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A lot of people bottle-feed their babies. Sometimes it's a personal decision. Sometimes there's a medical reason, like HIV infection or certain cancer treatments. Many adoptive parents bottle-feed. You can bottle-feed with your own breastmilk, pasteurized donor human milk, or infant formula. At first, preparing the bottles and formula can seem confusing, but it gets easier and faster with practice. You may decide to bottle-feed your baby formula only or feed them both formula and breastmilk.
Formula can provide all the calories and nutrients your baby needs in the first 6 months of life. Most babies start with a cow's milk–based formula with iron. Talk to your doctor before trying other types of formula, which include soy and lactose-free formulas. Do not give homemade formula because it does not have the right nutrition and can make your baby very sick. To learn more about formula feeding your baby, including choosing and preparing a formula, go to healthyparentshealthychildren.ca and search for “bottle feeding.”
Your baby is born knowing how much food they need. Your newborn baby probably will want to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Don't worry about the exact timing for the first few weeks, but feed your baby whenever they are hungry. Signs that your baby is hungry include opening their mouth, sucking on their hands, and smacking their lips. In general, your baby should not go longer than 4 hours without eating during the day for the first few months. Sit in a comfortable chair with your arms supported on pillows.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your healthcare provider or nurse advice line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes. At each routine visit, talk to your healthcare provider about your baby's nutritional needs, which change as he or she grows and develops.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your healthcare provider or nurse advice line if:
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Adaptation Date: 8/16/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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