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Formula Milk

You may have chosen to formula feed your baby or you may have come to the end of your breastfeeding journey. Our services want to support you however you feed your baby.

It doesn't matter which formula you choose, you need to decide between cows' milk or goats' milk whichever suits your needs best. Please talk to your midwife or health visitor if you are considering soya milk.

Preparing and feeding formula to your baby needs to be done with care, to make sure that your baby is fed safely.

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  • All feeding equipment should be;

    • Washed in hot soapy water
    • Rinsed and then
    • Sterilised.

    You should do this until your baby reaches a year old. This is an important step in protecting them from harmful bacteria that can cause serious illnesses for young babies.

    *Click Here* for more information on how you should do this.

  • Dummies should be cleaned and sterilised at least daily. They should be kept in a sterile container until they are used. If they are dropped they should be washed and sterilised again.

    You cannot ‘clean’ a dummy by putting it in your own mouth – this can pass harmful germs from your mouth to your baby. Babies still have an immature immune system and catch illnesses more easily.

    Keeping dummies clean is an important part of keeping your baby healthy – buy plenty so that you can swap to a sterilised one whenever you need to.

  • Formula milk powder is not made in a sterile environment so when making up a feed it is very important to ‘kill’ any bacteria by using water of at least 70 degrees centigrade to make the feed. Milk is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria – it is sweet, warm and wet. We know that formula fed babies are more vulnerable to gastroenteritis – this can be very serious for young babies.

    Research tells us that preparing a whole days worth of feeds to store in the fridge allows the build up of risky bacteria. Following expert up to date advice helps make sure that formula milk is as safe as possible. 

    • Equipment should be sterilised and the area you use to prepare bottles should be clean.
    • Milk should be made up freshly for each feed.
    • Boil fresh water in the kettle then let cool to with water of 70 degrees (about 20 minutes).
    • Follow the instructions on the tin.
    • Cool some more by running the outside of the bottle under a running, cold tap. Check care it is the right temperature to feed to your baby.

    *Click Here* for step by step guidelines.

    Feed preparation machines have become more popular – health professionals do not recommend them because;

    • They do not mix the formula in a way that follows the guidelines shown to be most effective at killing bacteria.
    • They can be difficult to clean and there is no definite proof that the filters get rid of all bacteria.

    When you are out and about you can either take boiled hot water with you in a clean thermos flask (just used for this). Then add the powder from a sterilised pot. Or some parents choose to use ready made milk when they are out because it is already sterile.

  • I’ve been told to put baby rice in my baby’s bottle to settle them is this ok?

    You should only ever make up feeds following the instructions on the tin.

    • Baby milk is nutritionally prepared to meet your baby’s needs adding anything to it will change this.
    • The thickness may be hard for them to cope with and they may choke.
    • They may become constipated and it can cause tummy pain.

    It is very important that you never add anything to your baby’s bottle unless instructed to do so by a health professional.

    My friend suggested I put sugar/ honey on my babies dummy is this OK?

    • Your baby’s clean dummy should be given to them with nothing added to it. Sweet things can damage your baby’s teeth and gums. 
    • Honey contains bacteria that a baby’s immune system may not cope with and should be avoided until your child is a year old.

    I think my baby is too small / too big, can I put more/ less formula powder in their bottle?

    • Formula milk should be made up following the instructions on the tin to make sure your baby gets the right nutrition.

    If you are worried about your child’s growth call Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 to discuss with one of our health team.

    My baby is very hungry do I need to use ‘hungry baby’ formula’?

    • There is no proven need to use hungrier baby formula. The ‘first milk’ can be used for the first year, until your baby is old enough to have cows milk.
    • If your baby is giving you signs that they are hungry then offer them a feed.

    Hungry baby milk contains ‘harder to digest’ proteins which manufacturers say will ‘settle your baby for longer’. However these proteins can cause tummy aches and constipation for some babies.

Who Can Help?

For information or support you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum by clicking below.

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