Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed their baby is one of the biggest decisions expectant and new parents will make.
Healt experts believe breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants. But breastfeeding may not be possible for all women. For many, the decision to breastfeed or formula feed is based on their comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical situations.
For moms who can't breastfeed or who decide not to, infant formula is a healthy alternative. Formula provides babies with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Some mothers worry that if they don't breastfeed, they won't bond with their baby. But the truth is, loving mothers will always create a special bond with their children. And feeding — no matter how — is a great time to strengthen that bond.
The decision to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is a personal one. Weighing the pros and cons of each method can help you decide what is best for you and your baby.
All About Breastfeeding
Nursing can be a wonderful experience for both mother and baby. It provides ideal nourishment and a special bonding experience that many mothers cherish.
A number of health organizations — including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) — recommend breastfeeding as the best choice for babies. Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions.
The AAP recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Beyond that, breastfeeding is encouraged until at least 12 months, and longer if both the mother and baby are willing.
Here are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding:
Fighting infections and other conditions. Breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants. During breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to her baby and strengthen the immune system. This helps lower a baby's chances of getting many infections, including:
Breastfeeding also may protect babies against:
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial for premature babies.
Nutrition and ease of digestion. Often called the "perfect food" for a human baby's digestive system, breast milk's components — lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat — are easily digested by a newborn.
As a group, breastfed infants have less difficulty with digestion than do formula-fed infants. Breast milk tends to be more easily digested so that breastfed babies have fewer bouts of diarrhea or constipation.
Breast milk also naturally contains many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires. One exception is vitamin D — the AAP recommends that all breastfed babies begin receiving vitamin D supplements during the first 2 months and continuing until a baby consumes enough vitamin D-fortified formula or milk (after 1 year of age).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates formula companies to ensure they provide all the necessary nutrients (including vitamin D) in their formulas. Still, commercial formulas can't completely match breast milk's exact composition. Why? Because milk is a living substance made by each mother for her individual infant, a process that can't be duplicated in a factory.
Free. Breast milk doesn't cost a cent, while the cost of formula quickly adds up. And unless you're pumping breast milk and giving it to your baby, there's no need for bottles, nipples, and other supplies that can be costly. Since breastfed babies are less likely to be sick, that may mean they make fewer trips to the doctor's office, so fewer co-pays and less money are paid for prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.
Different tastes. Nursing mothers usually need 300 to 500 extra calories per day, which should come from a wide variety of well-balanced foods. This introduces breastfed babies to different tastes through their mothers' breast milk, which has different flavors depending on what their mothers have eaten. By tasting the foods of their "culture," breastfed infants more easily accept solid foods.
Convenience. With no last-minute runs to the store for more formula, breast milk is always fresh and available whether you're home or out and about. And when women breastfeed, there's no need to wash bottles and nipples or warm up bottles in the middle of the night.
Smarter babies. Some studies suggest that children who were exclusively breastfed have slightly higher IQs than children who were formula fed.
"Skin-to-skin" contact. Many nursing mothers really enjoy the experience of bonding so closely with their babies. And the skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection between mother and infant.
Beneficial for mom, too. The ability to totally nourish a baby can help a new mother feel confident in her ability to care for her baby. Breastfeeding also burns calories and helps shrink the uterus, so nursing moms may be able to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight quicker. Also, studies show that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and also may help decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding can be easy from the get-go for some mothers, but take a while to get used to for others. Moms and babies need plenty of patience to get used to the routine of breastfeeding.
Common concerns of new moms, especially during the first few weeks and months, may include:
Personal comfort. Initially, many moms feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding. But with proper education, support, and practice, most moms overcome this.
Latch-on pain is normal for the first week to 10 days, and should last less than a minute with each feeding. But if breastfeeding hurts throughout feedings, or if their nipples and/or breasts are sore, it's a good idea for breastfeeding mothers to get help from a lactation consultant or their doctor. Many times, it's just a matter of using the proper technique, but sometimes pain can mean that something else is going on, like an infection.
Time and frequency of feedings. Breastfeeding requires a big time commitment from mothers, especially in the beginning, when babies feed often. A breastfeeding schedule or the need to pump breast milk during the day can make it harder for some moms to work, run errands, or travel.
