Is Your Baby Eating Enough?

Of the long list of things new mothers have to worry about, whether or not the baby is eating enough is one of the more common concerns. Although many women worry about baby’s food intake, most babies are getting enough to eat and it’s rare that this becomes an actual problem. Still, a little reassurance can go a long way towards alleviating this common fear of new moms, so here are the ways you can tell your baby is getting enough to eat, even if he seems to be hungry all the time.

Steady Weight Gain

As long as your baby is gaining weight steadily, he is likely getting enough to eat. Your pediatrician will monitor baby’s weight gain at regular check ups. During the first year of life, your baby will likely gain weight at a fairly rapid pace. There is a great deal of variation in weight gain, however, depending on your baby’s body type and genetic predisposition towards being a smaller or larger person. A small baby may gain weight more slowly or gain smaller amounts of weight each month, but as long as the gain stays within a normal range and the baby stays on his growth curve, there is no cause for worry.

For new moms who just can’t stand waiting in between check ups to keep tabs on baby’s weight, most pediatric offices will arrange simple weight checks, where you can bring the baby in and have a nurse check his weight. If you really need to know, this is a better idea than checking baby’s weight on a home scale. Your scale at home may not be sensitive enough or may not be as accurate as the one at the doctor’s office.

Feeding Regularly

Babies who are bottle fed will normally feed on a schedule, while breastfed babies generally feed on demand. Bottle feeding offers the advantage of knowing exactly how many ounces your baby has consumed in a day, while with a breast fed baby there is no way of knowing.

Although your breastfed baby might seem to be hungry all the time, especially compared to a bottle fed baby, there generally is no reason to worry. Breast milk is easier to digest and is therefore absorbed into baby’s body faster than formula. Because of this, breastfed babies are hungry more often than formula fed babies, and may seem to be eating far more often than you would expect. Because every mother is different in how much milk she can store in the breasts and therefore have available for feeding at any given time, there will be a great deal of variation in how often a breastfed baby will eat. As long as your baby feeds regularly and is gaining weight, things are probably fine.

Check the Diapers

A baby who is getting enough to eat will generally have a wet diaper at least every 6 hours and a dirty diaper about every 24 hours – although babies can go several days in between bowel movements, especially breastfed babies who can go up to two weeks. As long as your baby is going through diapers on a regular schedule, odds are good she is getting plenty to eat.

As long as your baby continues to gain weight and to have plenty of wet and dirty diapers, you probably have no need to worry about food intake, even if she seems to want to eat all the time.

When Spitting Up Means Something More

All babies spit up. Due to an immature digestive system, liquids often rise back up, especially during burping. Spitting up is generally not something to raise concern, but in some cases, it may signify something more.

Spitting Up and Vomiting

There is a difference between spitting up and vomiting, although many parents aren’t aware of it. Spitting up doesn’t usually involve any heaving, and the liquid that comes up is usually a small amount that doesn’t yet show much sign of digestion. Because spitting up happens most commonly after a feeding, what comes it is generally the food that was just ingested and is thus still undigested.

Vomiting, on the other hand, generally involves a more violent reaction; you may see heaving, and the regurgitated food will often be in a larger amount. Vomited baby food usually shows more sign of digestion; curdling and a more sour smell than spit up. Because the more intense action causes the stomach to empty more thoroughly, you may see food well on its way in the digestion process.

Spitting up generally doesn’t upset a baby, but vomiting may because it can be more painful. Vomiting may be a cause for concern especially if accompanied by fever, diarrhea, and lethargy or if it continues for more than 24 hours. If your young baby is vomiting, watch for any signs of dehydration and contact your pediatrician if the vomiting persists.

More Than a Little Spit-up: Reflux

Reflux is a fairly common problem in babies, and in its mildest form will simply go away with time. It occurs when the immature opening between the stomach and the esophagus allows stomach acid to rise up, causing pain. It is especially common in preemies whose digestive systems are not yet ready to handle food. Most babies will outgrow reflux without requiring any treatment; however, more serious forms of reflux can require intervention.

Signs of reflux include arching of the back and crying, excessive spit up that may be projectile, appearing hungry and then refusing the breast or bottle, and sleep disruptions. In some babies these symptoms will become so severe that medication is required to treat the problem. Prescription antacids that are safe for use in babies are available – don’t try any over the counter antacid medications as they are not meant for children so young.

