Bottle Feeding

If you decide not to breastfeed, or are unable to breastfeed, commercial iron fortified formulas can provide adequate nutrition for your infant.

Infant formulas contain adequate amounts of protein, calories, fat, vitamins and minerals for growth. However, formula does not contain the immune factors that are in breast milk. The immune factors that are found in breast milk can help prevent infections. Infants who take enough iron-fortified infant formula usually do not need vitamin and mineral supplements.

Fluoride is sometimes needed after 6 months of age if the water supply does not have enough fluoride. Check with your baby's physician about fluoride supplements.

Cow's Milk-Based Formula

Most infants should be able to tolerate a standard cow’s milk formula such as Enfamil® Premium, Similac® Advance, or Good Start®. These formulas use cow's milk as a base, but have been modeled after breast milk. They are available in ready-to-feed cans, liquid concentrate, and powder. These formulas have lactose as the carbohydrate (sugar) source. However, each brand has a low-lactose or lactose-free version that is available.

Soy-Based Formulas

Soy-based infant formulas can provide adequate nutrition for your infant. ProSobee®, Isomil®, and Good Start Soy® are soy formulas. Soy-based infant formulas can be used if an infant is not tolerating the sugar (lactose) found in cow's milk-based formulas. Soy formulas do not contain lactose as the sugar source. Sometimes, soy formulas are used if your infant is not tolerating cow's milk protein. However, infants who are allergic to cow's milk formula can also be allergic to soy-based formulas. Consult your baby's physician before changing his or her formula.

Protein Hydrolysates

These are special formulas usually used if your baby is unable to tolerate standard infant formula. Alimentum®, Nutramigen® and Pregestimil® are examples of protein hydrolysate formulas. These formulas are more expensive than standard formulas. Often these formulas are used if your baby has a cow's milk protein allergy or if he or she is unable to digest a standard infant formula. Consult your physician before using these formulas.

  • Breast milk is best for your baby and is beneficial even if you nurse only for a short amount of time or part time.
  • Working mothers can use a breast pump on break time and refrigerate or freeze the milk for later use as a bottle feeding. Refrigerated breast milk should be used within 48 hours after pumping. Frozen breast milk is good for several months in the freezer.
  • Fathers and other family members can be involved in feeding time if breast milk is offered from a bottle periodically.
  • Offer cow's milk-based formula with iron as first choice of formula if not breastfeeding.
  • Keep your baby on breast milk or baby formula until he or she is 1 year old. After this time, you may change over to whole milk. Children under 2 years should not drink skim or low-fat milk.

Last Updated 05/2013