And breastfed babies do need to eat more often than babies who take formula, because breast milk digests faster than formula. This means mom may find herself in demand every 2 or 3 hours (maybe more, maybe less) in the first few weeks.
Diet. Women who are breastfeeding need to be aware of what they eat and drink, since these can be passed to the baby through the breast milk. Just like during pregnancy, breastfeeding women should not eat fish that are high in mercury and should limit consumption of lower mercury fish.
If a mom drinks alcohol, a small amount can pass to the baby through breast milk. She should wait at least 2 hours after a single alcoholic drink to breastfeed to avoid passing any alcohol to the baby. Caffeine intake should be kept to no more than 300 milligrams (about one to three cups of regular coffee) or less per day because it can cause problems like restlessness and irritability in some babies.
Maternal medical conditions, medicines, and breast surgery. Medical conditions such as HIV or AIDS or those that involve chemotherapy or treatment with certain medicines can make breastfeeding unsafe. A woman should check with her doctor or a lactation consultant if she's unsure if she should breastfeed with a specific condition. Women should always check with the doctor about the safety of taking medicines while breastfeeding, including over-the-counter and herbal medicines.
Mothers who've had breast surgery, such as a reduction, may have difficulty with their milk supply if their milk ducts have been severed. In this situation, a woman should to talk to her doctor about her concerns and work with a lactation specialist.
All About Formula Feeding
Commercially prepared infant formulas are a nutritious alternative to breast milk, and even contain some vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies need to get from supplements.
Manufactured under sterile conditions, commercial formulas attempt to duplicate mother's milk using a complex combination of proteins, sugars, fats, and vitamins that aren't possible to create at home. So if you don't breastfeed your baby, it's important to use only commercially prepared formula and not try to make your own.
Besides medical concerns that may prevent breastfeeding, for some women, breastfeeding may be too difficult or stressful. Here are other reasons women may choose to formula feed:
Convenience. Either parent (or another caregiver) can feed the baby a bottle at any time (although this is also true for women who pump their breast milk). This allows mom to share the feeding duties and helps her partner to feel more involved in the crucial feeding process and the bonding that often comes with it.
Flexibility. Once the bottles are made, a formula-feeding mother can leave her baby with a partner or caregiver and know that her little one's feedings are taken care of. There's no need to pump or to schedule work or other obligations and activities around the baby's feeding schedule. And formula-feeding moms don't need to find a private place to nurse in public.
Time and frequency of feedings. Because formula is less digestible than breast milk, formula-fed babies usually need to eat less often than breastfed babies.
Diet. Women who opt to formula feed don't have to worry about the things they eat or drink that could affect their babies.
Formula Feeding Challenges
As with breastfeeding, there are some challenges to consider when deciding whether to formula feed.
Lack of antibodies. None of the antibodies found in breast milk are in manufactured formula. So formula can't provide a baby with the added protection against infection and illness that breast milk does.
Can't match the complexity of breast milk. Manufactured formulas have yet to duplicate the complexity of breast milk, which changes as the baby's needs change.
Planning and organization. Unlike breast milk — which is always available, unlimited, and served at the right temperature — formula feeding your baby requires planning and organization to make sure that you have what you need when you need it. Parents must buy formula and make sure it's always on hand to avoid late-night runs to the store.
And it's important to always have the necessary supplies (like bottles and nipples) clean, easily accessible, and ready to go — otherwise, you will have a very hungry, very fussy baby to answer to. With 8-10 feedings in a 24-hour period, parents can quickly get overwhelmed if they're not prepared and organized.
Expense. Formula can be costly. Powdered formula is the least expensive, followed by concentrated, with ready-to-feed being the most expensive. And specialty formulas (such as soy and hypoallergenic) cost more — sometimes far more — than the basic formulas. During the first year of life, the cost of basic formula can run about $1,500.
Possibility of producing gas and constipation. Formula-fed babies may have more gas and firmer bowel movements than breastfed babies.
Making a Choice
Deciding how you will feed your baby can be a hard decision. You'll really only know the right choice for your family when your baby comes.
