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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Formulas

Information on Formulas:

If you will be using formula, you will want to know a few important details that not all doctors think to mention. First, you should always use whatever type of formula your doctor tells you to. If your child seems to have any problems with it (including stomach pains, spitting up, or bowel movement problems), then you can always change it. It is always best to seek the advice of your pediatrician before switching your child, though.
Most formulas are milk-based, and if your child is lactose intolerant you can switch them to a soy-based formula instead. If lactose intolerance runs in the baby's family, you will want to always keep a close eye on how the formula is affecting the child, because this is a hereditary problem.

There are a few different forms that formula is available in, and each has their pros and cons:

• Ready-to-feed—this type is exactly as the name says. You simply pop the top on the can, pour it in a bottle, heat it (or not), and feed it to the baby. While this is definitely the easiest, there is one big pitfall to using this kind: it is about twice as expensive as the other kinds. You definitely pay for convenience when it comes to formula.

• Liquid Concentrate—this type is canned, and you mix it with an equal amount of water to make the formula the proper consistency. This kind a downfall, as well: you have to mix up at least a can at a time, and this makes up several bottles (how many bottles this makes up depends on how much your child is eating). This means that you must keep all the formula cold until time to feed the baby, which might become a problem if you are going out for a long period of time, because you have to take pre-made bottles with you and they have to stay cold the entire time.

• Powder Concentrate—this type of formula comes in two ways-one large can that makes up several bottles, and individual travel packets that make up one 8-ounce bottle at a time. The individual travel packets are more expensive than the large can, but they aren't as expensive as the ready-to-feed kind. They are more lightweight than carrying cans with you, but you will have to carry water with you too, so this will make up the difference in weight. The big downfall of using the powder kind is that you need to make each bottle individually, and sometimes the powder can clump up and clog the nipple, or just not get mixed properly. This is especially true with bottles that have baggies in them. The corners fill up with the powder, and it doesn't always want to come out.

Whatever type of formula you are using, whatever brand, and whether it is milk-based or not, you should always follow the directions on the can. The only time you should mix the formula any differently is if your doctor specifically tells you to. You will also want to use bottled water for mixing your baby's formula. Tap water is lacking a lot of nutrients that babies need, and it has a lot of chemicals in it that they don't. The best kind to get is fluoride water that is made for babies. You can buy it by the gallon, and if you need to take some with you when leaving the house (in cases where you use the powder formula), you can fill up small empty water bottles with the baby's water.

No matter what kind of formula you use, you should also know that it goes bad within two hours. If you are using the ready-to-feed kind, it's two hours from the moment you open it. If you are using the liquid concentrate, it goes bad two hours from when you take it out of the fridge. If you mix it up and never put it in the fridge, it goes bad two hours after you open the can. The powder mix goes bad two hours after you mix it up (unless you mix it up and stick it in the refrigerator-in this case, it goes bad two hours after taking it out).

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