After days of sleepless nights and endless diaper changes, you go to mix your baby’s bottle and see layers of foam and bubbles after the formula is mixed. You may start to question if this foam has always been there or if you’ve been too tired to notice it. Rest assured, however, typically foam and bubbles in the bottle are nothing to cause major concern but mixing formula correctly can eliminate the foam and create a better feeding experience for you and your little one.
Baby formula that comes unmixed (in powder form) requires you to mix up the powder formula and water to make your baby’s bottle. Many people shake the bottle to fully combine the powder and the water, but that causes air to become trapped in the liquid, creating the foam. The trapped air can lead to gassiness but is not inherently dangerous.
Read on to know if these bubbles are harmful, how to prevent them, and what happens if your baby drinks the foamy formula.
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Why is baby formula foamy?
When you purchase baby formula, it will come either ready for consumption, in a concentrate, or in powder form.
If you’re buying the latter option, then you are having to manually mix the formula yourself for your baby. There are many ways to prepare a formula bottle, however, two of the most common common methods are likely to cause foamy milk:
- Shaking the bottle vigorously to mix the powder and water, and
- Putting the powder in the bottle first and then adding water on top.
Both scenarios create extra air that gets trapped in the milk, thus causing foamy bubbles to be present in the bottle.
While the way the formula is prepared can cause the baby’s formula to foam, there could be other factors that cause this result. Higher quality (aka more expensive) formula brands are less likely to foam.
Should baby formula be foamy?
When formula is mixed in certain ways there will be foam present, and it doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the bottle.
It is a good idea to find ways to eliminate the bubbles before feeding your baby. When your little one drinks foamy milk, it has the potential to cause digestive upset, gas, or even excessive spit-up.
If you see foam in your baby’s formula, don’t fret, it happens. Be sure to follow the mixing instructions properly. It may not be ideal for your baby to consume the foamy bubbles found at the top of an il-mixed bottle, but it’s not the end of the world.
Do all baby formulas foam up when mixed?
All baby formula brands can foam up with mixed, but some brands (and formulations) are more likely to bubble up than others.
Anything that is shaken may cause foam and/or bubbles to form, typically your powder formula mixed with water is what is going to cause you more concern for foaminess. While there are many different formulas on the market, finding a high-quality formula will cause less foaminess when being prepared.
These options are less likely to foam up when mixed:
|Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula
|Enfamil NeuroPro Enfamil Neuropro Infant Formula Powder
|Happy Family Baby Organic Stage 1 Infant Formula Sensitive, Dual Prebiotics, Stage 1 Sensitive
|Earth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula with Iron, Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA
|Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula
Is foamy baby formula safe?
Foamy formula itself is nothing to cause concern.
If you mix up a bottle and find foam in the top of the bottle before feeding your little one, there is no need to toss the formula out. The formula is safe. However, feeding your baby the foamy formula may cause some digestive upset.
Therefore, it’s a good practice to make sure your little one does not consume the formula when taking a bottle.
Does foamy formula cause gas?
Oh no! Your baby drank some foamy formula! It’s okay.
In some cases, it may cause gassiness for your baby, but there will be no lasting damage, which can be extremely painful for your little one. That’s why it’s important to always try and eliminate the foam before the feeding.
If your baby does get some foam and develops gassy symptoms, you can follow these doctor-recommended ways to help alleviate gas.
How do you prevent foam in baby formula?
While foamy formula isn’t bad in and of itself, it is a good idea to feed your baby formula with as little foam as possible. Doing this may prevent stomach upset and her dinner ending up on your shirt, we’ve all been there.
Mixing up your baby’s formula correctly will prevent foaminess and make for a much happier family. Here are some proven ways to mix your formula to help eliminate the foam:
- Prepare formula in advance
- Use cold water, then heat up
- Use hot water
- Stir slowly
- Use a fork instead of a spoon when stirring
- Make a large batch of formula for the day
- Use a vented bottle
- Scoop the foam out
- Choose your formula wisely
Prepare baby formula in advance
Usually, you will get into a rhythm of knowing when your baby needs a bottle. If you know baby is going to need a bottle at 1 pm, try mixing up the formula at 12:30 pm.
This will allow the formula to settle and the air bubbles from the foam to escape before feeding to your baby.
Remember, formula, after mixed, can only be left out of the refrigerator for 1 hour before it can no longer be used. If you use this method, be sure to keep a close eye on the clock.
Use cold water, then heat up
When you use cold water, this will actually cause less foam to form when you are mixing up your bottle. Be sure if you use this method, to heat the bottle correctly for your little one to enjoy.
Remember to never put a bottle in the microwave and to always wrist test before feeding.
Use hot water, then let cool
Using hot water to mix your formula will allow the foam to dissipate more quickly than if you were to use lukewarm water. However, keep in mind, hot water can and will harm your baby.
Be sure to have ample time for it to cool before feeding, and make sure to wrist test to be assured that the formula isn’t too hot.
When we shake or stir our baby’s bottle vigorously, it causes more air to be trapped in the bottle, this causes the foam.
Stirring the powder and water together slowly will allow less air to get trapped and directly causing less foam in your baby’s bottle.
Use a fork instead of a spoon when stirring
There are different methods that you can use when stirring, however, typically, if you were to use a fork instead of a spoon, you are going to move the liquid around more slowly because there are slots in the fork, and you can’t stir as fast.
Using a fork will naturally slow down your stirring, due to the way the fork is made and how much it can stir at once.
Make a large batch of formula for the day,
To help prevent foaminess in your bottles you could mix up the formula your baby will need for the whole day.
Dr. Brown has a formula-mixing pitcher that gently mixes the formula powder with the water. You can then pre-pour all your bottles for the day, refrigerate until needed, then heat safely when you baby gets hungry.
Don’t forget that baby formula must be refrigerated if not consumed within an hour and can be stored for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Use a vented bottle
Using a vented bottle will allow extra air trapped in the bottle to escape safely. These bottles are a great option to help reduce foaminess in your formula and keep gas out of your little one’s tummy.
Scoop the foam out
After you’ve mixed your bottle and it seems you’ve done everything to eliminate the foam and it’s still there, just grab a spoon and scoop it out!
Choose your formula wisely
There are many formulations out there to fit the needs of many different families. Be sure to do your research and choose a high-quality formula when possible to help reduce the foaminess you see in your baby’s bottle.
When it’s not possible, be sure to follow the guidelines to prepare bottles properly and use some of these hacks to eliminate the foam you see in your baby’s bottle.