Many women decide on one method before the birth and then change their minds after their baby is born. And many women decide to breastfeed and supplement with formula because they find that is the best choice for their family and their lifestyle.
While you're weighing the pros and cons, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. These health care providers can give you more information about your options and help you make the best decision for your family.
Formula feeding a newborn, exclusive formula feeding, and more
Formula feeding offers all the nutrients and vitamins your baby needs to grow for the first 12 months of life. Newborns who exclusively drink formula need 1 to 2 ounces every two to three hours for the first few days. That's about 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours. To prepare powdered formula, add water first, then powder, and shake. Tilt the bottle to 45 degrees to reduce the amount of air your baby swallows, and consider paced feeding to avoid overfeeding your baby. Babies who are premature or allergic to cow's milk may require specialized formulas.
Exclusive formula feeding – either right from the start or after a period of nursing – is a healthy alternative to breastfeeding and a safe way to nourish your baby. Formula has all of the vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs to thrive. Your child's doctor will chart your baby's growth and work with you to make sure they're well-fed and growing as expected.
There are plenty of reasons why parents formula-feed. Among them are having a baby with a poor sucking reflex (common in premature babies), prolonged mother-infant separation, painful nursing, concerns that a baby isn't getting enough milk and gaining weight appropriately, the need to return to work, low milk supply, a health problem that requires medication that's not safe for a nursing infant, and a desire to let other family members help feed the baby.
Know that the right way to feed your baby is whichever way works best for your baby and your family. What your baby really needs is your love and attention – both of which you can give your baby no matter how you feed them.
Formula feeding a newborn
When your baby is first born, you'll most likely need to give them ready-made formula, since it's the most sterile. You can start giving your baby powdered formula once they're 2 months old. Otherwise, the main difference between formula feeding a newborn and an older baby is the amount you'll give and the frequency with which you'll offer the bottle.
Because your newborn's stomach is still tiny, they can only eat small portions at each feeding. Similar to breastfed newborns, for the first few weeks formula-fed newborns will eat eight to 12 times in 24 hours. Eventually, by around 6 months of age, formula-fed babies will take a bottle just four or five times per day.
How much formula to give a newborn
Newborns can often only handle about 1 to 2 ounces of formula every two to three hours for the first few days of life (though you can offer more if your baby is still showing signs of hunger – it's always best to listen to your baby's cues).
By one month, many babies are consuming 4 ounces of formula every four hours. The total amount of formula to give your infant adds up to about 2.5 ounces per pound of body weight each day.
How to bottle-feed a baby
The key to bottle-feeding your baby is holding them in your arms at a 45-degree angle. This helps cut back on the amount of air they swallow, which in turn reduces the amount of uncomfortable gas in their tummy. Make sure the nipple is completely full of formula, not partially filled, to reduce the amount of air your baby swallows. If your baby seems squirmy in the middle of a feed, burp them before continuing.
Paced bottle feeding is one popular bottle-feeding method that puts your baby in control of how much they eat, to help prevent overfeeding. Make sure to choose the right bottle (look for a slow-flow, wide nipple version), take breaks every 20 to 30 seconds, and watch for your baby's fullness cues (turning their head away from the bottle, for example).
Commonly asked formula questions
How to prepare formula
Before you start preparing formula, wash your hands and have a clean work space, clean bottles, and safe water on hand. Tap water is usually fine, unless you have concerns about your local water safety – in which case it's best to use bottled water or boiled tap water.
Follow the instructions on the container of formula and use the included scoop. You'll always add the water first, then the formula. Attach the nipple and shake well. Let the bubbles settle for a few minutes after shaking before feeding it to your baby to help reduce gas.
You can warm refrigerated bottles using a bowl of warm water, a bottle warmer, or running warm water; never use a microwave, which heats milk unevenly and can burn your baby.
Find out more about preparing formula safely.
Signs of a formula allergy
Cow's milk protein allergy is relatively common, affecting 2 to 3 percent of babies under the age of 1 (though many grow out of this allergy by the time they're a year old). Babies can also be allergic to soy, another ingredient used in formula.
The most common signs of a formula allergy include stomach issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, green, mucus-y stools, or blood in the stool. Extreme fussiness and gassiness could also be a sign of an allergy, as well as skin rashes, eczema, and hives.
