Whether you decide to supplement your baby’s breastfeeding with infant formula (mixed feeding) or use formula exclusively, it’s important that you’re properly prepared. Below is lots of useful information, including some great tips from experienced mums and qualified dietitians.

Please remember that once you start bottle feeding, it may be hard to go back to exclusive breastfeeding, so if you’re not sure about anything or have any concerns, please talk to your midwife, maternal and child health nurse, lactation consultant or doctor.

Details of organisations where you can get support are here, or talk to one of our infant nutrition experts.

The basics of bottle feeding

Feeding your baby with a bottle should be a pleasurable experience. It is also a time when you and your partner can take turns bonding with your little one. Below is a guide to help you, your partner and your baby during feeding times with Diamond pro+ Premium formula.

Before feeding

  • Always prepare the formula according to the directions on the can.
  • Always check the temperature of the prepared formula on the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, not hot.
  • Test the flow of the teat – the formula should drip out steadily, but not pour out in a stream.

Positioning

  •   Sit comfortably and focus on your baby.
  • Hold and support your baby’s head and neck in your curled arm, with your baby in a partly upright position and angled towards you (you may need to tuck their arm under yours). If your arms get tired, you can also try propping up your baby with a pillow.
  •  Always hold your baby close to you, ideally with direct skin-to-skin contact. Letting your baby feel, hear and smell you helps them feel safe, secure and warm.
  • Try switching your baby from one side to another halfway through the feed, or even one feed to the next, so they are not always in the same position. This helps stimulate your baby’s senses and encourage eye and head movement in both directions.

Feeding

  • If the teat becomes flattened during the feed, pull gently on the corner of your baby’s mouth to release the vacuum.
  • It can be hard to know how much to feed your baby, especially in the early stages. See our guide here.
  • Look out for your baby’s feeding cues and allow them to decide when to finish. Your baby may not need to drink all the formula in the bottle.
  • Your baby shouldn’t be left on their own to feed, even if they can hold the bottle, as this increases the risk of choking. Feeding your baby while they’re in a bouncinette or lying on the floor is not safe either.
  • Don’t put your baby to sleep while drinking from a bottle, as this increases the risk of choking and tooth decay. If your baby does fall asleep while being fed, take the bottle out of their mouth straight away.
  • A feed should not take more than one hour.
  • Discard any formula that is left in the bottle after a feed – it should not be kept for later use.
  • Place a cloth or bib under your baby’s chin, to catch any spills or dribbles.
  • Cuddle, chat and make plenty of eye contact with your baby during the feed, so they feel safe and loved.
  • Gently stroke your baby’s lips, especially the bottom one, with the bottle teat. This invites your baby to open their mouth and accept the teat, which should be pushed fairly firmly into your baby’s mouth.
  • Tilt the bottle just enough for the formula to fill the teat. By the end of the feed, the bottle will be almost vertical.
  • Allow your baby to determine the pace of the feed by following their cues. You may want to have a short rest every few minutes to stop them drinking too quickly – keep the teat in their mouth, but lower the base of the bottle so the teat’s no longer full. You may also have to stop occasionally to let your baby burp (see below).

Burping

  • To see if your baby wants to burp, hold him or her in an upright position over your shoulder or lap. Rub or gently pat the middle of their back, to help them burp. Some baby’s bring up a little formula or wind during or after a feed, which is quite normal.
  • Sometimes babies need to burp about halfway through a feed, so you may want to stop and try. Once you’ve tried burping, offer the bottle again.
  • If your baby seems to have had enough formula before they’d normally be finished, you can try burping them and then offering more.

Equipment for bottle feeding

There are obviously a few things you’ll need before you start bottle feeding. The following is what we think are the essentials. You can get everything here from the supermarket or pharmacy – it doesn’t have to be anything special or fancy!

As always, if you have any questions it’s a good idea to speak to your maternal and child health nurse or healthcare professional.

Bottles and feeding caps

You’ll need 2 to 4 bottles or feeding cups if you’re using formula for top-up feeds or mixed feeding, and you’ll need 4 to 6 bottles or feeding cups if you’re exclusively bottle feeding.

Bottles and feeding cups come in all shapes and sizes. (Learn more about moving to a feeding cup here.)

