October 2022

Infant Formula Basics for Parents

Up to age 6 months, formula-fed babies eat about 1 to 8 ounces at a time. These small numbers are a big reason each feeding is so important. Infants need balanced nutrition to grow healthy and strong. Even a few days without proper feedings can lead to long-term problems with their health.

Here’s some advice for formula feeding your baby:


  • Talk with your infant’s pediatrician.The number of formula options lining store shelves can be overwhelming. Your pediatrician is here to help! They can narrow down the choices based on whether your baby was born premature, has allergies, and other factors.

  • Ask for help when you need it. Finding formula is not always easy, and it can get pricey. Turn to your pediatrician for support. If needed, they can suggest a safe alternative formula and help connect you with local, state, and national programs. You can also call 211 to talk with a community resource specialist.

  • Double-check the label.Before you buy and open the container, make sure it’s for infants, not toddlers. Also, check the use by date. Expired formula may have lost some of its nutrients.

  • Follow directions. For powders, use the scoop that’s included. And unless you get different instructions from your pediatrician, stick to the steps listed on the product label.



  • Use questionable products. Is the container in good condition? Is it sealed shut? These are things to look for every time you purchase formula. If you shop online, don’t buy from individual people. Rely on well-known pharmacies and companies for peace of mind that the product meets FDA safety standards.

  • Add extra water. Watering down powdered or liquid formulas may prevent your baby from getting all the nutrients they need. It can also lead to serious health problems, such as seizures.

  • Make homemade formula. It may have too much or too little of certain vitamins and minerals. And if an ingredient or the mixture is spoiled or contaminated, your little one could get sick.

  • Rush your baby. Most children are ready to start having infant cereal and some other solids around 6 months old. Wait until they’re 1 year old to give them cow’s milk or soy milk. If you have any questions about this transition, contact your pediatrician.

Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rena Lazebnik
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.