In addition to medication, there are some actions you can take to prevent and alleviate reflux issues in your child. After a feeding, keep the baby upright for at least 15 minutes, to allow gravity to help keep the recently ingested food down where it belongs. Make sure to burp the baby thoroughly after feedings. If reflux is affecting your baby’s sleep, try elevating the mattress using a crib wedge. Keeping your baby’s head elevated as much as possible will reduce symptoms of reflux. If your child seems to be miserable in a car seat, you might want to consider switching from an infant bucket seat to a convertible style seat that doesn’t cause the baby’s abdomen to be scrunched down.

Luckily, with or without treatment, most babies outgrow reflux by 6-12 months of age. If your baby’s reflux continues beyond a year old, your pediatrician may suggest further testing or treatment.

If you suspect your baby’s spitting up means something more, call your pediatrician. Not all spit-up is normal, so if you think there is a problem, follow your gut and get it checked out by a medical professional.

Frequently Occurring Feeding Problems

Since a baby has little else to do in life besides eat and sleep, it would seem logical that eating would be something that presents little difficulty. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many new moms run into feeding issues that while common, can be extremely frustrating. For an exhausted new mom, feeding problems can escalate into a major issue quickly. Take a look at some of the most frequently encountered feeding issues and how to resolve them.

Baby Won’t Latch On!

Breastfeeding moms are often discouraged and frustrated when what seems like the simplest of baby care tasks just doesn’t seem to be working. Poor latch is responsible for all kinds of problems, from gas in the baby to blocked milk ducts in the mother. Babies are born with the ability to suck, but latching on is just as new to them as it is to mom. It takes some practice, and sometimes requires some help.

First, try a different position, such as a football hold, to see if this helps baby access the nipple better. If you have tried everything and are still struggling, call in a pro. Make an appointment with a lactation consultant who can help you to get it figured out. Your obstetrician or the hospital where you gave birth should be able to direct you to a consultant.

Baby Won’t Take the Bottle!

Especially if you are introducing a bottle after breastfeeding, you might have some difficulty getting your baby to accept the different look and feel of the nipple. This will likely just take time, and some experimentation with different bottles. If your baby has been on the bottle since birth, however, and suddenly starts to refuse the bottle, there may be something else going on.

Refusing a bottle can be a sign of several possible problems, from teething to ear infections, both of which make sucking painful. It could also be a sign of an upset stomach. If a reason doesn’t present itself quickly and your baby continues to refuse the bottle, it’s best to put in a call to the pediatrician. An examination might reveal the reason for the refusal, and avoid potential dehydration from refusing fluids.

Formula Upsets My Baby’s Tummy

From the first day of formula feeding to a later transition from breast milk to formula, there can be problematic responses to some of the ingredients. The proteins in formula are more difficult for a baby to digest than those in breast milk, and can cause problems like gas, constipation and diarrhea. Fortunately, there are many different formulas on the market, and you should be able to find one that works for your child.

It’s possible that the reaction is being caused by an allergy to something in the formula, whether it’s cow’s milk or soy; in this case you may need to try a hypoallergenic formula. If problems persist, see your baby’s doctor.

My Baby Falls Asleep During Feedings!

Babies sleep a lot, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong if your baby is falling asleep during feedings. It could be simple fatigue, or baby has had enough to eat and is satisfied. If you are worried that your baby is falling asleep before ingesting enough, try feeding in a brightly lit room that discourages sleep. Unwrap baby from any blankets or sleep sacks; the cooler air will also encourage wakefulness. It might not be pleasant to have to turn on the lights for a night feeding, but if you don’t think baby is eating enough it might be required.

During the day, try to pick a feeding time when your baby is most alert, generally shortly after waking up. You might also find baby is the hungriest right after a nap and will eat more.

Is Your Baby Ready for Solids?

The transition to solid baby foods is the first major transition your baby will face, and everyone has an opinion on the subject. Knowing when your baby is really ready for solids can be a bit tricky, but there are some signs to look for. There is also a great deal of misinformation regarding the transition to solid foods that can cause mothers to add solids before baby is ready. Check your knowledge and find out if your baby is ready to try!

At What Age Should Solids Be Started?

Although traditionally the answer to this question has been anywhere from 4-6 months old, the AAP now officially recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. Every baby is different, however, as you have heard on so many subjects, and there are better indications than age to determine when a baby is ready. While the 6 month mark is a good place to start, your baby might not be ready until 7 months, so don’t stress it! Eventually, your baby will get there.

