New parents may be worried about trying to help their newborn digest formula. While breast milk is more digestible than formula, there are some techniques and tips new parents and caregivers can utilize to help their newborns digest their formula.
1. Straighten Out
Feed baby while her head is in alignment with her body, not tiled to the side, to help her swallow more easily.
2. Bottle Position
Hold the bottle upright to ensure that baby is sucking in only formula. When the bottle is not upright, an air bubble may enter the nipple and baby could take it in, increasing the chance of indigestion. Angle the bottle so the nipple fills with formula before offering it to baby.
3. Do Not Prop Bottles
As tempting as it may be, do not prop a bottle of formula for a newborn. This can also cause air bubbles to get into the nipple, or baby may take in too much formula at once. When you hold your newborn while bottle feeding him, you will be more able to read his cues.
3. Hold Baby Upright
While bottle feeding your newborn, keep him in a semi-upright position to aid digestion of the formula.
4. Burp Often
Take the time to burp the baby often while bottle feeding, to help baby pass any gas bubbles.
5. Feed Less, More Often
If formula digestion is an issue for baby, consider bottle feeding baby less formula more frequently. Smaller amounts will be easier to digest.
6. Consider A Different Formula
After discussing a newborn’s digestion issues with the pediatrician, consider switching to a lactose-free formula. Or ask her about using a formula without cow’s milk protein. A soy-based formula may be better tolerated by your newborn. A third type of formula to consider is one for babies with intolerance or allergies to both animal and soy protein, a hypoallegenic formula.
7. Use the Right Nipple
Bottle nipples come in different flow speeds. Make sure you are using the right nipple for your baby’s age. If the hole in the bottle nipple is too big, baby will receive too much milk and may choke on it.
8. Keep Baby Upright
For at least 20 minutes after bottle feeding a baby, keep her upright, either on you or in a baby chair. An upright position will help her digest her formula.
9. Do Not Add Cereal
It is never a good idea to add baby cereal to a baby bottle. When baby is four to six months old, depending on her development and nutritional needs, the pediatrician may recommend cereal, fed with a spoon, not in a bottle.
10. Follow Baby’s Cues
Do not force baby to drink all of her milk if she falls into a peaceful slumber while bottle feeding. Overeating is not good for digestion.