If you're concerned your baby is allergic to formula, talk to their doctor about whether you should switch to a hypoallergenic, extensively hydrolyzed formula.
Find out more about formula allergies.
Types of formula
Most formulas are made from cow's milk or soybeans (for soy formula). Babies who are allergic to milk or soy proteins, as well as those who are premature or have a low birth weight, may require specialized formulas. To prevent anemia, make sure to get iron-fortified infant formula.
Types of formula include powdered formula and liquid concentrate, which you'll prepare with water, and ready-to-feed formula, which you can feed your baby right out of the bottle it comes in.
To find out more about choosing the best formula for your baby, talk to your baby's doctor.
Keep in mind that cow's milk isn't recommended until after your baby's first birthday. Until then, avoid feeding your baby cow's milk (unless you don't have anything else to give your baby because of a formula shortage; then you can give your baby under a year old cow's milk for about a week). It doesn't have the proper nutrients in the right proportions for a growing infant, plus it can cause digestive troubles.
Also steer clear of homemade formulas. These can lead to serious health problems for babies.
Find out more about types of baby formula.
How to switch formula
If you need to switch formulas for any reason, it's usually perfectly fine to do so as long as the main ingredients (e.g., cow's milk or soy milk) are the same. Just avoid switching from a specialized formula (such as an extensively hydrolyzed formula for babies with milk allergies) to another type of formula (such as soy milk formula) without talking to your child's doctor first.
Your baby may very well drink a new formula without any issues. But since ingredients and flavor can vary slightly from brand to brand, they might initially protest. If that's the case, try introducing the new formula gradually, over several feedings, so your baby can get used to it.
Find out more about switching formula.
How much does formula cost?
Families who exclusively formula-feed their baby can expect to pay between $400 to $800 per month for formula. Cost varies based on the brand (some are significantly pricier than others), as well as whether you're using more expensive ready-to-feed formula.
Keep in mind that your baby will drink formula exclusively for the first four to six months of life. But even after your baby starts eating solid foods, their formula intake won't decrease much until they're about 9 months old.
Find out more about formula and other baby expenses.
When do babies stop drinking formula?
You can stop feeding your baby formula at 12 months of age, at which point they can begin drinking full-fat cow's milk. Most toddlers love milk, but if yours doesn't take to it, you can phase it in slowly by mixing milk with their formula.
Find out more about when and how to stop giving your baby formula.
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feeding rules, types of mixtures, tips for breastfeeding mothers
If breastfeeding is not possible, do not be upset: modern technologies make it possible to achieve maximum compliance of artificial feeding with all healthy nutrition standards. We talk about the basic rules of artificial feeding and common mistakes.
The health of a newborn is directly dependent on his nutrition.
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If you can breastfeed, great, it's the best food for your baby. But if for some reason natural feeding is not possible, this is not a reason to panic: there are now many healthy mixtures that can replace mother's milk. Study our rules for artificial feeding, and everything will work out!
When to switch to artificial feeding
Inability to breastfeed for medical reasons. With some diseases, as well as when taking a number of medications, breastfeeding is prohibited, since milk can be dangerous for the baby due to the content of toxic substances. Sometimes the reason to stop breastfeeding may be the child's disease (for example, cleft lip or severe malformations).
Cessation of lactation. If there is not enough milk or it has disappeared completely, there is nothing to do, you need to supplement the baby with mixtures. As a rule, mixed and artificial feeding solve the problem.
Impossibility of regular feeding. For example, you can go to work or end up in a hospital, and this is not a reason to starve a child, but a reason to switch to mixed or artificial feeding: the rules for feeding and portion sizes change somewhat.
Inadequate nutritious milk from the mother. Sometimes the problem is solved by changing your diet, but if the milk remains watery and the baby is screaming with hunger, then it's time to supplement him with mixtures, and later switch to them completely.
The wish of the child's mother. No matter how pediatricians talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, sometimes women who have every opportunity to breastfeed still prefer to give their baby a bottle. Well, that's your right. Just learn first the rules of artificial feeding of infants!
