Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding for Your Newborn
First, the important thing is that your baby is fed proper nutrition, whether it’s breastfeeding or formula feeding. You may be a second or third-time mom and perhaps you couldn’t breastfeed, didn’t enjoy it, or experienced problems and decide on formula feeding. Millions of babies are formula-fed and do great.
That said, there are benefits to breastfeeding. If you’re a first-time mom or have breastfed in the past and had success, you should consider it for the baby on the way.
A study in the early 2000s looked at the differences in babies that are breastfed versus formula fed. The study revealed that with breastfeeding:
- Any breastmilk was beneficial, either nursed or expressed into a bottle
- Rates of upper respiratory infections were reduced
- Lower rates of hospitalization
- Lower rates of ear infections
- Lower risk for asthma, celiac disease, and type I diabetes
- Some improvement in rates of sudden death infant death syndrome
- Lower rates of diabetes later in life
Most of the benefits are seen with six months or more of exclusive breastfeeding, but some benefits can be obtained from any amount of breastfeeding.
Different Types of Formula
The myriad of formulas available is a wonderful thing. It gives parents a lot of choice should baby have allergies or other sensitivities. At the outset, though, start with a standard formula and see how baby reacts.
A standard infant formula will be cow’s milk-based and contain sugar, fat and protein. After that, different formulas are changing fats, sugars and protein types and combinations.
Brand name doesn’t really matter. What’s important is how your baby reacts to the formula.
Switching from Breastfeeding to Formula
First, make sure baby is familiar with bottle feeding. It can also be helpful to have another caregiver feed baby at first, as infants may be expecting milk from you. Once they are used to the bottle and handling the formula well, then you can start to wean baby off breastfeeding.
Choosing a Bottle
It’s basically trial and error finding out which bottle your baby prefers. Even if you already have children, every baby is different and may require a different kind of bottle. It can be helpful to have a bottle that has a venting mechanism, so baby doesn’t swallow a lot of air.
You can even find a “bottle box” online with five or six different brands of bottles included, which allows you to see which one is best for your newborn.
Tips for Breastfeeding
Latching: The first two or three days after birth is a key period for making sure baby can latch onto your breast. Be sure to consult with a lactation consultant on the best technique before leaving the hospital. Contact your pediatrician if you have questions after you’ve left the hospital.
Low Supply: The more you breastfeed, the more breast milk you produce. This can mean pumping more into bottles for later use. You can also use nutritional items such as mother’s milk tea or special cookies for breastfeeding moms.
Oversupply: Block feeding can help with an oversupply of breast milk, which is when you feed from one breast for about a three-hour period. If baby is hungry twice during that three-hour period, you stay with one breast. Then, in the next period, switch to the other breast. This helps give one breast a break so that it learns to produce less milk.
You will burn about 500 to 800 additional calories a day while breastfeeding. However, you can’t use that calorie deficit to lose weight. It’s important to eat a nutritionally balanced diet and take in a lot of water to stay hydrated.