Choosing and using baby formula
A guide for moms getting started with baby formula
Your baby and your lifestyle will help lead the way to formula feeding
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for about the first six months of your baby's life; breastfeeding in combination with feeding solid foods through at least month 12; and continued breastfeeding thereafter, for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.
However, at some point during your baby's 1st year, you might decide to begin formula feeding. Making the best baby formula choice can depend on several factors, such as your baby's developmental needs, the presence of allergies, whether your baby has any specific feeding concerns, or whether your baby was born preterm. To choose the best baby formula for your baby, compare baby formula brands and talk with your pediatrician.
Once you have made your selection, you will choose the form that works best for you: powder or ready to feed. And as long as you are feeding your baby the same formula, you can combine formula varieties — powder for everyday use, for example, and ready to feed for convenience when you are traveling with your baby.
Baby formula basics
Baby formula is generally categorized into four types:
Similac Advance® now has OptiGRO™
OptiGRO is our exclusive blend of DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E; these important ingredients are found in breast milk.
Similac offers a range of products – hypoallergenic, soy, organic, and sensitive formulas, and more – to support your baby’s unique needs.
Feeding the right amount of formula
Switching from breastfeeding to formula feeding can be a challenge for some mothers at first, as your baby might refuse the bottle or have milk intolerance. But once your baby begins bottle feeding regularly, it is important to know how much to feed — and when.
The following table provides very general feeding occurrences and amounts based on a baby’s age. Keep in mind that your baby’s feeding schedule will be unique, and will likely differ from this chart at some point. Use your judgment to decide how often and how much your baby should eat. If you are not sure, contact your pediatrician.
Baby Formula-Feeding Guidelines*†‡
|Age||Average number of bottle feedings per day||Average amount per feeding|
|Birth–1 week||6–10||2–3 fl oz|
|1 week–1 month||7–8||2–4 fl oz|
|1–3 months||5–6||4–5 fl oz|
|3–6 months||4–5||6–7 fl-oz|
|6–9 months||3–4||7–8 fl oz|
|9–12 months||3||7–8 fl oz|
* Behrman, RE, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 16th Ed. Philadelphia:WB Saunders Co., 2000; P. 165.
† Samour PQ and King K. Handbook of Pediatric Nutrition. 3rd Ed. Sudbury, MA:Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2005; P. 90.
‡ Fomon SJ. Infant Nutrition. 2nd Ed. Philadelphia:WB Saunders Co., 1974; P. 24.
Follow all formula preparation instructions closely and feed your baby on a consistent schedule. To track how much and how often you feed your baby, and to help monitor your baby’s growth, use our Feeding Tracker (PDF) to record feeding amounts, diaper changes, and more.
Does your baby need a vitamin D supplement?
Vitamin D is a nutrient you need to pay special attention to. All infants, breastfed and/or formula fed, should receive the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended 400 IU/day of vitamin D. In addition, even though standard-term infant formulas have vitamin D, if an infant is not consuming enough formula, it might be necessary to supplement with vitamin D infant drops. Ask your baby's doctor about vitamin D supplementation for your baby.