Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Safety Precautions for Formula-Fed Babies

I'm not here to start the formula vs. breast feeding debate, but many people choose to formula feed their baby because of the convenience and ease it provides when compared to breast feeding. Although many believe that preparing formula bottles appears to be fairly self explanatory, there is actually vital information a lot of mothers are unaware of that can actually harm a baby's health.

I formula fed all of my children due to health issues at the time, and I had no clue about these safety precautions. But, it's important to follow the directions for using formula precisely to prevent a potentially dangerous situation.

Never Open the Can Straight from the Shelf
Many parents never stop to think about the germs and bacteria that are on the formula can lid. Never open the can when it has come straight off of the store shelf. Formula often sits on store shelves for prolonged periods of time. Over that time, dust, germs, and bacteria collect on the lid, and if it's not washed properly prior to opening the can, it can enter the formula and contaminate it. It is important to wash the lid of the can off with warm, soapy water prior to opening it. After you have washed the lid, make sure it is dried well before you open the can.

Follow the Formula Directions Correctly
You must make the formula exactly as the directions state because if you don't you can harm your baby. Always add the water first and then add in the formula. Never try to change the directions in any way or use half scoops because you can cause your baby complications. Formula that is too watery can dilute your child's sodium levels, which causes seizures, and you can even increase their risk for water toxicity. Too thick of formula can cause your baby digestive complications, including constipation.

Use the Best Water
When preparing your baby's formula bottles, do not use tap water. Tap water often contains lead, which is very harmful to your baby if it is continuously consumed. It is best to use distilled water with low amounts of fluoride. Fluoride in high amounts can discolor your baby's teeth. If you must use tap water, let it run for two minutes before your fill your baby's bottle if the water has not been used for six hours of more.

Properly Heating Bottles
Since the microwave is very convenient, many people put their children's bottles in the microwave to warm them. This is not safe for your child. Using the microwave to heat bottles causes the formula to have hot spots, which can burn your baby's mouth. Plus, it is believed by using a microwave to heat formula you can actually be altering the nutritional properties of the formula. If you are going to heat your baby's bottles, use an electric bottle warmer. You can also hold the bottle underneath the hot tap for a few seconds, or let the bottle sit in a pan of warm water.

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