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Article: Formula Feeding: Getting Started

In This Article:
  • Deciding to use infant formula
  • Choosing bottles and nipples
  • Choosing an infant formula

Breastfeeding is best for your baby. However, if you cannot or choose not to breastfeed, then an iron-fortified infant formula is an acceptable alternative because it provides similar amounts of energy (calories), protein, vitamins and minerals to those normally found in breast milk.

Breast milk or formula is recommended in the first year of life.

Most infant formulas need to be mixed with water, but you can also find formula that is ready-to-feed. Cow's milk-based formulas are the most commonly used and are best for non-breastfed babies with no family history of allergies. Ask your healthcare professional about which formula is best for your baby.

Choosing Bottles And Nipples


Many parents find it easiest to use disposable liners. Remember that the nipples that come with these bottles are not disposable and must still be carefully cleaned and sterilized before each use. For more information see Formula Feeding - Preparing Bottles and Formula.

Items you will need:

  • Up to six months, you will need at least six 250 ml bottles for formula
  • After six months, you will need three or four 250 ml bottles
  • Special baby bottle brushes to clean bottles and nipples
  • A pot with a lid for sterilizing with boiling water.
  • Formula powder, cans of concentrate or ready-to-feed formula which are good to keep in the cupboard for emergencies.


Nipples are available in latex and silicone. There is no particular advantage with shape variations so find the one your baby prefers.

  • The size of the hole determines the flow rate. If the hole is too small your baby may tire quickly and if it's too large he may gag.
  • Generally, a small hole is recommended for babies up to three months, medium for four to six months and a large, or fast, hole for over six months
  • Milk should drip steadily when the bottle is help upside down at about two to three drops per second.

Choosing the Right Formula

  1. Choose a brand that you can trust.
  2. Choose the right formula for your baby's age and needs.
  3. Always read the can and follow the instructions very carefully.

Price is not an indication of quality or nutritional value since all formula must meet strict nutritional standards and quality-control regulations in Canada.



Once a bottle of formula or pumped breast milk has been warmed it should be used within one hour and should never be reheated. Bacteria can grow in milk that has been left warm for too long and this could make your baby ill.



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