Every mother wants to provide only the best for their babies. They want their little ones to grow up being happy, loved and cared for. Now, we all know the numerous benefits that breastfeeding may have. The choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding affects their mental and physical development. This is why everyone opts for breastfeeding over formula feeding, at least for the first few months of the baby’s life. Other benefits are that breastfeeding babies would be a more economical choice than formula feeding.
But few mothers are simply not able to breastfeed their little ones. This can be because they are not pumping enough breast milk despite having tried for weeks or that they have a disease/infection that prevents them from being able to provide breast milk to their babies. Either way, they want to provide the best and healthiest option for their babies, but they are unable to do so.
Here are a few alternatives to breastfeeding:
Find milk-sharing donors
You may know a friend or relative who has an excess breast milk supply. They would be pumping or expressing the extra milk to store it for future use. You could request them to pump some extra milk to feed your baby. Make sure to pasteurise the milk before feeding your baby since the milk isn’t from the baby’s own mother. Also, you could thank your friend/relative by inviting them over for a meal or simply preparing and packing a meal for them every once in a while.
Try finding a mom who is ready to completely nurse your baby. Doing this is more difficult than finding a mom who is ready for milk-sharing - where you would simply have to collect the milk bottles or packets - but it would be beneficial for babies who are still too little to drink out of a bottle.
Try using a pump
If the problem isn’t with your milk flow but that your baby isn’t able to feed directly from the breast, you can try pumping your milk into a bottle and then be feeding them. You may have to keep a good stock of breast milk in order for this to work.
The right formula
Suppose milk-sharing isn’t an option for you because you don’t know anyone who stays nearby who is ready to donate breast milk to you. You could then opt for formula feeding your baby, as a last resort. To do this, talk to your doctor to figure out what kind of formula they would need at their stage of development. If your baby shows any kind of allergy to the formula, you should talk to your doctor about it immediately. You may have to prepare homemade formula if your baby isn’t adjusting to the store-bought ones. You could even mix the formula with coconut water as this can increase the nutrient content in the formula feed. It contains lauric acid which is also present in breast milk and is known to make it easily digestible for babies. Again, it is better to consult your doctor about this before you start using coconut water to mix in the formula instead of regular water.