Feeding your baby formula after the NICU

Your baby's health care provider will tell you the type and amount of formula to feed your baby. Some babies leave the hospital on regular infant formula. Others need a special formula that has more calories or specific nutrients. Be sure to follow your provider’s feeding plan to make sure that your baby is gaining enough weight.

Formula comes ready to serve or in a liquid or powder that you mix with water. Be sure to prepare the formula exactly according to the package directions or your baby's health care provider.

Babies are usually fed "on demand." This means you feed your baby whenever she is awake and hungry. If your baby sleeps for long periods of time, you may need to wake him up every few hours to eat. Ask your baby's provider for help if you need to wake up your baby for feedings.

What nipples and bottles should you use?

If your baby has done well with the nipples and bottles used in the hospital, ask to take some home. Ask where you can buy them. If the nipples and bottles used in the hospital didn’t work well, you will need to try different ones to find out what your baby likes best. Clean and store the bottles and nipples according to the package directions. You don't have to sterilize them unless your baby's health care provider says to do so.

How do you warm a bottle?

The best way to warm your baby’s bottle is to put it in a cup of warm water. You might also want to get an inexpensive bottle warmer. It will heat the formula to just the right temperature. Test the milk on your wrist to make sure it isn’t too hot. Never microwave your baby’s bottle. The milk can heat unevenly and burn your baby's mouth or throat.

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Last reviewed: August, 2014