Formula feeding your baby

Living in a community where so many people are pro-breastfeeding can sometimes cause parents to feel guilty about feeding their baby formula when they cannot or choose not to breastfeed. We don’t want you to feel this way. Iron-fortified infant formula can also provide your baby the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong.

If you plan to feed your baby both formula and breast milk, we recommend waiting 4 to 6 weeks, if possible, before introducing formula to build your body’s capacity for milk production.

How to use formula

Follow your pediatrician’s instructions if your baby has a special feeding plan. Otherwise, mix the formula according to the package directions. Warm formula by setting the bottle in a bowl of warm water. Do not heat up formula in a microwave —it can easily burn your baby’s mouth and throat.

Offer 0.5 to 1 oz every feeding for the first day or two, increasing to 2 to 3 oz, thereafter. Feed your baby every 2 to 3 hours, or on demand. Refrigerate the bottle immediately after the feeding, and either use or discard the bottle within 24 hours.

Babies digest formula more slowly than breast milk. If you’re not breastfeeding at all, your baby might need fewer feedings than a baby who nurses. In general, feed your baby 2 to 3 ounces at each feeding. It won’t take long for you to be able to sense whether your baby is still hungry or full.

Also see our page on bottle feeding formula questions.