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Formula feeding guide

Get the facts
If you plan to introduce formula, either as a supplement to breast milk or exclusively, you’re not alone. Recent consumer studies show that 9 out of 10 new mothers use formula at some point during their baby’s first year. They do it for many reasons, including to supplement breastfeeding, to share feeding duties and to make the transition back to work.
Planning on using formula?
5 things to keep in mind:
You’re not alone
Breastfeeding is best for babies and is preferred whenever possible. However, if you choose formula, you’re not alone. In fact, recent consumer studies show that 9 out of every 10 new mothers use formula at some point during their baby's first year―including as a supplement to breast milk. The truth is, today's infant formulas are closer to breast milk than ever before and contain the nutrients your baby needs to grow and thrive.
Choose a formula with DHA
DHA is a brain-nourishing nutrient and an important nutrient in breast milk. A panel of experts recommend* that infant formula contains approximately
0.2%–0.5% (~7.2–18 mg) of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per 100 mL.
* Koletzko B et al. J Perinat. Med. 2008;36:5-14
Stock up on bottles and nipples
Babies can be picky, so buy a few different styles of bottles and nipples and see which ones your baby likes best.
Bond while formula feeding
Cuddle, snuggle, and sing to baby just as you would during nursing, and enjoy the love fest. Bonus: bottle feeding gives Dad, Grandma and even siblings a chance to bond as well.
Ensure that grandparents and babysitters know how to prepare a bottle
Preparing formula isn’t hard, but you will want to stress the importance of following label instructions. With everyone on the same page, you can rest assured that your baby will get the nutrition they needs.
DHA information
For more information about DHA, read
Your baby and DHA
Thanks to decades of research and scientific advancements, today’s infant formulas are closer to breast milk than ever before and contain the nutrients your baby needs to grow and thrive.
Formula feeding
Concerned about nutrition?
I used Enfamil A+ for my first child when my breast milk stopped producing. It was a saving grace. I now have a second child who just turned a month old and is on the same formula. I absolutely love the formula.
—A Mom from Okotoks, Alberta.
Most Moms find formula feeding easy—but introducing a bottle may take some trial and error. Here are 5 ways to make it easier:
Formula feeding guidelines
How to introduce a bottle
Make it gradual
Start by giving one bottle a day and gradually build up. Another way to supplement is to let your baby nurse first and then finish off with formula.
Time it right
Try offering a bottle when your baby is hungry but not famished, so they're less likely to fuss. In most cases, the optimal time to start supplementing is after the first month so your milk supply is well-established.
Let Dad or Grandma offer the first bottle
This can work better because your baby may associate you with strictly breast milk at first.
Start out with breast milk in the bottle
This cuts down on the number of new experiences baby has all at once. Plus, the familiar taste may help them to accept the bottle faster—and once they befriend it, adding formula won’t seem like a big deal.
Use a bottle nipple that resembles your baby’s pacifier
Putting some breast milk on the nipple is another way to encourage them to accept the bottle. Once your baby tastes the breast milk, they may start sucking to get more.
How to prepare baby formula
Become a mix master
Making formula isn’t hard. Just follow the directions on the label, consider these important tips, and in no time you’ll be an expert. But remember—accuracy matters. Too much or too little water and your baby won’t get the right mix of nutrients. Bottle basics every Mom needs:
Follow label directions carefully
Always use formula before the expiry date
Wash your hands and your work area
Boil clean bottles, nipples, caps and utensils in water for 2 minutes
For healthy term babies less than 4 months old, boil the water you use to make formula for 2 minutes. Let the water cool down before use.
Run warm tap water over the bottle or place the bottle in a pan of hot (not boiling) water. Shake bottle occasionally while warming. The warming time should be less than 15 minutes. Test the formula temperature before feeding; it should not feel warm or cold when dropped on your wrist.
NEVER microwave a bottle—you could seriously burn your baby
If there’s any formula left in a bottle, throw it out within 1 hour of starting the feeding
How much formula to feed your baby?
Formula feeding. How much? How often? Is your baby getting enough to eat?
Generally, formula fed babies eat every 3-4 hours during their first weeks, while breastfed babies eat every 2-3 hours. Proper weight gain is the truest test of whether or not your baby is eating enough. Here’s another test—count their wet diapers. If you get six or more per day, and your baby is happy between feedings, they're likely getting plenty to eat. Don’t try to force your baby to continue feeding when they're not hungry. If you are exclusively formula feeding, here’s a guide to how much and how often you should feed formula to your baby. But remember, these are just averages—your baby’s appetite is always the best guide.
Use our formula calculator on your mobile device
Formula feeding chart
Birth–1 month
Approximate amount of formula per day
410–770 mL (14–26 fl oz)
1 months
Approximate amount of formula per day
500–860 mL (17–29 fl oz)
2 months
Approximate amount of formula per day
650–1030 mL (22–35 fl oz)
3 months
Approximate amount of formula per day
710–1150 mL (24–39 fl oz)
4 months
Approximate amount of formula per day
590–1090 mL (20–37 fl oz)
5 months
Approximate amount of formula per day
650–1150 mL (22–39 fl oz)
How to store baby formula?
Prepared bottles of formula (from liquid, concentrate or powder) should be refrigerated and used according to the table.
Refrigerated bottles (2-4°C, 35-40°F)
Formula made from powder
Good for 24 hours.
Ready to feed liquid formula or formula made from concentrate
Good for 48 hours.
Bottles at room temperature
All forms of formula
Good for 2 hours. If bottle is warmed, good for 1 hour.
Bottles after feeding begins
All forms of formula
Use within 1 hour or discard. Do not refrigerate leftover formula for later use.
Please note: Proper hygiene, preparation, dilution, use and storage are important when preparing infant formula. Powdered infant formula is not sterile and should not be fed to premature infants or infants who might have immune problems unless directed and supervised by your baby’s doctor. Failure to follow these instructions could result in severe harm to your baby.
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