You may want to start with a smaller bottle, but there’s no reason you can’t start with larger bottles to save you buying them when your baby is older and needs more formula. Generally, a 120 to 180 mL bottle will suit most babies up to 6 months of age, and a bottle or feeding cup with at least a 180 mL capacity should suit most babies from 6 to 12 months.

A BPA-free plastic bottle or cup is preferred to glass, as it won’t break as easily. Plain shaped ones with a wide neck are easier to clean. They should also have volume markings on the sides to make it easier to measure and prepare feeds.

Treats

You’ll need as many teats as you have bottles. There are a variety of types available, with different flow rates, but the choice usually comes down to personal preference.

In general, slower flowing teats are best for newborns and faster flowing ones are best for older babies. You may need to try a few different ones to see what your baby prefers.

You can check the flow rate by holding a bottle of prepared formula upside down. The milk should drip out steadily but not pour out in a stream. If the bottle has to be shaken, the teat is too slow and your baby may fall asleep before drinking as much as they need.

Some babies prefer a certain type of teat, but the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) suggest no teat is better than another. There is also no evidence to support the benefits of particular teats for colicky (unsettled) babies.

NOTE: For breastfeeding mums, bottles with treats shouldn’t be introduced until breastfeeding has been established, to reduce the risk of nipple confusion

Cleaning, sterilising and storage equipment

You will need the following things for cleaning:

  • Hand soap and a clean cloth to wash and dry your hands
  • Washing detergent for washing the feeding equipment
  • Bottle and teat brush to ensure everything is thoroughly cleaned
  • Forceps or tongs to remove the sterilised items from the steriliser.

The things you’ll need for sterilising will depend on the method you have chosen: 

  • Boiling – a large saucepan
  • Steaming – an electric steaming unit or microwave steam sterilising kit
  • Chemical – chemical steriliser and a large glass bowl or plastic container.

You’ll also need large, airtight containers with lids for storing clean equipment.

Preparing a feed in advance at home

It’s always best to prepare Diamond pro+ Premium Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula just before your baby is ready for a feed.

If you need to prepare a feed in advance, the safest way is to fill a sterilised bottle or feeding cup with cooled boiled water at the correct volume and put it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to feed your baby, add the formula to the water in the bottle or feeding cup, mix it thoroughly and then warm it.

Sometimes you may need to completely prepare a feed in advance and store it in the refrigerator for later use (eg. if your little one is going to childcare). In such cases, follow these steps:

Step 1 Prepare the feed following the preparation instructions on the Diamond pro+ Premium Infant Formula or Follow-on Formula can.

 Step 2 Label the bottle or feeding cup with the date and time it was prepared, and put it in the refrigerator (which should be checked to ensure it is below 5oC). Throw away any refrigerated feed that has not been used within 24 hours.

 Step 3 When it is time for your baby’s feed, take the prepared formula from the refrigerator and refer to the rewarming instructions below. Any formula that has not been consumed within 1 hour should be discarded.

If you don’t have a refrigerator, it is not safe to prepare a feed in advance. You will need to prepare your baby’s Diamond pro+ Premium Formula when it is needed – follow the instructions for preparing feeds when you’re out and about.

Transporting pre-prepared feeds

Feeds prepared in advance need to be stored in a refrigerator, however there may be times when you need to take a pre-prepared feed with you. If this is the case, the safest way is to follow these steps:

Step 1 Just before you leave home, take the pre-prepared Diamond pro+ Premium formula from the refrigerator. Make sure it is cold.

Step 2 Immediately put it in a cool-bag with ice packs or a special thermal baby bottle pack, and take it with you. It can be kept this way for up to 2 hours.

Step 3 As soon as you reach your destination, put the pre-prepared formula in the refrigerator and use it within 24 hours from the time it was prepared. If it was kept in a cool bag for any more than 2 hours, it should not be used.

Rewarming pre-prepared feeds

If you have to use a pre-prepared bottle of Diamond pro+ Premium Infant Formula or Follow-on Formula, the best way to rewarm it is by standing it in a container of warm water:

Step 1 Make sure the level of warm water in the container is below the teat of the bottle, or below the lid of the feeding cup.

Step 2 Stand the bottle or feeding cup in the warm water, occasionally swirling the bottle or feeding cup around to make sure it heats evenly.

 Step 3 Leave the bottle or cup in the water for a maximum of 15 minutes. Check the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before feeding your baby. It should feel warm, but cool is better than too hot.