What are the Physical Signs of Readiness?

There are some physical abilities your baby must master in order to be ready for solid foods. Until baby is physically ready, you won’t have much success and you risk choking. Watch for these signs your baby is good to go:

  • Able to sit up with moderate support, such as in a high chair. This means that baby isn’t just propped up in the chair, but can lean forward as well, and really only needs the chair to prevent falling over.
  • Able to hold up the head well – this should go along with sitting up, most babies who can sit up well enough to start solids have developed their neck muscles enough to hold their heads up well.
  • Losing the tongue-thrust reflex. Babies have a reflex that helps to protect them from choking by causing the tongue to push out foreign matter in the mouth. By 4 months old this reflex starts to fade, but it often isn’t gone entirely until 6 months old. This reflex will make it difficult to get baby to swallow any solid foods. Also around 6 months old, baby will start to master the ability to use the tongue to push food to the back of the mouth to be swallowed.

What Other Signs of Readiness are There?

In addition to the physical development needed to eat solid foods, there are a few other signs you can look for in your baby to tell if it’s a good time to start solids.

  • Baby shows interest in how the others at the table are eating and may reach for your food. The best way to watch for this sign is to bring baby to the table. Pull the high chair up when you are eating, so that your baby can watch what is going on and develop an interest.
  • Baby mimics your eating behaviors, such as bringing food to the mouth or opening up for a bite.
  • Baby has the ability to indicate yes or no either through gestures or simply opening or closing the mouth.

What is Not a Sign of Readiness?

There is some misinformation out there, mainly perpetuated by well-meaning friends and relatives, regarding a baby’s readiness for solids. Just because you have a large baby does not mean you need to start solids earlier. No matter your baby’s size, breast milk or formula are all that is needed for the first six months. Also contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that starting solids earlier will help a baby sleep at night. Night wakings are not a sign of readiness.

Watch for the above signs of readiness to make sure that your transition to solids goes smoothly for everyone!

Proper Handling of Breast Milk and Formula

Because your baby’s system is very delicate, caution should be used when handling and preparing bottles of both breast milk and formula for your baby. Cleanliness and attention to temperature are vitally important steps in feeding your baby a safe, healthy bottle.

Handling Breast Milk

When pumping breast milk, be sure to wash everything thoroughly, including your hands before handling pump parts and bottles. Pumped breast milk can be left out at room temperature for some time, from four hours to up to 8 hours. Fresh breast milk contains the highest level of nutrition, as some compounds can be damaged by cold temperatures. If your baby will be feeding soon, it’s best to leave it out. If you aren’t planning to use pumped breast milk soon however, you should get it into the fridge immediately, or freeze it for later use. Breast milk can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

While it’s normal to shake up a bottle of formula to dissolve powder into water, you should never shake breast milk. Shaking can damage the delicate molecules and affect the composition of breast milk. You will notice that the fat separates and sits on top of the milk when it is refrigerated. This is normal. The best way to recombine the fat into the milk is to wait until the milk is warmed and then gently swirl it around. This will provide enough agitation to get the fat back into the milk without damaging it.

Once you have thawed breast milk that has been frozen, you should not refreeze it. Frozen breast milk is good for about 3 months in the freezer section of your fridge, and 6 months in a deep freezer.

Handling Formula

Formula is a little different from breast milk. As long as it remains unmixed, powdered formula is good for quite a while. Check the expiration date on the can to know how long it will be ok unopened – an open can is good for about a month. Once mixed, however, formula has a shorter shelf life. A bottle of mixed formula should not be left out at room temperature for longer than an hour, and should be discarded after 48 hours in the fridge.

Always mix formula according to the manufacturers directions. Formula should not be diluted with extra water. The best choice for mixing formula is water that has been boiled and then cooled.

Tips for Bottle Feeding

Whether the bottle contains formula or breast milk, you should always discard what is left in the bottle after feeding. Bacteria can get into the bottle from baby’s mouth and cause the leftover liquid to go bad, so don’t save it for a later feeding.

Bottles should be warmed carefully using a bottle warmer or warm water. Never microwave a bottle as it can create dangerous hot spots in the liquid and lead to burns. Microwaving breast milk can also damage its composition. Don’t forget to test the temperature of the liquid inside the bottle – feeling the outside of the bottle is not an accurate measure of how hot the breast milk or formula inside might be.

