Breastfeeding and bottle feeding
1. What are the health benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for babies and delivers significant health benefits for both mothers and babies. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization for the first six months of life.1
Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.2
Breastfeeding and making breast milk also have health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.2 Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:
2. How do I combine breast and bottle-feeding?
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Osteoporosis (weak bones)
- Cardiovascular disease
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. If you are considering bottle-feeding then it is important to be aware that this will reduce the amount of breast milk you produce and it may make breastfeeding more difficult because your body will make less milk. It may be difficult to reverse once you have started combination feeding.
We would recommend you speak to your healthcare professional for further information on combining breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.
3. What equipment do I need for bottle feeding?
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. In order to bottle feed your baby you will need:
4. How do I sterilise my baby’s bottles and equipment?
- Bottles with teats and bottle covers
- Formula milk powder or sterile ready-to-feed liquid formula
- Bottle brush
- Teat brush
- Sterilising equipment
There are several ways to sterilise your baby’s bottle and feeding equipment. Before sterilising you should always clean the bottle and teat in hot, soapy water using a clean bottle brush as soon as possible after a feed and then rinse in clean, cold running water.
Cold water sterilising solution:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Change the sterilising solution every 24 hours.
- Leave feeding equipment in the sterilising solution for at least 30 minutes.
- Make sure there is no air trapped in the bottles or teats when putting them in the sterilising solution.
- Keep all the equipment under the solution with a floating cover
Steam sterilising (electric steriliser or microwave):
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make sure the openings of the bottles and teats are facing downwards in the steriliser.
- Manufacturers will give guidelines on how long you can leave equipment that you are not using immediately (straight after sterilising) before it needs to be resterilised.
Sterilising by boiling:
4. Can I warm up my Similac® milk in a microwave?
- When using this method, care must be taken to ensure safety and prevent scalds or burns. Hot pans and liquids should not be left unattended, especially if children are present.
- Make sure that whatever you sterilise in this way is safe to boil.
- Boil the feeding equipment in water for at least 10 minutes, making sure that all items stay under the water's surface.
- Remember that teats tend to get damaged faster with this method. Regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged.
- Wash your hands thoroughly. Clean and disinfect the surface where you will put together the bottle and teat.
- It's best to remove the bottles just before they are used.
- If the bottles are not being used immediately, they should be put together fully with the teat and lid in place. This is to prevent the inside of the sterilised bottle from being contaminated, along with the inside and outside of the teat.
Never warm up your baby’s milk in a microwave as this may result in heat spots (the feed does not heat evenly) which may burn your baby’s mouth.
5. How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Your baby’s weight gain and the number of wet and dirty nappies will help to inform you whether your baby is getting enough milk. Your baby should produce around six wet nappies a day a few days after birth. Wet nappies should be soaked through with clear or pale yellow urine.
If you have any concerns with your baby’s weight gain then speak to your healthcare professional.
6. What types of infant and toddler milks do you have?
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. Abbott has two stages of standard Similac® milks available in the UK. They are:
7. Which Similac® milk is right for my baby?
- Similac® First Infant Milk which is suitable from birth
- Similac® Follow On Milk which is suitable from six months
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. Most infant and toddler milks are produced from cow’s milk that has been made suitable for babies and toddlers. There are different stages of milks available, and follow on milk, growing up milk and toddler milk should not be given to babies under six months.
If you think a particular brand of infant or toddler milk disagrees with your baby then please speak with your healthcare professional for further advice.
1. What is the nutritional breakdown of Similac® products?
2. Can Similac® be frozen?
No, baby milks should not be frozen before or after mixing. Freezing baby milks may cause it to become grainy or cause the fat to separate.
3. Is Similac® available as a ready to feed liquid?
Both stages of Similac® are only available in powdered form to be mixed with water as per the instructions on the pack.
4. Can I make bottles up in advance and store them in the fridge?
Where possible, each bottle should be made up fresh for each feed. Storing made-up formula milk may increase the chance of your baby becoming ill. However, there are times when this may not be practical and feeds need to be prepared in advance, for example when taking your baby to a nursery or when leaving the house for a prolonged period of time.
The following steps outline the safest way to prepare and pre-prepare feeds for later use:
5. How does Similac® compare to other formulas already on the market?
- Prepare feeds in separate bottles, not in one large container (e.g. a jug)
- Thoroughly wash and rinse all equipment to be used in preparing the feed. Sterilise all utensils according to manufacturers’ instructions or boil for 10 minutes.
- Boil fresh tap water (not bottled water) and allow to cool for no longer than 30 minutes. Do not use artificially softened water or repeatedly boiled water.
- Wash your hands and clean the surface you are going to use.
- Pour the correct amount of warm, previously boiled water into the sterilised beaker or bottle.
- Fill the scoop with Similac® powder, levelling with the back of a clean, dry, knife. Do not pack down in the scoop.
- Add one scoop of powder to each 60 ml of water. Only use the scoop provided.
- Shake the bottle gently until the powder is completely dissolved.
- Cool quickly to feeding temperature by holding under a running tap, or placing in a container of cold water.
- Check the temperature by shaking a few drops onto the inside of your wrist - it should feel lukewarm, not hot.
- Store the feeds in the fridge at below 5◦ C. Prepared bottles are best kept in the back of the fridge and not in the door.
We can only advise on our own products. We are able to provide you with the nutritional information of both stages of Similac®. Please refer to nutritional tables in question 1 under the Product Enquiries section above alternatively, please visit Similac.co.uk or look at the information on the tin for a full list of ingredients.
6. What is palm oil or palm olein oil?
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil, high in saturated fats, derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. Palm oil and palm olein oil (a derivative of palm oil) are currently added to many infant formulas as a source of palmitic acid. This is a fatty acid which is naturally found in breast milk. However, the palmitic acid from palm oil and palm olein oil has a different structure to that found in breast milk.
Dietary requirements and allergens
7. Are both stages of Similac® suitable for vegetarians?
Yes, both stages of Similac® are suitable for vegetarians. The fatty acids are from algal sources. Please note that the vitamin D in Similac® is synthesised from cholesterol which is extracted from the grease in wool sheared from live sheep.
8. Are both stages of Similac® suitable for vegans?
No, neither stages of Similac® are suitable for vegans.
9. Are both stages of Similac® suitable for halal diets, kosher diets, gluten free and nut free?
Yes, both stages of Similac® are suitable for halal diets, kosher diets, gluten free and nut free.
10. Are both stages of Similac® free from genetically modified ingredients?
Yes, both stages of Similac® are free from genetically modified ingredients.
11. Are Similac® infant formula and follow-on milk lactose and soya free?
No, both stages of Similac® contain lactose and soya.
12. Are both stages of Similac® egg and fish free?
Yes, both stages of Similac® are egg and fish free.
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1. WHO, 2016: https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/ Accessed 1st August 2019
2. NHS UK, 2017: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/benefits-breastfeeding/ Accessed on 12th September 2019