Rules for artificial feeding of a child
It is best to consult a pediatrician, but in principle, if the baby is not lactose intolerant, any mixture approved by the Union of Pediatricians of Russia will do. It is great if the mixture contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, they contribute to the harmonious development of the nervous system.
For example, Nutricia's "Malyutka" formula meets all the standards and rules of artificial feeding, is produced according to European technologies with the strictest quality control and is recommended as an alternative to breast milk even for newborns. Nutricia regularly evaluates the quality and demand for its products among consumers and doctors, analyzing the results of independent surveys of pediatricians and mothers with children up to 24 months of age.Iodine, selenium, zinc, iron with enough vitamin C (for better absorption), choline, taurine, L-carnitine are modern ingredients, the amount of which is specially selected in formulas to meet the needs of children.The quality is monitored by the Dutch research center Numico, the milk base for formulas is made in the most environmentally friendly country - Ireland, and production is open in Russia, at a plant in Istra, which received the international ISO 22000 certificate - maximum food safety control who in.
Bibikol New Zealand brand mix is made on the basis of wholesome goat milk. The range of the brand includes mixtures for the smallest and older children, and the quality of the products is confirmed by Russian pediatricians. As a rule, formula feeding does not cause serious side effects even during the adaptation period.
The Dutch brand Kabrita also makes milk formulas based on goat's milk, which is easier to digest than traditional cow's milk. The brand's products contain vitamins, microelements and other functional ingredients necessary for the development of the child.
The mixes of another Dutch brand, Friso, are considered among the best due to their high quality. The brand offers mixtures for both newborns and older children. Subject to the rules for artificial feeding, this is an excellent choice for babies of different ages.
2. How do I know if formula is right for my baby?
If possible, the transition to artificial feeding should be done according to the rules, gradually replacing breast milk with formula. Pediatricians believe that adaptation to a new diet in babies under the age of one year takes from 3 to 7 days. During this period, stool changes, gas formation are possible, and this should not be frightened. As a rule, after a week, the baby stops worrying about the tummy and gets used to the new mixture. If this does not happen, it is worth choosing another food for him. For example, instead of the usual milk mixture, offer a fermented milk analogue. Major brands, like Nutricia's Malyutka, always have both options in their product line.
Formula milk can be used from birth
To improve digestion, a pediatrician can recommend cultured milk formula for formula feeding
3. How to choose a feeding bottle?
Feeding bottles come in plastic and glass, and each option has its own advantages, there are no strict rules for artificial feeding in this regard. Plastic ones are safer because they don't break. They are lighter, so it is convenient to take them with you for a walk. Glass is good because it can be sterilized many times, while plastic can deteriorate. Which bottle to choose for a newborn depends on the age of the baby. For the smallest, glassware is better, since sterility is in the first place. For older babies outside the home, it is better to use plastic bottles, but for home feeding, still leave glass bottles.
4. How to properly store baby food?
Prolonged exposure to non-standard temperatures, both low and high, can change the organoleptic properties of the product, affect its solubility, and cause swelling of the foil bag or the protective membrane of the can. In case of repeated heating and cooling of the mixture, especially in winter, further use of the product may cause a painful reaction in the child. Therefore, it is very important to observe temperature control from 0ºС to +25ºС. Formula feeding regulations do not recommend storing product near heat sources such as stoves, electric kitchen appliances, radiators, or on windowsills.
5. How long can I keep formula formula?
Less than an hour. If the baby has not finished eating, and you intend to finish feeding him in 15-20 minutes, you can not prepare a new mixture. But if the baby has eaten enough, and the feeding regimen for artificial feeding provides for the next feeding only after 2.5 - 4 hours, then the leftovers should be poured out, and a new portion should be prepared for the next time.
6. Does my child need probiotic formula?
GOS/FOS prebiotics are natural dietary fibers similar in composition to breast milk prebiotics, they are added as high-quality mixtures to improve digestion. The child quickly and painlessly gets used to such a mixture, absorbs it well and encounters stool disorders less often. Rules for artificial feeding of newborns and older children recommend giving preference to such mixtures, although this is not a strict requirement.
7. How do you know if your baby is eating enough?
You can use the Shkarin formula: The volume of the mixture per day = 800 ml + 50 x (M-2), where M is the number of months of the child's life. But this method is only suitable for babies older than 2 months. For newborns, everything is very individual, since babies are born with different weights and heights, so if you are afraid that the baby is malnourished or overeating, consult a doctor before feeding the baby formula again.