Make sure that the bottles and nipples are clean and sterile before adding the breast milk or formula, and wash everything in clean soapy water after use. If you dump the leftovers immediately after a feeding, the likelihood of it being fed to baby by accident will be lessened. Also, you can wash the bottle immediately before the contents can start to go bad.

The Proper Method of Warming Baby Bottle

Whether you are warming a bottle of breast milk or of formula, you need to take special precautions to make sure that you don’t overheat the contents, or destroy precious nutrients. There are a couple of safe options for warming baby bottle.

A Word on the Microwave

The microwave oven has become a staple of the modern kitchen because of its fast cooking and convenience. As wonderful is your microwave might be for warming up leftovers, you should never use it to warm a bottle of formula or breast milk. Microwaves can create hot spots in the liquid that might not go away even with careful stirring or shaking. This can cause serious burns to your baby. Microwaves can also damage the nutritional makeup of breast milk. So though it might be tempting, skip the microwave when warming baby bottle.

Baby Milk Bottle Warmers

There are a number of devices on the market specifically designed for warming up a baby’s bottle. The two main types both use water to warm baby bottle, but while one actually heats up the water that the bottle is sitting in, the other flash heats the water to create steam, which heats the liquid in the bottle. Both are effective, but the steam type tends to be faster.

The main problem with either of these baby milk bottle warmer designs is that it can be difficult to get just the right level of heat. Most of them have an alarm that tells you when the bottle is done, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s at the right temperature. The amount of milk or formula in the bottle, the type of bottle, and the amount of water in the machine can all affect the end temperature. You might find your baby waiting impatiently while an over heated bottle cools – not a good thing in the middle of the night.

Some baby milk bottle warmers also have a cooler section to keep milk cold, allowing you to store bottles in baby’s room or your room overnight instead of heading to the kitchen to get one from the fridge when baby is hungry.

The Old-fashioned Way

Many people still prefer the pre-bottle warmer method of heating a bottle. Simply place the bottle in a larger vessel filled with hot tap water, and wait. You will have to check it repeatedly, and may have to replace the tap water with hotter water to continue warming baby bottle. This method may take longer than the baby milk bottle warmer, but it is less likely to cause overheating.

Because the water in the surrounding vessel is slowly cooling, at some point it will have heated the bottle as much as it possibly can, and heating will stop. Baby milk bottle warmers, on the other hand, often continue to apply heat, causing the bottle to overheat.

The other advantage of the old-fashioned method is that it doesn’t cost a thing, unlike baby milk bottle warmers which can be expensive.

No matter which method you choose, always test the temperature of the milk or formula on the inside of your wrist for appropriate temperature before feeding it to baby. It should not be much more than lukewarm, and definitely not hot. Grown ups may enjoy a steaming cup of coffee, but your baby’s sensitive tongue can’t handle that kind of heat. When warming a bottle of breast milk or formula, be sure to gently swirl the contents of the bottle around.

baby milk bottle warmer

How to Know if Baby is Eating Enough

When bottle feeding, it’s easy to tell how much your baby is eating just by looking at the bottle. It can be a little harder to tell, however, if you are breastfeeding. There are ways of knowing exactly how much your baby is getting from the breast, but it probably isn’t necessary. You can tell baby is getting enough to eat by a few simple signs.

How Much Baby is Getting From the Breast

If your baby has special weight gain circumstances, such as prematurity, you may be asked to do a weight test to find out how much milk baby is getting from the breast. This involves weighing baby just prior to nursing, and then directly afterwards. The increase in weight will tell you how much milk the baby got during that feeding.

For most babies, however, this type of close measuring isn’t necessary or feasible. It requires a very sensitive scale, which can be purchased or rented from the hospital, but really isn’t necessary except in special circumstances.

Other Ways of Gauging Intake

There are some simple ways to tell if your baby is getting enough to eat when nursing. The first and most obvious is weight gain over time. Your pediatrician will weigh your baby every time you come in for a check up, and check it against previous weights on a growth chart. As long as your baby is gaining weight at a normal rate, there is likely nothing to worry about as far as eating habits.

If you can’t wait for a check up to find out if baby is eating enough, you can call your doctor’s office and ask to come in for a simple weight check. You won’t see the doctor, but a nurse will check your baby’s weight. Alternatively, you can watch for a few simple signs that baby is doing just fine.

