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Helping Your Formula Fed Baby Avoid Gas

Updated on August 16, 2009

Many parents add the formula to their baby's bottle, shake, and serve. The practice of shaking the bottle to mix the water and powdered formula can result in excess air, thus gas issues for your little bundle of joy.

When one shakes a bottle of liquid, it incorporates air into the contents. While shaking a bottle is much easier, you'll hopefully find a marked difference in your baby's comfort if you begin stirring each bottle to mix its contents.

Another common mistake parents make, is adding the formula to the bottle before adding the water. This is incorrect because the powdered formula adds to the volume of water, thus resulting in an incorrect ratio. The ratio of water to formula is extremely important. You must follow the directions and ratios on the can of formula exactly. Not doing so can result in harm for your infant. For instance, never try to stretch your pennies by adding less formula to water. Your child needs calories and nutrients to grow. You can unwittingly starve your child and do permanent brain damage if you don't add enough formula to his or her bottle. Adding too much formula can also result in gastric distress such as constipation.

If stirring your formula doesn't help with the gas, keep stirring and consult your pediatrician for further advice.

What Do You Think?

Do you think it is important to measure the formula as precisely as possible? If so, please also leave a comment as to why it's important in your opinion.

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    • Et al... profile image

      Et al... 8 years ago

      I'm not sure whre my poll went. I'll have to investigate when I get a moment.

    • profile image

      TJ 8 years ago

      Et al - thank you for your comments. I get fed up to the back teeth with people who 'know' so much about things and who post on forums criticising people who are trying to help, when all people like you are doing is trying to look out for babies and ensuring that parents know of any dangers. I am living with a 'know it all' currently, I've had one baby already (he hasn't) but of course, he knows best - not because he has any experience, but because he is an arrogant prick (excuse my anger, it's certainly not directed at anyone here! lol). I try and tell him it's important to get the measurements right, to shake well etc etc but he 'just can't see how it makes any difference' and knows it all - rather than just thanking me for my advice, and getting on with it!!! Men eh! Anyway - I wanted to thank YOU for your advice, don't be put off by the person who called you an idiot - projection I'd say ;) TJ

    • profile image

      kiwi 8 years ago

      What happened to the poll?

    • profile image

      ryankett 8 years ago

      I think that she has already provided enough evidence, I personally think that she needs to stop feeding the troll (that is you) and refuse to respond to anybody too cowardly to create an account and show their face. If you don't like the article then feel free to go back to google and read something else.

    • profile image

      Stress is Bad for Us 8 years ago

      I think you would notice weight loss (or lack of normal weight gain) before brain damage became an issue.

      Adding the formula before the water will make such a tiny difference to the concentration, I can't see it being an issue.

      Of course if you had some scientific evidence to back up your assertions that would be a different matter.

      Are you sure you aren't just worrying too much?

    • bgpappa profile image

      bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I think this a helpful page for new mothers (and dads like me who had no idea what I was doing at first). Perhaps and series on articles giving little tips like this is in order?

      Good job.

    • Et al... profile image

      Et al... 8 years ago

      Thank you for apologizing. I wrote this page because as a new mother, I had been shaking the bottle and my little one was having awful gas. Stirring made all the difference. I just wanted to help others out if they didn't know that stirring could help. Also, in the beginning I had wondered what came first, water or formula. I also was paranoid about the way my husband would guess at adding 1/2 a scoop when he wanted to make an odd number of ounces. I am not as paranoid now that she is almost 10 months old. I am actually having to cut out one of her scoops of formula per dr because he is worried about obesity. I sometimes leave it out, but I sometimes add it back in because I am, in fact, scared she'll have some sort of developmental delays if I don't give her the amount she needs. He told me should could survive on 16 oz a day of formula...but I have read different statistics and am not sure what to believe. I do know I don't want her to battle obesity, but I also don't want her to be underfed either. I am hoping once she walks she'll thin out. I have been careful to only give her organic foods and I don't give her juice unless she is constipated.

      I do write articles I am passionate about. There is an opportunity to put in advertisements to "monetize" articles and I take advantage of it because staying home with my little one has really made a dent in our budget. I do not throw together articles about which I am not informed though. They are usually helpful and I don't often do product reviews as many others who make lots of money do. I have made $55 in about a year and half. So you see, I am really not trying to throw together articles just to make money. I really do care. I have other articles that are on how I made a homemade baby bottle holder and one on how to save money by making your own infant seat cooler. It's helped my life out immensely and I wanted to help others with the information. Thanks, Michele

    • profile image

      BS 8 years ago

      I apologize for calling you an idiot. I actually thought that this page was one of those thrown together by people being paid per page to summarize things they don't understand (I'm sure you've seen results like this in Google searches on sites set up exclusively to run ads). Obviously you do understand the issues. But I think it is unnecessarily inflammatory to say you'll cause brain damage to your child by not mixing the formula exactly correctly, which is how I interpreted what you wrote. I think it would have been better to add a warning to not dilute formula, since the additional water is actually harmful to your baby. That's something not everyone knows, and that is clearly what the family that unwittingly starved their baby didn't know.

      It's worth noting that if you add water to fill to the powder already in the bottle you're making the formula about 10% too strong, not too weak (the Similac Advance box says that 963 grams makes 247 oz of formula, and you would be making 221 oz instead).

    • Et al... profile image

      Et al... 8 years ago

      "You can unwittingly starve your child and do permanent brain damage if you don't add enough formula to his or her bottle. " This is a true statement.I did not clarify that I meant over time, but it was implied since it was preceded by the idea of stretching pennies. I will argue no longer with you. In general, it is a bad idea to not follow ratios on the side of the formula can, unless otherwise instructed by a pediatrician to do so. I'll add a poll to this article and we'll see what most people think about the importance of measuring your child's formula.

    • profile image

      BS 8 years ago

      By saying "You must follow the directions and ratios on the can of formula exactly" followed by "For instance, never try to stretch your pennies by adding less formula to water. Your child needs calories and nutrients to grow. You can unwittingly starve your child and do permanent brain damage if you don't add enough formula to his or her bottle" you make it sound like if you don't measure the formula exactly you're risking your child's life. This is clearly not true. The child you refer to was probably fed formula at 1/2 strength or less for an extended period of time. The same thing would happen if you gave an infant bottles of water in place of feedings.

    • Et al... profile image

      Et al... 8 years ago

      I am the "idiot" who wrote it. You could try being more polite if you disagree. Here is a direct quote for an article describing a baby who had to be submitted to hospital after his parents watered down his formula. "The parents were diluting the formula because they were facing financial difficulties. Trying to do the best for their child, they inadvertently caused serious health problems for the baby. The infant had seizures and then stopped breathing. He spent two days on a ventilator in the hospital. The child is now home, but will have to be monitored over the next several years to determine if he suffered any neurological and neurodevelopmental injuries." Source:

      Formula has important nutrients in it. If you were to short your baby on these nutrients for a long period of time, it could results in all sorts of mental and physical problems.

    • profile image

      BS 8 years ago

      This article is ridiculous. "Do permanent brain damage if you don't add enough formula to his or her bottle"?!?! What idiot wrote this?


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