish all the formula in the bottle within one hour, throw it away. Give her a new bottle of fresh formula at the next feeding. Bacteria can contaminate unfinished formula and make your baby sick.
See also: Share your storyAugust 2009