A baby who is getting enough milk should have a wet diaper at least every 6 hours. The frequency of bowel movements is less important, especially in a breastfed infant. Because breast milk is used so effectively by your baby’s body, there is often little waste. A breastfed baby may go as long as two weeks between bowel movements. This is not a cause for concern unless there is some sign of discomfort or straining. Breastfed babies rarely become constipated, and as long as there are no other signs it’s not likely a sign of lack of food either. If you are concerned about how long baby has gone without a bowel movement, call your pediatrician.

Your baby will also give you signals of hunger and satisfaction. After a feeding, baby should appear sated and relaxed. If you see signs of rooting, fussing or sucking motions, baby might still be feeling hungry. Falling asleep or being easily distracted from the breast are signs baby’s tummy is full.

Your baby will eat different amounts at various feedings based on the time of day, baby’s mood and energy level, and other factors such as distractions. Don’t worry if baby comes off the breast before you think enough time has passed for a full feeding. Babies are very good at letting us know when they are hungry, and they also know when they are not hungry. Take your cues from your baby and you are unlikely to encounter any problems with the quantity of the feedings.

How to Choose a Formula

Although the AAP recommends breastfeeding your baby as the first choice for feeding, this may not always be possible. Infant formulas offer an alternative that will provide your baby with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals for growth. With a number of options available, picking a formula can be confusing, but it’s not as complicated as it seems.

The Types of Formula

There are three main types of infant formula, divided by the type of protein that forms the base of the formula:

  • Cow’s milk formula: This is the most common type of formula, and the protein comes from cow’s milk, which also provides a number of other nutrients. Most babies will do well on this type of formula, which is why it is the most popular version.
  • Soy formula: For babies who have a sensitivity to cow’s milk such as an allergy or lactose intolerance, soy-based formulas are another option. The soy provides a good source of protein and is also friendly to a vegetarian lifestyle if that is what you intend for your baby.
  • Hypoallergenic formula: For babies who are allergic to cow’s milk and soy formulas, hypoallergenic, or protein hydrolysate formula is another option. The protein in this type of formula is easier to digest. If there is a family history of milk or soy allergies, you might want to start with this type, which has a lower risk of allergic reactions

There are also other specialized formulas available for medical conditions that might require certain nutrition, such as for premature babies. If your baby requires a special type of formula, your doctor will discuss it with you.

Forms and Brands of Infant Formula

Formula is sold in three basic forms: powdered, liquid concentrate, and ready to use. Powdered formula is generally the most popular because it is the most affordable. It is available in cans and also in single serving pouches that are pre-measured. The powder must be mixed with water before using. The liquid concentrate formula is less popular because it still requires preparation with water but can be a bit messier and not as portable. Ready to use formulas can be fed to baby without additional preparation, but tend to be more expensive. All of these forms provide the same nutrition; the choice is yours based on a balance of budget and convenience.

Formulas come in a number of brands including store brands which may be considerably cheaper. The FDA monitors the manufacture of infant formula, mandating a certain level of nutrition in any formula on the market. Therefore cheaper store brands will contain the same nutrition as the name brands. Each formula has its own unique way of blending ingredients, however, and there are differences. Your baby may tolerate one formula better than the other simply because of the way it has been formulated.

Choosing the correct formula for your baby might require some trial and error and some help from your baby’s doctor. Every baby is a little different, so it can be hard to tell prior to birth which one is going to be right. There is no reason you can’t research formulas prior to having your baby and make a decision as to which one you would like to start with; however, be prepared to change to a different type if your baby does not do well on your first choice.

Probiotics in Infant Formula

As the science of nutrition advances, there have been many changes to infant formulas aimed at improving them and bringing them closer to the standard set by breast milk for nutrition and immune support. One of the most recent additions to infant formulas are probiotics, which you have probably heard quite a bit of buzz about in the media. The addition of probiotics to formulas improves their ability to support your baby’s immune system, which is one of the areas in which formula is lacking compared the breast milk.

What are Probiotics?

When your baby is born, the digestive system is sterile. This means that there are no bacteria, either good or bad. After your baby passes through the birth canal, however, this changes rapidly. The presence of bacteria in the digestive system is completely normal; however, some bacteria are harmful while others actually help your body to digest food and fight off infections.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that are normally found in your digestive system. They aid in digestion and generally support your baby’s immune system. Because breast milk contains starches that promote the growth of good bacteria, breast fed babies will have an advantage in healthy digestion and general well being. Formula does not provide the same friendly environment for good bacteria to reproduce. Probiotics are bacteria that are added as a supplement to help colonize the digestive system with good bacteria, which will give formula more power to support your baby’s digestive health.

