High Calorie Formula Mixing Cheat Sheet

So, I’m a day late with this post. I thought I’d have time Tuesday during Owen’s nap to finish up the post, but he had a couple of doctors appointments that went long and so he took his nap in my lap at the doctor’s office and I didn’t bring the computer with me. I’ll update on the appointments next week – but everything went well and Owen seems to be coughing less, so hopefully he’s heading in the right direction with his cold.

On to the post:

When Owen first came home from the hospital, I felt like I needed a chemistry degree to prepare his bottles for the day. He was on Neosure, which is a 22 calorie formula, but the doctors wanted me to make his 24 calorie formula. For Owen, the reason was to not give him too many fluids which can be hard on his lungs, but still give adequate nutrition so he could grow and thrive. By mixing his formula with more calories, it’s kind of like whole versus skim milk – he gets more calories for the same volume of milk.

Many, many preemies end up needing a higher calorie diet when they are discharged from the hospital. When your child is discharged from the hospital on a high calorie diet, you are sent home with a sheet of paper with mixing directions. The directions will say something like

“Mix 2 scoops of premature follow-up formula with 3 1/2 ounces (104 mL) of water.”

And chances are 3.5 ounces is not the size bottle your baby needs.

So then, sleep deprived mom or dad is left to do the math. Yes, it is very basic algebra, but isn’t it easier if the math is already done for you?

Well, I’ve done it and created an easy to use cheat sheet chart. Knowing that I’m not the only mom that hates figuring out how much water and how many scoops every time a change is made to my son’s diet, I figured I’d share the chart with all of you. Click on Powdered Formula Cheat Sheet to download or print the pdf.

In order to keep it simple, I don’t have every possible feeding scenario on this chart, so you may need to do some rounding, but it should get you close and it’s better than guessing.

Here’s how I use the cheat sheet to make a bottle for Owen who gets 190mL of Similac Advance mixed at 24 Calories

1) Similac Advance is a 20 calorie formula, so I go to the blue section of the chart that’s circled below.

2) I want to mix this formula into 24 calories per ounce, so I look for the 24 Calorie column in the blue section like circled below.

3) Owen’s feeds are 190 mL each, so I look for the closest number to 190, without going over, in the mL column as the arrow points out below.

**Note, the reason I didn’t choose 197 is because adding the formula will increase the volume, so by choosing 173, I won’t have as much waste.

4) I can now see that I should mix 173 mL (or just under 6 ounces) of water and 3.5 Scoops of Similac Advance to make Owen’s bottle.

Hopefully, you’ll find this chart helpful. If you have comments or suggestions to make it better, please let me know. I’m posting this one first, because it’s what I already use. However, if it’s a well liked tool, I’ll make similar charts for fortifying breast milk and using liquid formula concentrate in the future.

My disclaimers:
– I based the formulas on the cheat sheet off the mixing instructions found here
– You should double-check that the instructions your child’s doctor gave you align with this chart before using it. I’m only providing the math on the most commonly used instructions from the above site. Your instructions may be different, it’s up to you to verify.