Feeding Your Baby (Part Two)

In this two-part article, Adoption STAR will explore breastfeeding and formula feeding the adopted newborn.

The second part of this article, we will address the topic of Formula Feeding Your Adopted Infant

Formula Feeding is often known as Bottle Feeding, but truth be told it can also mean breast feeding through a supplemental system utilizing a flat bottle and thin tube taped to the adoptive parent’s breast.

And even if you breastfeed using your own breast milk, you will still need to obtain bottles and nipples.

So, this means it is important to discuss bottle-feeding. Which bottles and nipples do you purchase? Often this is up to your baby. Some babies have preference to the type and shape of nipples and bottles. You may find yourself experimenting with a couple of them before settling on the one you and your baby are most comfortable with. There are plastic bottles, glass bottles, bottles that cost a couple of dollars and those that are much more expensive. There are disposable and reusable nipples with various shapes, sizes and hole sizes that either slow the release of liquid or allow for a quicker release. Early research could prove beneficial so you don’t feel additionally overwhelmed the day your baby arrives. Luckily your baby will come home from the hospital with some bottles and formula.

It is also important to know that there are three basic types of formula: ready-to-feed, concentrate, and powder. Ready-to-feed is usually considered the most convenient because you just pour from the can and serve. Ready-to-feed can come in large and small sizes, the small cans make it easy to travel with. Concentrate takes a little more effort as it must be mixed with an equal amount of water before feeding. Powder must also be reconstituted with water, but has the advantage of a long shelf life in the can. Powder is also lightweight and handy for travel (as long as you have water easily accessible to you.). Each formula type is nutritionally equal and your choice will simply depend on your needs and lifestyle.

There are many brands of formula. Your infant will be discharged to you with a specific brand of formula. This formula was given to the baby from the hospital. Discuss the formula and its preparation with your pediatrician. Do not change formulas without first discussing it with your pediatrician. If your baby is doing well on a particular formula there may be no reason to switch the brand.

Sterilize all bottles, nipples, rings and preparation utensils in boiling water after purchasing them and before offering them to baby. Always wash your hands with soap before handling the clean bottles and before feedings. Before mixing a bottle of formula, be sure the water you are using is healthy. If you have well water make sure you had it checked out. The use of tap water is usually fine. If you choose to boil water, cool it before mixing formula with it.

Formula should be warm or room temperature, not hot. Be sure to check the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before feeding to the baby. NEVER heat formula in the microwave as it heats unevenly and creates “hot spots” that you may not determine when testing it.

Remember not to re-use formula once your baby has eaten from that bottle due to bacteria growth. Store prepared formula in the refrigerator for up to 24-hours.

Many babies spit up after they eat. You may use a bib or a cloth under the baby’s chin. Babies usually feed every two to four hours during the day and on demand during the night. Newborns consume 2 to 3 fluid ounces during each feeding. This quickly increases as the baby grows. Babies usually let you know when they are full. He may turn away from the nipple or simply stop sucking. Gas bubbles can make a baby feel full before they have had enough so try burping and then offer the bottle after burping to see if the baby wants more. Burping your baby halfway through and at the end of each feeding is recommended.

For the first few weeks, a newborn may eat eight to twelve times in a 24-hour period; older babies eat less frequently. Each feeding can take 20 minutes or more depending on how vigorously your baby eats.

New parents often wonder if the baby is eating enough. It is easy to measure the outcome. Keep track of the amount of formula the baby consumes in a 24-hour period (your pediatrician and your post-placement adoption worker will most likely ask you this question so it is good to have the information at hand.) You can also keep track of the number of baby’s wet and dirty diapers. Also weight gain is the best indicator that your baby is getting enough to eat.

Remember during infancy it is not necessary to offer your baby water, often this will fill him up and then he may not be interested in taking the formula he needs.

Additional Resources

Adoption ResoursesThere is an overwhelming amount of information available about adoption and caring for your adopted newborn. Adoption STAR works hard to provide the very best pre and post adoption resources for you.

Adoption STAR Baby Care ManualThis book has been created by Adoption STAR just for the adoptive parent! It will introduce you to the beginning steps of caring for your new baby. While there are many “how to care for your baby books” available, there are none that are written specifically for the adoptive parent until now!

When You Are Matched… A Step Along Your Adoption Journey This book has been created by Adoption STAR for those who are prospective adoptive parents matched with a pregnant woman and awaiting the birth of their child or who are waiting and hoping to adopt. It is a pre-placement baby care and preparedness book just for the prospective adoptive parent.

Read More on What is Happening at Adoption STAR: Our Calendar of Events for 2013

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