8. Should I change my formula?
If there is no reason to doubt the quality of the mixture and its tolerance by the baby, you should not change your child's usual diet just because the new mixture seems more useful, modern, etc. to you. Replacing the mixture can be a real stress for the child's body. And there is no guarantee that a new diet will not cause any signs of intolerance. Replacing the mixture is justified when passing the next age limit, and even in this case, the rules for artificial feeding recommend remaining faithful to one manufacturer.
9. What is the correct way to mix?
According to the rules of artificial feeding, most mixtures are prepared as follows: cool boiled water to a temperature of 50-60 ° C (a higher temperature cannot be used, live bifidobacteria die and some vitamins are destroyed). Pour it into a bottle, add the exact amount of the dry mixture there. Close the bottle, mix the mixture thoroughly, shaking the contents of the bottle. Look at the light so that there are no lumps, the milk should turn out homogeneous. To check the temperature of the food - put a few drops on your wrist or elbow crease (the most sensitive place). The mixture should be slightly warmer than body temperature—i.e. practically not felt.
10. Technique and rules of artificial feeding
How to formula feed correctly? In order to make it comfortable not only for the baby, who should be in a semi-vertical position, but also for the mother during feeding, you can use additional pillows by placing them under the back. The position of the mother's legs can be different: you can put your foot on the foot, you can put a low bench under your feet, you can feed the baby in the prone position, while gently holding the baby. To reduce air swallowing, tilt the bottle so that the milk fills the nipple and the air rises to the bottom of the bottle. Hold your baby upright for a few minutes after feeding to reduce the chance of spitting up.
Mistakes in artificial feeding
Blame yourself for being an "artificial" baby. Yes, mother's milk is considered the best food for babies, but if for some reason you cannot provide a child with them, this is not a reason to declare yourself a bad mother. Numerous children were bottle fed and did not experience any fatal consequences. Learn the rules of artificial feeding and follow them without blaming yourself needlessly.
Feed on demand. Artificial feeding rules suggest feeding by the hour, not on demand. The mixture is digested longer than mother's milk, so it is important to withstand breaks between feedings.
Ignore the rules for the introduction of complementary foods when artificially fed. Do not introduce complementary foods earlier than at 6 months, and be sure to consult with your pediatrician beforehand.
Forgetting to drink water. For high-quality assimilation of mixtures, water is necessary! Be sure to let the baby drink.
Feeding regular milk instead of formula. Neither cow's nor even wholesome goat's milk is suitable for children. Use only special formulas and follow all the rules of artificial feeding that we have talked about.
How to formula feed your baby | Nutrilak
02/15/2022 Reading time: 5 min 14760
Contents of article
Can I formula feed my baby?
What formula to feed the baby
How do I choose formula for my baby?
How long should I formula feed my baby?
The ideal food for an infant is breast milk. This position is voiced by the World Health Organization and shared by Russian pediatricians. But there are times when breastfeeding is impossible for objective reasons, and sometimes mothers underestimate its importance and think about whether it would not be easier to transfer the child to a formula.
Can I formula feed my baby?
In cases where breastfeeding is not possible, the child is not only possible, but also necessary to be fed with mixtures. Modern adapted milk formulas for baby food are close to breast milk and contain all the necessary components for the normal growth and development of the child. Milk formula is much better for feeding a child in the first year of life than, for example, whole cow or goat milk, liquid semolina. The baby's digestive tract is not ready for such loads, they can cause serious disturbances in the body.
If the baby is separated from the mother, if the woman is forced to take medications that are incompatible with breastfeeding, if she has diseases that make natural feeding impossible, then formula milk is a means of salvation. It will not only allow the child to stay alive without mother's milk, but will also give the opportunity to live a full life. At the same time, without objective reasons, formula feeding a child is a bad decision. Although the milk formula is close in composition to breast milk, it does not reproduce it: this is not yet possible at the current level of development of science. The mixture does not adapt to the needs and condition of the baby, as it happens with breast milk.
