Friday, November 18, 2016

How to make a bottle of formula: Creating the least amount of air bubbles

As a mom of now two formula fed babies (despite my best efforts to breastfeed) I'm stunned by the lack of education on how to best make a bottle of formula. Maybe it's because formula is discouraged or people feel it's pretty straightforward, but I truly feel that for those who need to use formula there aren't a lot of sources on how to best make formula.

So, it seems pretty simple right? Follow the directions on the back of the formula container: one scoop per two ounces of water in a bottle, vigorously shake to make sure there aren't clumps, then feed.

Except the air bubbles, oh the air bubbles that are produced when you use this method no matter the formula type or brand; they are a ginormous pain. Well, I'm here to tell you, there's a better way to make a bottle and create as few air bubbles as possible. Because let's be honest, burping a baby is really not an enjoyable experience and neither is a gassy baby.

Of course one of the most important things to reduce air intake by baby is the kind of bottle you are using. I'm a huge proponent of Dr. Brown's bottles. They really do help reduce the amount of air  swallowed and makes for a less gassy baby; especially if baby suffers from colic or acid reflux. But, regardless of the bottle you are using, you can reduce the amount of air bubbles introduced into the formula by how you make the bottle. Below is my own technique that significantly reduces the amount of air bubbles my own babes swallow, and I think will work for your baby as well.

For this example I'm making a bottle of four ounces using Kirkland infant formula and Dr. Brown's natural flow bottles.
  1. Prepare sterilized bottle with 4 oz. of warm water (approx. 120 mL)
  2. Shake or stir formula container to uncompact the formula granules
  3. Scoop first unpacked scoop of formula into the bottle
  4. Swirl the bottle holding from the neck of the bottle
  5. Scoop second unpacked scoop of formula into the bottle
  6. Swirl again
  7. Fasten lid and nipple
  8. Check for clumps by tilting bottle to the side
  9. Feed

The key is to make sure the formula is unpacked, and to swirl the bottle after each individual scoop is introduced. These tricks help to immediately let the formula start integrating with the water, and ensuring it's unpacked reduces the amount of clumps you would experience normally because you are introducing easily separated formula instead of compacted formula. I usually stir or gently shake the package or can of formula to make sure it's not compacted (make sure the lid is secured!) before every bottle I make and then scoop out what I need. It's critical to shake or stir the container at the halfway point as the bottom half will be much more compacted compared the top half.

Packed vs.


Worst case scenario if there are still clumps:
  1. If possible wait 5 or so minutes and then re-swirl. Oftentimes the formula just needs more time to integrate with the water.
  2. If it's not possible to wait, try as gently as possible to shake the bottle side to side, NEVER shake up and down/vertically so that the formula is going up into the nipple of the bottle. If there are still clumps: begin feeding baby and then after a couple minutes remove the bottle and re-swirl, and then shake side to side again if you must.
Do this ↑
Not this ↓
    Below is what happens when you swirl vs. shake bottles to get rid of clumps. Hugh difference!
Not shaken               vs.                  Shaken

I'm sure you'll have success with this and the great thing is it's incredibly easy to do. I rarely ever have to actually shake a bottle anymore to get rid of clumps, and as you can see in the photo above you can make less air bubbles depending on how you make the bottle. Best of luck and power to the mamas, you are superwomen!

Your baby will thank you!

*All the opinions expressed in this post are my own, and I have not been paid or endorsed to say them by either Dr. Brown or Costco

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