Step 4 Feed your baby immediately. Discard any feed that has not been consumed within 1 hour.

Commercial warmers can also be used to rewarm feeds, so long as they have a thermostat control and you carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Mixing feeds when you’re out and about

It’s generally safer to prepare Diamond pro+ Premium Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula just before you feed your baby, rather than pre-preparing it. It’s obviously easier to do this when you’re at home, but if you need to do it when you’re out and about, follow these steps:

Step 1 Before going out, measure the amount of formula required for each feed you will need and put each one in a clean and sterilised container. Special containers designed to carry single serves of formula are ideal.

Step 2 Sterilise as many bottles or feeding cups as you will need, and fill them with the correct amount of cooled boiled water.

Step 3 When you are ready to feed your baby, add the formula to the cooled boiled water and mix well.

Step 4 Warm the formula (see directions here) and feed your baby. If there is no way of warming it up, you can use cold formula. While most babies prefer warm feeds, there’s no problem with cold ones.

Choosing an infant formula

If your baby is not breastfed, formula feeding is the only safe alternative to support your baby’s normal growth and development in the first 12 months of life.

There are many types and brands of formula available in Australia. They all comply with Australian regulations to ensure they contain enough nutrients for your baby. However, there are differences between the types and amounts of ingredients used. The NHMRC recommends using a formula with a lower protein level. It also notes that if a hospital uses a particular formula it doesn’t mean it’s the ‘best’ one.

It’s best to consult your baby’s doctor or maternal and child health nurse before introducing a formula. They can also help you choose an appropriate formula for your baby.

You can also talk to one of our infant nutrition experts if you have any questions about Diamond pro+ Premium Infant Formula or Follow-on Formula.

Changing formula brands

If for some reason you want or need to switch to a different brand of infant or follow-on formula, there are a few things you should do.

Many babies will transition to a new formula easily, but some may be more sensitive to the taste of a new formulation and may also need to learn to ‘digest’ the new formula. In short, your little one may need a bit of time to get used to a new formula.

That’s why it makes sense to introduce a new formula gradually. If you are switching your baby to Diamond pro+ Premium Infant Formula or Follow-on-Formula, we suggest the following schedule.

Seven-day transition plan
Day One For your baby’s first morning feed, offer one bottle or feeding cup of Diamond pro+ Premium formula. For the remaining feeds for the day, offer the previous formula.
Day Two Offer Diamond pro+ Premium formula for the first two feeds of the day, then the previous formula for the remaining feeds.
Day Three Offer Diamond pro+ Premium formula for the first three feeds of the day, then the previous formula for the remaining feeds.
Days Four
to Seven
Continue this method until your baby has fully transitioned across to Diamond pro+ Premium formula, which may take around seven days.

The pace of transition will really just depend on how well your baby accepts the new formula. If everything is going smoothly, you may decide to change more quickly. Equally, even if you stick to the suggested schedule, it may still take your baby a few weeks after the transition to fully accept the new formula.

It may sound obvious, but make sure you follow the preparation instructions for the right formula during the changeover. The National Health and Medical Research Council says that changing formulas can increase the risk of incorrect preparation, as each brand uses slightly different amounts of formula and water to prepare. For the same reason, we don’t recommend mixing formula brands together.

When changing formula brands, the frequency, texture and colour of your baby’s bowel motions may also change. This is quite normal, but they should not be dry and solid, and nor should they be watery. If your baby’s bowel motions become dry and solid, check the new formula’s preparation instructions and feeding guide to ensure you’re following them correctly.

A formula-fed baby’s bowel motions are usually loose and mustard-yellow in colour (sometimes with milk curds), although sometimes they may have a green or orange appearance. If your baby is experiencing frequent, watery bowel motions (i.e. diarrhoea), consult your doctor or maternal and child health nurse.

Your baby should have around six or more wet nappies per day. The nappies should be soaked and contain a pale or colourless urine. If your baby’s urine becomes scanty and strong yellow in colour, read the preparation instructions and the feeding guide to check the formula is being prepared correctly.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s acceptance of a formula, consult your doctor or maternal and child health nurse. You can also talk to one of our infant nutrition experts if you have any questions about Diamond pro+ Premium Infant Formula, Follow-on Formula or Toddler Milk Drink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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