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Deciding How to Feed my Baby

Deciding how to feed your baby is a very personal decision that should be made after careful thought. A decision that you make for reasons that are important to you. I have had many a mom made to feel guilty for choosing to bottle feed rather than breastfeed while both have pros and cons and are able to adequately provide nutrition to your baby.

Bottle feeding can be done using breastmilk or formula. If you feed your baby pumped breast milk the nutritional benefits of breast milk are the same but the sucking action is different. There are many brands of formula and your pediatrician may have a preference so it is a good idea to discuss this with them.

Formula is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but is still not the perfect match that breast milk is which is made by the human body for human infants. Therefore, there can be a greater chance of allergies or digestion issues with formula like gas, belly aches or constipation.

Formula can be purchased ready to drink or powdered and averages in cost per month from about $130-$300 depending on which type you purchase. If you use the powdered form you will be mixing it with water and it is best to discuss water purity in your local area and when you travel with your pediatrician. Benefits of bottle feeding are that anyone can feed your baby and it is easy to do in public.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) recommend breastfeeding exclusivity (only breast milk) for the first 6 months of life and then a mixture of breast milk and solids until your baby is a year of age. Breast milk has all the nutrients that your baby needs to grow and stay healthy.

It strengthens your baby’s immune system, promotes a healthy digestive system, promotes brain development, and has long term health benefits like protecting against asthma, allergies, diabetes and obesity. Breastfeeding is also good for you. It reduces your risk for breast cancer, diabetes, ovarian cancer and heart disease, helps burn calories leading to weight loss, and releases hormones that help you bond with your baby.

If other people enjoy feeding your baby after the first few weeks you can pump and allow them to do that. There are also huge cost savings for you the first year of your baby’s life. Some women find it difficult to breastfeed their baby in public but there are many discreet ways to do that with special clothing or covers.

Dr. Cheryl Sharp, Chief Content Officer
Cheryl is a midwife and women's health nurse practitioner who has been caring for women, newborns, and families more than 30 years. She views the opportunity to journey with women through their pregnancy and beyond as a sacred privilege.