Transferring to a mixture should be treated in the same way as taking a medicine: if there are indications for it, then artificial nutrition, like a medicine, will be for the good. If it is possible to feed the child with breast milk, then at least in the first 3-4 months after birth, one should strive to maintain breastfeeding. This is necessary for the baby's digestive system to mature and begin to produce enough enzymes, the intestines to be populated with normal microflora.
WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months, and then, combining it with complementary foods, continue to breastfeed the child up to 2 years and longer, at the request of mother and baby. Russian pediatricians recommend the introduction of complementary foods from 4 to 6 months.
What formula to feed the baby
If there is a need to give the baby formula milk, you need to discuss this with the pediatrician. He will recommend what kind of mixture to feed the child, so as not to harm his digestion.
Whichever formula you use, there are general rules to follow when feeding your baby:
Use sterile bottles and teats for feeding. After each feeding, they must be thoroughly washed and sterilized so as not to become a breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria.
Do not store reconstituted formula, feed immediately to baby. In case of emergency (it is not possible to dilute a new portion, leave the baby with a relative who does not know how to cook baby food, etc.
The mixture must be prepared immediately before feeding.
This is important!
The prepared mixture should be used within 2 hours. For subsequent feeding, the remains of the prepared mixture in the bottle cannot be used.
Label the date the pack or can of formula was opened. It is necessary to use baby food from an opened package within 3 weeks. After the expiration of the period indicated on the packaging, the manufacturer does not guarantee the safety of its products.
If it is necessary to switch the baby to a different formula, do it gradually: on the first day, give a couple of teaspoons of the new formula in one feeding, then during the week increase the volume of the new formula and the number of feedings in which you will give it until you completely replace the old mixture for a new one.
The introduction and change of formula is stressful for the body, so do not change formulas without indications from the health of the child. Be sure to consult your doctor if you are concerned about any symptoms in your baby while taking the mixture.
This is important!
You can heat the finished mixture only once.
How do I choose formula for my baby?
Formula for a child should be recommended by a doctor, but you also need to understand the types of baby food in order to understand why such an appointment is made, whether options are possible and when to change the prescribed formula.
To choose the right formula for your baby, you need to consider the following conditions:
Child's health status. If the baby is healthy, he is prescribed a standard mixture. If he was born prematurely, his mother had a caesarean section, if he was allergic to cow's milk protein or lactose intolerance, if functional digestive disorders are expressed - regurgitation, constipation, colic - the child will need a specialized or therapeutic mixture.
Child's age. Standard mixtures are produced under the marking 1, 2, 3, sometimes 4. These numbers show what age the mixture is designed for: 1 - for babies in the first half of the year, 2 - for children from 6 to 12 months, 3 - over a year, 4 - over one and a half years.
Mix availability. If possible, choose a brand of infant formula that you can easily buy at your nearest store or pharmacy. If a child needs a certain type of therapeutic mixture, which will be brought to you on order, nothing can be done, you will have to purchase food with a margin and replenish it in time. But if the child is healthy, then choose the food that is easier for you to purchase so that you can buy a new package at any time.
Individual reactions of the child. Sometimes a child may react differently to mixtures of the same composition from different manufacturers. It is impossible to calculate in advance whether the mixture is suitable. Therefore, without a doctor's prescription, you should not transfer the child to another mixture, for example, goat's milk or with some additives, based only on the fact that these mixtures are more expensive, “premium”, more environmentally friendly, more popular.
Expiration date, package integrity. Check the expiration date of infant formula, the condition of the packaging. Do not use a mixture from damaged, dented, wet packs and cans.
How long should I formula feed my baby?
During the first year of life, infant formula, like breast milk, is the main food for the baby. For children older than one year, formula, or baby milk, is an important addition to the basic diet, a source of essential vitamins and minerals. If the mixture is selected in accordance with age, then it is possible to feed a child with it up to one and a half to two years, and sometimes longer. However, the number of formula feedings at this age is reduced to 1-2 times a day, for example, as an afternoon snack or second dinner. As for specialized and therapeutic mixtures, only the doctor determines the duration of their intake. The pediatrician will explain how to switch to special formulas correctly and how and when to leave them for standard nutrition.
The baby can be formula fed if breastfeeding is not possible.