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Formula Feeding: Everything A Mom Needs To Know About It

Breastfeeding or formula milk? The answer, universally, is that “breast is best”. Of course, we agree, but this need not apply to every single one of us. Producing the right amount might be an issue to begin with. Maybe your lifestyle doesn’t support it. It could a medical complication or simply anything else. So, in which situations would you rather opt for formula milk? Find out below.

When is the right time to consider Formula over Breastfeeding?

Many situations occur that may ask for formula feeding. For instance, many women cannot produce enough breast milk. In other cases, moms seem to notice the fact that their babies are not gaining good weight, in such cases, breast milk with formula can help the growing babies. Not to ignore the other lifestyle factors, which cannot be avoided. Many moms tend to return to their demanding jobs soon after pregnancy, and hence, may lack the time or energy for breastfeeding their baby. Therefore, in such times, considering switching to formula is best.

Nutritional difference between Formula and Breastfeeding

Formula contains the same macronutrients present in breastmilk for the development of your baby—carbohydrate, protein and fat. However, the main difference between these two is that the breastmilk has several antibodies that fight against infections, illnesses, and respiratory infections, while formulas come in different sorts. For instance, an iron-fortified formula is best for the baby if he/she is partially breastfed or not at all, and some formulas contain additives like DHA and ARA fatty acids that not only support brain development, but also help in eye development.

What Formula to use?

Since there are a number of formulas available in market these days, it’s better to seek the advice of your doctor about which brand might benefit your baby’s growth. Although, in the end, it’ll purely depend upon your baby.

The following kinds of formula are available:

1. Formulas based on cow’s milk

This is the most common of all formulas and all such milk-based formulas are rich in iron, which your babies need very much. However, you must only use such formulas if advised by your doctor.

2. Formulas based on soy

There are a few babies who cannot digest lactose. For them, such formulas work. However, it’s noticed way too often that if a baby is allergic to cow’s milk, he/she may also be allergic to the protein present in such formulas. Hence, such formulas cannot help that case either.

3. Hypoallergenic Formulas

Such formulas are ideal for those babies who are allergic to basic formulas containing lactose or soy protein. The proteins present in such formulas are easy to digest because of their more simplified and broken state.

4. Specialized Formulas

These formulas are specifically designed for premature babies with low birth-weight.

Most of the available formulas come in three basic forms:
1. Powders that require mixing with water and are also the least expensive.
2. Concentrates, which are fluids that require dilution with water.
3. Ready-to-use or ready-to-feed, which can be poured directly into bottles. These are the expensive ones, but are also convenient to take when you’re traveling with your babies.

What kind of bottle should I use?

As we all know, bottles come in different shapes and sizes, and can be made of either glass or plastic, and may be reusable or disposable. Many babies tend to do better with certain bottles of a specific shape or liners—which you may need to find out after trying a few different brands.

It is very important to take care of your kid’s health, which can be done better if you buy only such plastic bottles, which are labeled with ‘BPA-free’, i.e., they do not contain chemical bisphenol-A, which can affect your baby’s health in a bad way. Although glass bottles are already BPA-free, these can crack and chip, and hence, should be checked often.

How often should I feed my baby?

Generally, it is advised to feed the baby whenever he/she seems hungry.

Most of the newborns who are formula-fed feed every 2 to 3 hours and as they grow, their tummy can hold more milk, so they usually eat every 3 to 4 hours. If your baby is underweight, or very young, you shouldn’t avoid feeding him for too long, even if it means waking your baby. In such cases, remember to take the advice of your doctor.

How much should be given?

For the first few weeks, 2-3 ounce bottles should be mixed for your baby, and later increase the amount as you get familiar with your baby’s appetite.

It is natural for you to first go for breastfeeding, but formula milk is a great alternative as it not only provides relief and rest to the mothers, but other family members will also be able to help with feeding your child. 

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