Probiotics in Formula

Although infant formulas containing probiotics have been available in other countries for many years, it is only recently that formulas containing probiotics have become available in the US. These formulas contain a type of probiotic organism that encourages digestive health in babies. Not all formulas contain these bacteria – the label should clearly say that the formula contains probiotics, otherwise it probably doesn’t.

The research on the use of this new type of formula shows good results. Babies fed a formula containing probiotics have a reduction in diarrhea caused by antibiotics and also acute gastroenteritis, which is caused by a stomach virus. Probiotic formula also improves colic and reduces the risk of allergies in the future. Because probiotics help your baby’s digestion, you will likely find that baby experiences less gas and constipation as well.

Should You Choose a Probiotic Formula?

When deciding on a formula for your baby, you should discuss the options with your baby’s doctor. Remember that while the new probiotic formulas are an improvement that brings formula a little closer to providing the same benefits to your baby as breast milk, it is still the official recommendation of the AAP that you breast feed your baby for optimal nutrition.

If you have already decided to use formula, choosing one with probiotics will give your baby a definite advantage. You want your baby to have the best nutrition possible, and if breastfeeding is not an option for you, choose the formula that offers the closest possible imitation of the benefits of breast milk. Your doctor can tell you a lot more about what probiotics can do for you and your family. With these amazing little bacteria currently the focus of a lot of new research, it’s likely that even more benefits to supplementing with probiotics will come to light.

Choices for Feeding Your Baby

One of the most important decisions you will need to make when preparing for the arrival of your new baby is how you plan to feed her. This can be a difficult and emotional topic for many new mothers, but making the decision is a little easier when you know the facts about both breast and formula feeding.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics along with countless other medical associations all make the same recommendation: breastfeeding is the best choice for newborns. Human breast milk contains everything your baby needs to stay healthy and grow strong, including many compounds that can not be imitated by any commercial formula available today. Colostrum, the earliest breast milk that is produced in the first days after your baby’s birth, is rich in nutrients and antibodies that can’t be found anywhere else. These antibodies are crucial to strengthening your baby’s immune system.

Every mother’s breast milk is unique, and tailored precisely to the baby’s needs. Studies have shown that the composition of breast milk changes over time as your baby grows and her nutritional needs change. A mother’s body is also capable of compensating for premature birth by producing breast milk specific to the needs of a preterm infant.

Breast fed babies have a lower risk of a long list of problems later in life, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, and allergies. Because of the antibodies in breast milk, breast fed infants will catch fewer colds in the first years and generally maintain better health overall.

Breastfeeding has other benefits as well. It costs significantly less than formula feeding, you won’t spend a lot of time on washing and sanitizing bottles, and you won’t have to worry about bringing a lot of gear with you everywhere you go. Recent research has also shown that mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

While some mothers are concerned that breastfeeding will leave the new dad out of the feeding process, a breast pump can easily solve this problem. This way, dad can take on some of the night feedings while you get some much-needed rest.

Formula Feeding

There are a number of reasons for choosing formula feeding for your newborn. Some mothers may have difficulty with milk supply or illnesses which could be transferred to the baby through breast milk. Mothers of adopted infants will not have the necessary hormones from pregnancy to produce breast milk. Working mothers may find pumping at work difficult or in some cases nearly impossible.

Formula feeding also offers the benefit of making the new dad an equal partner in the feeding process, without the extra work of having to pump breast milk for him to use. Dads can mix a bottle and feed the baby without ever having to disturb your much-needed sleep.

Today’s formulas offer better nutrition than ever before, and there are a number of formula choices on the market in case your baby’s stomach is sensitive and you need to try a different brand.

The Third Choice: Compromise

Many new mothers see the breast or formula feeding choice as an all or nothing proposition, but there is plenty of room for compromise. A combination of breast and formula feeding will ensure your baby reaps some of the benefits of breast milk while taking some of the pressure off of an already exhausted mom.

You may wish to breastfeed while you are on maternity leave, and then switch to formula when you return to work. Your baby will still have received many of the important antibodies provided by the early milk.

Whatever your choice, remember that a relaxed, happy mom is important to baby’s health and happiness too. Don’t let your feeding choice become a source of major stress in your life at a time when you need all your strength to care for your new baby.

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