Though no milk can be a real substitute for
mothers milk, sometimes it is needed to give artificial feeding to the baby even in
the first few months of life.
Circumstances under which artificial
feedings maybe essential are:
- Breast milk has completely stopped or is insufficient to the child.
- Mother is suffering from any serious illness, fever or infection.
- Another pregnancy intervenes during lactation
- If the child is too weak to nurse or cannot because of harelip or cleft palate.
- Mother is not available to feed the child.
Factors like lack of suitable information,
disinterest, inappropriate health practices may lead to mothers milk being unnecessarily
substituted with a milk formula in the early months of life. This should be avoided and
the help of a qualified person should be sought before attempting to switch from exclusive
breastfeeding to artificial feeding. Also, see common
problems during first weeks of breastfeeding
Modification of the formula
Cows milk is diluted to provide a
concentration of protein similar to that of human milk. And also reduces tension and leads
to the formation of a softer, more flocculant curd that can be more easily digested by the
infants enzymes. The dilution of milk has the advantage of creating a calcium
concentration more nearly to human milk but reduces caloric concentration. Sucrose can be
added to increase the calories.
During the first two weeks about 15g. sugar
is added to the days formula. Thereafter, 30 g. is sufficient. Sugar is discontinued
at the time the baby is taking appreciable amounts of other foods.
Liquid: At two months the infants takes
about 120 ml of formula. This is increased about 30 ml. each month until the infant is
taking a maximum of 240 ml. at approximately 6 months of age.
The steps of sterilization are,
- Pour measured amount of milk into thoroughly washed bottle.
- Put nipple on the bottle and test the flow of the milk
- Cover loosely with nipple cover.
- Place bottle in a container and add water to halfway level of bottle
- Cover it, bring water to boiling, and maintain boiling for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Remove bottle as soon as they can be handled, and cool slightly.
- Store in refrigerator.
Intervals of feeding
Formula fed babies should not, as a
rule be fed at less than 3 hour intervals since the cows milk remains for a longer
time in the stomach.
The feeding is usually warmed to
body temperature or can be fed cold. As with breast feeding the baby should be held in a
semireclining position. The hole in the nipple should not be large or too small. The
nipple should be filled with fluid and not air. The baby should not be expected to finish
the entire amount of formula in the bottle at each feeding. Proprietary formulas are
available in dry form. Specified quantity of water is added to make up the volume.
Growth failure due to repeated infections or over diluting
the formula, infantile obesity, iron deficiency anaemia, hypernatremia, neonatal
hypocalcaemia, amino acidaemais in premature infants and acrodermatitis and enteropathica
have all been reported. There is a higher prevalence of allergic disorders, infective
morbidity, emotional instability and sudden death syndrome in bottle fed than breast fed